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Johnson v. Superior Court of the County of Riverside

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 9, 2015

DERRICK JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE, Respondent

Derrick Johnson, Petitioner, Pro se, Murrieta, CA.

GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE. John E. McDermott, United States Magistrate Judge.

ORDER RE: SUMMARY DISMISSAL OF ACTION

GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

On December 19, 2014, Petitioner filed a " Petition for Writ of Mandate" (" Petition"), apparently asking this Court to direct the Riverside County Superior Court to grant Petitioner's motion to dismiss pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 995 in a criminal action against Petitioner and to dismiss the charges pending against him. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is dismissed without prejudice.

The district court has the power and the duty to raise the adequacy of an applicant's standing to bring suit and the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. Bernhardt v. County of Los Angeles, 279 F.3d 862, 868 (9th Cir. 2002); Benavidez v. Eu, 34 F.3d 825, 830 (9th Cir. 1994). " If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); Franklin v. Oregon Welfare Div., 662 F.2d 1337, 1342 (9th Cir. 1981).

This Court lacks jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus to a state court. Demos v. United States Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Wash., 925 F.2d 1160, 1161 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1123, 111 S.Ct. 1082, 112 L.Ed.2d 1186 (1991). Thus, to the extent Petitioner seeks to obtain a writ in this Court to compel the state superior court to take or refrain from some action, the Petition must be denied for lack of jurisdiction. Id. at 1161-62; see, e.g., Anaya v. Superior Court of Amador County, 2007 WL 1054270, at *1 (E.D. Cal. 2007) (" To the extent that petitioner asks this court to mandate that the state supreme court consider his filings and render a decision on any application petitioner has made or would seek to make before that court, the request must be denied because federal courts lack jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus to a state court.").

Even if Petitioner intended to file a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971) and its progeny, a federal court should abstain from hearing a case that would interfere with ongoing state proceedings. Id. at 43-55. Abstention in favor of state judicial proceedings is required if the state proceeding is ongoing, implicates important state interests, and provides the petitioner an adequate opportunity to raise federal questions. Middlesex County Ethics Comm'n. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432, 102 S.Ct. 2515, 73 L.Ed.2d 116 (1982); Kay v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, 504 F.3d 803, 808 (9th Cir. 2007).

Here, Petitioner apparently seeks to vacate prior judicial actions or compel future judicial actions in ongoing state criminal proceedings in Riverside County Superior Court Case No. RIM1415229. (See Petition at 2-3 (seeking the dismissal of " the charges pending against [Petitioner]").) Moreover, " the States' interest in administering their criminal justice systems free from federal interference is one of the most powerful of the considerations that should influence a court considering equitable types of relief." Kelly v. Robinson, 479 U.S. 36, 49, 107 S.Ct. 353, 93 L.Ed.2d 216 (1986) ( citing Younger, 401 U.S. at 44-45). " In addition, a state has a vital interest in protecting 'the authority of the judicial system, so that its orders and judgments are not rendered nugatory.'" H.C. v. Koppel, 203 F.3d 610, 613 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Juidice v. Vail, 430 U.S. 327, 336 n. 12, 97 S.Ct. 1211, 51 L.Ed.2d 376 (1977)). Finally, the California courts provide Petitioner an adequate forum in which to pursue any federal claims. H.C., 203 F.3d at 613; Hirsh v. Justices of Supreme Court of State of Cal., 67 F.3d 708, 713 (9th Cir. 1995). Petitioner has suggested no basis to apply any exception to Younger abstention. See Younger, 401 U.S. at 49, 53-54; see also Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592, 611-12, 95 S.Ct. 1200, 43 L.Ed.2d 482 (1975); Canatella v. California, 404 F.3d 1106, 1112 (9th Cir. 2005); Baffert v. Cal. Horse Racing Bd., 332 F.3d 613, 621-22 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1075, 124 S.Ct. 938, 157 L.Ed.2d 746 (2003). Thus, this Court should abstain from considering any Section 1983 civil rights claims brought by Petitioner seeking to vacate prior judicial actions or compel future judicial actions in the criminal proceedings pending against him in the state superior court.

Based on the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED THAT this action shall be summarily dismissed without prejudice.

JUDGMENT

IT IS ADJUDGED that the above-captioned action is dismissed without prejudice.


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