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Perez v. State

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 4, 2017

IVAN VALDEZ PEREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COURT OF APPEAL, Defendants.

          ORDER

          KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, a former juvenile detained in the California Youth Authority, is proceeding pro se. On January 11, 2017, plaintiff filed a seven page handwritten document accompanied by 349 pages of exhibits. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Plaintiff consented to proceed before the undersigned for all purposes. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

         Plaintiff submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

         II. Screening

         The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous when it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989), superseded by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. However, “[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement [of facts] 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) (quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555, citations and internal quotations marks omitted). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93, and construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overruled on other grounds, Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984).

         III. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff demands from the State of California monetary compensation for alleged kidnapping and false imprisonment, and allegedly charging him for a crime he claims he did not commit. (ECF No. 1 at 5.) The exhibits provided suggest that plaintiff was committed to the California Youth Authority (“CYA”) following proceedings held in 1998 in the juvenile division of the San Joaquin County Superior Court, Case No. 54180 or J54180.[1] (ECF Nos. 1-2 at 17; 1-3 at 52.) Plaintiff provided copies[2] of an order issued by the California Court of Appeals, Third Appellate District in Case No. C031187. (ECF Nos. 1-2 at 17; 1-3 at 52.) The state appellate court noted that plaintiff's juvenile delinquency proceeding involved three separate petitions. (ECF No. 1-2 at 17.) On appeal, plaintiff argued that the juvenile court erred by failing to declare one violation a misdemeanor, and erred in committing plaintiff to CYA. (ECF No. 1-2 at 18.) On January 26, 2000, the state appellate court upheld the juvenile court's findings. (ECF No. 1-2 at 18.)

         Plaintiff also provided a copy of the September 15, 2016 order from the California appellate court, denying, without comment, his petition for writ of habeas corpus.[3] (ECF No. 1-3 at 83.)

         Plaintiff does not provide a copy of a denial from the California Supreme Court, either from an appeal from, or petition for review of, the 2000 order by the state appellate court, or from a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in the California Supreme Court.[4] Plaintiff provided multiple copies of documents related to his efforts to file a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.

         IV. Discussion

         In Heck v. Humphrey, the Supreme Court held “habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his confinement and seeks immediate or speedier release, even though such a claim may come within the literal terms of § 1983.” Heck, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994). Thus, a plaintiff cannot maintain a § 1983 action to recover damages for “harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render [his] conviction or sentence invalid” when his sentence and conviction have not previously been reversed, expunged, declared invalid, or called into question upon issuance of a writ of habeas corpus by a federal court. Id. at 486-87. The Supreme ...


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