United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
Michael J. Seng UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a county jail inmate proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis (―IFP-). He filed this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on April 24, 2017. (ECF No.
1.) Plaintiff's complaint is before the Court for
screening. He has declined Magistrate Judge jurisdiction.
(ECF No. 4.) No other parties have appeared.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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). ―Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion
thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the
case 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).
1983 provides a cause of action against any person who
deprives an individual of federally guaranteed rights
―under color- of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A
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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not
required, but ―[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice, - Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), and courts ―are not required
to indulge unwarranted inferences, - Doe I v. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While
factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions
are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant
personally participated in the deprivation of his rights.
Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir.
2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations
sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret
Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but
nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short
of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
is currently detained at the Stanislaus County Public Safety
Center in Modesto, California. He brings this suit against
Deputy McDougall for interfering with Plaintiff's legal
mail. His allegations may be summarized as follows:
February 11, 2017, Deputy McDougall removed five pieces of
Plaintiff's outgoing legal mail, including a piece
directed to Plaintiff's criminal attorney, from the
outgoing mailbox of Unit E. Defendant called Plaintiff over
to his desk, then broke the seals of each envelope, removed
the contents, read them, searched them for contraband,
replaced them in their envelopes, sealed and signed them, all
without Plaintiff's permission. Earlier that same day,
Deputy Freddie had already searched these envelopes for
contraband, sealed them, and signed them. Plaintiff complains
that his right of access to the Court has been violated and
he has lost the opportunity to have a ―fair or just-
civil or criminal trial or a chance to prove his innocence in
his pending criminal case.
has already filed a civil suit against Deputy McDougall
complaining about other instances of tampering. He seeks 1.5
million dollars in damages.
have a ―First Amendment right to send and receive
mail.- Witherow v. Paff, 52 F.3d 264, 265 (9th Cir.
1995). The censorship of outgoing prisoner mail is justified
if the following criteria are met: (1) the regulation
furthers ―an important or substantial government
interest unrelated to the suppression of expression- and (2)
―the limitation on First Amendment freedoms must be no
greater than is necessary or essential to the protection of
the particular governmental interest involved.- Procunier