United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING CASE IN PART AND STAYING REMAINDER OF CASE
JOSEPHINE L. STATON, District Judge.
Plaintiff Javier Pellecer, an inmate at the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles proceeding pro se, filed his initial complaint in this action on July 31, 2014. In that civil rights complaint, plaintiff alleged that Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD") officers arrested him without a warrant or probable cause on October 16, 2013.
Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on October 16, 2014. The FAC expands on the allegations and defendants in the original complaint. Plaintiff names additional defendants in the FAC and alleges that he was falsely arrested without a warrant or probable cause on two occasions: November 5, 2008 and October 16, 2013. Further, in the FAC, plaintiff alleges that a criminal case charging him with committing the crime for which he was arrested on those two occasions is still pending against him in Los Angeles Superior Court. Plaintiff seeks equitable relief as well as damages.
The Court issued an Order to Show Cause ("OSC") why the complaint should not be stayed or dismissed under the Younger Abstention Doctrine. In plaintiff's response to the OSC, he does not dispute that he is asking this Court to effectively intervene in his pending state criminal case, but argues that extraordinary circumstances warrant such intervention. Plaintiff has failed to show that intervention is warranted, however, and therefore this Court must refrain from proceeding in this case while the state criminal case is still pending. Accordingly, under the Younger Abstention Doctrine, the Court will dismiss plaintiff's claims for equitable relief, and will stay the remainder of his case seeking damages until the state criminal case is no longer pending.
In the FAC, plaintiff alleges that LAPD officers first falsely arrested him without a warrant or probable cause on November 5, 2008, for the crime with which plaintiff is presently charged in Los Angeles Superior Court. Petitioner was ultimately released, but then was again arrested for the same crime, again without a warrant or probable cause, on October 16, 2013. Plaintiff also alleges he was subjected to unlawful searches to gather evidence during the arrests. Following his October 16, 2013 arrest, plaintiff was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court in case number BA417246. Plaintiff alleges that he is being maliciously prosecuted and that his due process rights have been violated. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and also seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
To confirm that plaintiff is in fact awaiting trial on the charges he challenges in the FAC, on November 18, 2014 the Court issued an OSC, requiring plaintiff to show cause why the case should not be stayed or dismissed under the Younger Abstention Doctrine. Plaintiff filed a response to the OSC on December 4, 2014.
In his response to the OSC, plaintiff concedes that he is still pending trial in the state criminal case on the charges that are at the heart of his challenge in this civil rights case. But plaintiff argues that this case qualifies for an exception from the Younger Abstention Doctrine. In making his arguments, plaintiff confirms that he is asking this Court to intervene in the pending state criminal case. See OSC Response at 12.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act obligates the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding in forma pauperis, and by prisoners seeking redress from government entities. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A. Under these provisions, the Court may sua sponte dismiss, "at any time, " any prisoner civil rights action and all other in forma pauperis complaints that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek damages ...