United States District Court, N.D. California
KEENAN G. WILKINS, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
DONATO United States District Judge
a state prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has paid the filing fee.
Docket No. 35.
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). In its review, the Court must identify any
cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are
frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri
v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” 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. The United States Supreme Court has explained the
“plausible on its face” standard of
Twombly: “While legal conclusions can provide
the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by
factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that: (1) a right secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States was violated, and (2) the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color
of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
allegations arise from his detention at Martinez Detention
Facility while he was a pretrial detainee. Plaintiff alleges
that his due process rights were violated in being placed in
Administrative segregation (“Ad. Seg.”), the
conditions in Ad. Seg. violated the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments, his rights under the Equal Protection Clause were
violated, he was denied access to the courts, a defendant
retaliated against plaintiff due to his protected conduct and
there was a conspiracy.
presented with a procedural due process claim by a pretrial
detainee should first ask if the alleged deprivation amounts
to punishment and therefore implicates the Due Process Clause
itself; if so, the court then must determine what process is
due. See, e.g., Bell, 441 U.S. at
537-38 (discussing tests traditionally applied to determine
whether governmental acts are punitive in nature).
Disciplinary segregation as punishment for violation of jail
rules and regulations, for example, cannot be imposed without
due process, i.e., without complying with the procedural
requirements of Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539
(1974). See Mitchell v. Dupnik, 75 F.3d 517, 523-26
(9th Cir. 1996).
alleged deprivation does not amount to punishment, a pretrial
detainee's due process claim is not analyzed under
Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 474 (1995), which applies
to convicted prisoners, but rather under the law as it was
before Sandin. See Valdez v. Rosenbaum, 302
F.3d 1039, 1041 n.3 (9th Cir. 2002). The proper test to
determine whether detainees have a liberty interest is that
set out in Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 472
(1983), and Kentucky Dep't of Corrections v.
Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 461 (1989). Under those cases, a
state statute or regulation creates a procedurally protected
liberty interest if it sets forth “‘substantive
predicates' to govern official decision making” and
also contains “explicitly mandatory language, ”
i.e., a specific directive to the decisionmaker that mandates
a particular outcome if the substantive predicates have been
met. Thompson, 490 U.S. at 462-63 (quoting
Hewitt, 459 U.S. at 472).
alleged deprivation does not amount to punishment and there
is no state statute or regulation from which the interest
could arise, no procedural due process claim is stated and
the claim should be dismissed. See Meachum v. Fano,
427 U.S. 215, 223-27 (1976) (interests protected by due
process arise from Due Process Clause itself or from laws of
alleges that he was placed in Ad. Seg. for eight months for
unknown reasons without any due process. He also presents
allegations that the deprivations amounted to punishment.
This is sufficient to state a due process claim against the