United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge.
December 7, 2016, plaintiff, formerly an inmate at a
correctional facility in California, filed a pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
seeking damages for alleged constitutional violations that
resulted in his criminal conviction. His complaint is now
before the court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915
because he has applied to proceed in forma pauperis.
Standard of Review
Court must dismiss an in forma pauperis action at
any time if the Court determines that the allegation of
poverty is untrue, the action is frivolous or malicious, the
action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant immune
from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed.
See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901
F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). “Specific facts are
not necessary; the statement need only . . . give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). Although a complaint “does
not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A
complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.
at 570. Pro se complaints must be liberally
construed. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342
(9th Cir. 2010).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two 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).
complaint, plaintiff alleges various problems in connection
with a criminal case against him that led to his conviction
and sentence in or about 2015. He alleges, for example, that
the Lake County Sheriff's Department and Clearlake Police
Department violated his constitutional rights by obtaining an
illegal warrant against him and conducting an illegal search
and seizure. He also alleges that the Lake County District
Attorney's Office conspired to have plaintiff wrongly
convicted and made false statements in order to have
plaintiff's bail increased.
claims are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994). The United States Supreme Court has held that
to recover damages in a suit under § 1983 for an
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for
other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction or sentence invalid, a plaintiff must prove that
the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct
appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a
state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus. Id. A claim for damages
arising from a conviction or sentence that has not been so
invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983. Id.
Here, plaintiff's request for damages under § 1983
for defendants' allegedly unlawful actions in securing
his state conviction is barred by Heck because a
judgment in favor of plaintiff would necessarily imply the
invalidity of a state conviction that has not already been
not clear that success on the excessive bail claim would call
into question the validity of the conviction, but even if
that claim is not barred by the Heck doctrine, the
prosecutors have absolute immunity against a claim for
damages because the excessive bail claim was based on their
conduct as advocates in the criminal case. See Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 272-73 (1993); Imbler v.
Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976). Similarly, to the
extent plaintiff brings claims against the state court judge
who issued the warrant in his case, a state 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).
“[J]udicial immunity is an immunity from suit for
damages, not just from ultimate assessment of damages.”
See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991).
also seeks injunctive relief, requesting “the
corruption of Lake County to cease, ” “the
intimidation to stop, ” and “removal from public
positions of power.” Compl. at 4. Even if
plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief somehow survive
the Heck bar, they are too conclusory and vague to
put any defendant on notice of his or her alleged actions,
and they fail to state a federal constitutional claim.
Injunctive relief may not be granted absent a great and
immediate threat that the plaintiff will suffer future
irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at
law. Nava v. City of Dublin, 121 F.3d 453, 458 (9th
Cir. 1997), overruled in part on other grounds,
Hodgers-Durgin v. de la Vina, 199 F.3d 1037, 1041
(9th Cir.1999). Past injury to plaintiff is usually
insufficient to satisfy this requirement. Id. at
459. Plaintiff has alleged that he was unfairly charged and
prosecuted for an offense in 2015, but he has alleged no
current indication that defendants intend to prosecute him
again now. As there is no allegation of a current, let alone
immediate, threat of harm to plaintiff, his claim for
injunctive relief is denied without prejudice to bringing
such a claim again in the future when and if such a threat
plaintiff states that “a writ of mandate will be
required” because he has been unable to obtain
documents from his criminal case and has been unable to
secure the return of his seized property. Compl. at 7.
Federal district courts are without power to issue mandamus
to direct state courts, state judicial officers, or other
state officials in the performance of their duties. A
petition for mandamus to compel a state court or official to
take or refrain from some action is frivolous as a matter of
law. See Demos v. U.S. District Court, 925 F.2d
1160, 1161-62 (9th Cir. 1991); see also In re
Campbell,264 F.3d 730, 731-32 (7th Cir. 2001) (denying
petition for writ of mandamus that would order state trial
court to give plaintiff access to certain trial transcripts
which he sought in preparation for filing state