United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT THIS CASE BE
DISMISSED AS BARRED BY HECK V. HUMPHREY, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)
AND FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE STATUTE OF
LIMITATIONS (DOC. 1).
Faustino Rua Ortiz (“Plaintiff”) appearing
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a
complaint on December 5, 2016, alleging civil rights
violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous
defendants. (Doc. 1). On the same day, Plaintiff also filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. See Ortiz v. Superior Court County of
Fresno, No. 1:16-cv-01824-MJS (E.D.Cal. Dec. 5, 2016)
(hereinafter, the “habeas case”). The civil
rights complaint is presently before the Court for screening
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
April 24, 2017, this Court issued an order to show cause why
this case should not be dismissed: 1) for failure to comply
with the applicable statute of limitations, and 2) as barred
by the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). (ECF No. 4.)
Plaintiff filed a response to the order to show cause on May
30, 2017. (ECF No. 5.) Because it is apparent that Plaintiff
did not comply with the applicable statute of limitations and
his claims are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, the
undersigned judge recommends dismissal.
HECK V. HUMPHREY
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the
United States Supreme Court held that to recover damages for
“harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction or sentence invalid, ” a § 1983
plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence was
reversed, expunged, or otherwise invalidated. The
favorable-termination rule laid out in Heck
preserves the rule that claims which, if successful, would
necessarily imply the invalidity of a conviction or sentence,
must be brought by way of petition for writ of habeas corpus,
after exhausting appropriate avenues for relief. Muhammad
v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750-751 (2004).
applicability of the favorable termination rule turns solely
on whether a successful § 1983 action would
necessarily render invalid a
conviction, sentence, or administrative sanction that
affected the length of the prisoner's confinement.”
Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 856 (9th Cir.
2003). In Smithart v. Towery, 79 F.3d 951, 952 (9th
Cir. 1996), the court held that, “if a criminal
conviction arising out of the same facts stands and is
fundamentally inconsistent with the unlawful behavior for
which section 1983 damages are sought, the 1983 action must
be dismissed.” But if the “action, even if
successful, will not demonstrate the invalidity of
any outstanding criminal judgment against the plaintiff, the
action should be allowed to proceed, in the absence of some
other bar to the suit.” Heck, 512 U.S. at 487.
“In evaluating whether claims are barred by
Heck, an important touchstone is whether a §
1983 plaintiff could prevail only by negating ‘an
element of the offense of which he has been
convicted.'” Cunningham v. Gates, 312 F.3d
1148, 1153-54 (9th Cir.2002) (quoting Heck, 512 U.S.
Plaintiff's Civil Rights Complaint
Plaintiff's § 1983 complaint brings three claims
challenging conduct related to his underlying conviction of
various charges relating to the sexual abuse of his daughter.
Claim(s) Brought Against Detectives
Claim 1, Plaintiff alleges that his constitutional rights
were violated during his arrest when Defendant Madruga, a
Fresno Detective, failed to show him an arrest warrant and
read him his Miranda rights. Plaintiff further alleges that
his rights were violated and his back was hurt during his
arrest when officers forced and threw him down and into their
car while handcuffed.
Plaintiff alleges in Claim 1 that his rights were violated
when he was interrogated by Defendant Martinez, a Fresno
Detective, during a criminal investigation. He further states
that the detective lied to him, did give him an interpreter,
forced him to confess, and handcuffed him if he didn't
Claim(s) Brought Against Public Defender
alleges in Claim 2 that his public defender, Roberto R. Duke,
violated his right to effective assistance of counsel during
his criminal trial because Duke “didn't give his
best to defend my case.” He states that Duke put him
“into a guilty situation” by not telling him what
charges he was facing, what issues should have been raised,
failing to make appropriate objections, and failing to
request DNA evidence.
Claim(s) Brought ...