United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS CASE AS BARRED BY HECK V. HUMPHRY, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) and FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 1, 8, 11.)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
A. Procedural History
Plaintiff, Edward Ronje, is a civil detainee who is currently proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on October 10, 2014. (Doc. 1.) Upon review initial review, it was discovered that Plaintiff was challenging the assessment protocol which resulted in his civil detention. Thus, on December 29, 2014, an order issued giving Plaintiff thirty days to show cause ("OSC") why this action should not be dismissed as barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487-88 (1994). (Doc. 8.) On March 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed his objections. (Doc. 11.) The Complaint is before the Court for screening.
B. Screening Requirement
"Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss [a case brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983] 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).
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 vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).
To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).
C. Summary of the Complaint
Plaintiff is detained at Coalinga State Hospital ("CSH"). He names the following Defendants: (1) Audrey King, Executive Director of CSH, (2) Cliff Allenby, Director of California Department of State Hospitals, (3) Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, Division Three, and (4) the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Plaintiff alleges that the 2009 standardized assessment protocol ("SAP"), under which he was determined to be a sexually violent predator so as to cause his detainment, was illegally enacted and violates section 6601 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, and that he identified the error before the probable cause determination. Plaintiff asserts that the 2009 SAP was not a valid standardized assessment and that his commitment based thereon deprived him of due process and violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff seeks a judgment declaring that his due process rights were violated; both preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the defendants and their agents from arguing that Plaintiff is a dangerous sex offender who requires indeterminate commitment and from applying a diagnosis of pedophilia as a justification for Plaintiff's false imprisonment; and monetary damages.
As previously stated in the order to show cause and discussed in greater detail below, Plaintiff is not able to pursue claims challenging his confinement that will lead to his earlier release under section 1983. These claims are proper fodder for a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Thus this action is appropriately dismissed.
1. Overview of Sexually Violent ...