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Butler v. County of Riverside

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 1, 2015

Ray A. Butler,
County of Riverside, CA


KENLY KIYA KATO, Magistrate Judge.

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order To Show Cause Why This Action Should Not Be Dismissed

On June 25, 2015, Plaintiff Ray A. Butler, a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983.[1] ECF Docket No. ("dkt.") 1. The Court has screened the Complaint and finds it improperly challenges the validity of Plaintiff's California state conviction and sentence. Thus, Plaintiff is ordered to show cause why this action should not be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

In the Complaint, Plaintiff sues the County of Riverside and the City of Riverside, California. Dkt. 1 at 14.[2] Plaintiff alleges defendants "violated [his] constitutional rights under the 5th, 8th, and 14th amendment[s] when he was sentenced to 25 years to life under an unauthorize[d] illegal sentence which amounts to cruel and unusual punishment by the Defendants." Id. at 16. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges:

On 1-26-97 Ray Butler was arrested for p.c. 666 petty theft. On 2-13-97 the complaint was amended to p.c. 667.5 petty theft with prior, case #RIF73041. Mr. Butler is asserting that his adult record shows he only suffered two prior felony convictions (1) case # CR-1516 in 1978, [and] (2) case # CR-23582 in 1985. Therefore it was illegal for the City of Riverside to elevate Butler's p.c. 666 misdemeanor to 667.5 felony for the three strikes. Because they knew or should have known that all of Butler's charged priors came from his 1978 conviction, which all four were not only tried in the same proceedings, but committed during the same course of criminal conduct, based on the same act, committed at the same time, against the same victims, and were all committed long beyond the ten year limit. The Judge acted in excess of its Jurisdiction by imposing on an illegal unauthorized sentence for a single act, but counted them as separate single priors. Plus the judge at the sentencing did not give a reason for this none consistent sentence, which by doing so violated not only statutory law, but federal sentencing guidelines, and California rules of court violating Mr. Butler's due process under the 5th, 8th, and 14th amendment which is a fundamental miscarriage of justice cruel and unusual punishment.

Id. at 16-17.

Plaintiff seeks "to be granted release from prison, and compensated for pain and suffering, mental anguish which is caused by the Defendant in the form of forty million dollars." Id. at 38.

A petition for a writ of habeas corpus "is the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his confinement."[3] Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994) (citation omitted). A state prisoner's civil rights action is barred if "success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration, " except where the prisoner's conviction has already been invalidated.[4] Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82, 125 S.Ct. 1242, 161 L.Ed.2d 253 (2005). Thus, because the Complaint challenges the validity of Plaintiff's conviction and sentence, and because the conviction and sentence have not already been invalidated, this action is barred.

Plaintiff is therefore ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE within 14 days of the date of this Order why the Court should not dismiss his Complaint. As an alternative, Plaintiff may, within 14 days of the date of this Order, request a voluntary dismissal of this action without prejudice, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a). A Notice of Dismissal Form is attached for Plaintiff's convenience.

The Court warns Plaintiff that failure to file a timely response to this Order will result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed without prejudice.

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