United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
THELTON E. HENDDERSON, United States District Judge.
a detainee, filed this pro se civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The original complaint was
dismissed with leave to amend and Plaintiff has filed a first
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or
"seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief." Id. § 1915A(b).
Pleadings filed by pro se litigants, however, must be
liberally construed. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338,
342 (9th Cir. 2010); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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. West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
alleges that a superior court judge, several district
attorneys and various public defenders are conspiring to have
him and other African-Americans prosecuted.
principles of comity and federalism, a federal court should
not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings by
granting injunctive or declaratory relief absent
extraordinary circumstances. See Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971). Federal courts should not enjoin
pending state criminal prosecutions absent a showing of the
state's bad faith or harassment, or a showing that the
statute challenged is "flagrantly and patently violative
of express constitutional prohibitions."
Younger, 401 U.S. at 46, 53-54 (cost, anxiety and
inconvenience of criminal defense not kind of special
circumstances or irreparable harm that would justify federal
court intervention; statute must be unconstitutional in every
"clause, sentence and paragraph, and in whatever
manner" it is applied).
may be inappropriate in the "extraordinary
circumstance" that (1) the party seeking relief in
federal court does not have an adequate remedy at law and
will suffer irreparable injury if denied equitable relief,
see Mockaitis v. Harcleroad, 104 F.3d 1522, 1528
(9th Cir. 1997) (citing Younger, 401 U.S. at 43-44),
or (2) the state tribunal is incompetent by reason of bias,
see Gibson v. Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564, 577-79
(1973). A party who alleges bias must overcome a presumption
of honesty and integrity in those serving as adjudicators.
See Hirsh v. Justices of the Supreme Court of Cal.,
67 F.3d 708, 713 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted).
judge is absolutely immune from civil liability for damages
for acts performed in his judicial capacity. See Pierson
v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 553-55 (1967) (applying judicial
immunity to actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Judicial
immunity is an immunity from suit for damages, not just from
an ultimate assessment of damages. See Mitchell v.
Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985).
prosecuting attorney enjoys absolute immunity from liability
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for his conduct in "pursuing
a criminal prosecution" insofar as he acts within his
role as an "advocate for the State" and his actions
are "intimately associated with the judicial phase of
the criminal process." Imbler v. Pachtman, 424
U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976). But prosecutors are entitled only to
qualified immunity when they perform investigatory or
administrative functions, or are essentially functioning as
police officers or detectives. Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993).
public defender does not act under color of state law, an
essential element of an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
when performing a lawyer's traditional functions, such as
entering pleas, making motions, objecting at trial,
cross-examining witnesses, and making closing arguments.
Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 318-19 (1981).
It matters not that the public defender failed to exercise
independent judgment or that he was employed by a public
agency; it is the nature and context of the function
performed by the public defender that is determinative under
Polk County. Miranda v. Clark County, Nevada, 319
F.3d 465, 468 (9th Cir. 2003).
under color of state law can be found if a plaintiff can
plead and prove facts which show that the public defender
conspired with state officials. See Tower v. Glover,
467 U.S. 914, 919-20 (1984).
names as defendants a superior court judge, several district
attorneys and public defenders and alleges that they are
corrupt and are engaged in a conspiracy to prosecute him and
others due to their race. The original complaint was
dismissed with leave to ...