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Weldon v. Kapetan

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 20, 2018

PAUL WELDON, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN NICHOLAS KAPETAN, FRESNO SUPERIOR COURT, DOES 1-100, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS BE DENIED WITH PREJUDICE IN PART AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE IN PART (Doc. 1) OBJECTIONS DUE: 21 DAYS

          SHEILA K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is a civil rights complaint, filed on November 17, 2017, by Plaintiff Paul Weldon (“Plaintiff”) against Fresno Superior Court and Fresno Superior Court Judge Jonathan Nicholas Kapetan. (Doc. 1 (the “Complaint”).) The undersigned has screened Plaintiff's complaint and, for the reasons set forth below, recommends that the complaint be dismissed without prejudice, with leave to amend within thirty days, as to Plaintiff's claims against Judge Kapetan for injunctive relief, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. The undersigned further recommends that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice as to Plaintiff's claims against Judge Kapetan for damages and declaratory relief, pursuant to §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and as to all of Plaintiff's claims against Fresno Superior Court.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On November 17, 2017, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against Judge Kapetan and Fresno Superior Court.[1] (See generally Compl. at 1-2.) On November 21, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 3; see also Doc. 2.) The events at issue in Plaintiff's complaint stem from Plaintiff's appearance before Judge Kapetan at a November 2015 arraignment on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence. (See generally Compl. at 2-5, 10-21.) Plaintiff contends that Judge Kapetan's actions during the arraignment violated his constitutional rights. (Id.)

         According to the transcript from the arraignment, which Plaintiff annexed to the complaint as Exhibit A, Plaintiff appeared in propria persona. (Id. at 9.) While Judge Kapetan was informing Plaintiff of the charges filed against him and the attendant penalties, Plaintiff stated, “Well, actually I'm here to challenge jurisdiction . . ., ” and “I'll need all the elements to the arraignment . . . .” (Id. at 11.) At Judge Kapetan's direction, the courtroom deputy handed Plaintiff a copy of the criminal complaint. (Id. at 13-14.) The following exchange ensued:

Plaintiff: Who signed the complaint?
Judge Kapetan: One Jenice-appears Saucedo, Deputy Clerk. How do you plea, sir?
Plaintiff: I'm sorry, can you repeat that?
Judge Kapetan: How do you plea?
Plaintiff: No, before that.
Judge Kapetan: Repeat what?
Plaintiff: The name.
Judge Kapetan: I show Jenice Saucedo.
Plaintiff: Can you spell that for me?
Judge Kapetan: No, sir. It's on the complaint.
Plaintiff: No, sir, it is not.
Judge Kapetan: It's not on yours?
Plaintiff: I don't see it.
. . . .
Judge Kapetan: It's in the lower left hand section, sir. In any event-
. . . .
Plaintiff: I see the Deputy Clerk. Is that scribbling-is supposed to be the name Jenice?
Judge Kapetan: It appears on my complaint, yes, sir.
Plaintiff: Can you spell that for me?
Judge Kapetan: No, sir. I ask you how do you plea?
Plaintiff: I've asked you to spell her name.
Judge Kapetan: Under what authority do you ask me to spell her name?
Plaintiff: Constitution authority.
Judge Kapetan: Show me that Constitutional-either amendment or that section of the Constitution that requires that I give you a deputy clerk's name, when signed your complaint, sir.
Plaintiff: It's not on the complaint.
Judge Kapetan: All right, sir.
Plaintiff: I just told you it says deputy ...

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