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Soriano v. Beard

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 2, 2014

DEAN LARRY SORIANO, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZALBE CLAIM (ECF NO. 1)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Dean Larry Soriano, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on July 3, 2014. (ECF No. 1.) His complaint is now before the Court for screening.

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous, malicious, " or that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff names Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and P.D. Brazelton, Warden, Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP), as Defendants and alleges essentially the following:

On January 31, 2010, correctional officers Gonzalez and Johnson conducted a random search of Plaintiff's cell and discovered a rusted nail, identified on the cell search receipt as an eight inch metal shank, taped underneath his cell door. (Compl. at 4.) Plaintiff was taken to a holding cage and interviewed by officer Parks. He denied knowing anything about the weapon. Approximately 200 inmates in Plaintiff's building had access to the underside of Plaintiff's door.

Plaintiff was issued a Rules Violation Report (RVR) for weapon possession. A report attached to the RVR and authored by officer Parks incorrectly stated that Plaintiff admitted the shank was his. Plaintiff requested that the shank be tested for fingerprints and that officer Parks be called as a witness regarding his false statement. (Id. at 5.) Officer Duty was assigned as the investigative employee and interviewed officers Gonzalez, Johnson, and Parks. Duty reported that Officers Gonzalez and Johnson confirmed that all inmates had access to the underside of Plaintiff's door, open or closed. Duty's report also stated that officer Parks had said that Plaintiff admitted the shank was his.

On March 25, 2011, Plaintiff appeared for a hearing on the weapons charge. Plaintiff renewed his requests for a fingerprint test and that officer Parks be called as a witness. (Id. at 6.) Hearing officer Perry denied Plaintiff's requests and found him guilty. (Id. at 6, 7.) Plaintiff asserts that he was denied his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. (Id. at 4.)

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Section 1983

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n , 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for ...


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