United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING THE ACTION
WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
initiated this action by filing a complaint on May 4, 2018.
(Doc. 1) The Court finds Plaintiff is unable to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, as his claims are
intertwined with ongoing state criminal proceedings and
barred by the Younger abstention doctrine.
Therefore, the Court recommends Plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis be DENIED
and the complaint DISMISSED without
prejudice as the Court lacks jurisdiction.
Background and Allegations
alleges that he was placed under arrest on January 23, 2018
and is currently incarcerated in the Lerdo Pre-Trial
Facility. (Doc. 1 at 1, 4) He asserts the defendants-which
include the County, defense counsel, the Indigent Defense
Program, and other individuals-conspired together and
“orchestrated and fabricated a fictitious home invasion
robbery, ” for which Plaintiff was arrested.
(Id. at 5) Plaintiff contends officers arrested him
“without warrant or probable cause…then searched
and seized all his personal affects without reason”
when he was taken into custody. (See id.)
docket of the Kern County Superior Court indicates that in
Case No. BF171027C, Plaintiff was charged with robbery in the
first degree in violation of California Penal Code §
212(A) and burglary in the first degree in violation of
California Penal Code § 460(A). The docket also indicates
that a jury trial is set to begin in this action on June 4,
Proceeding in forma pauperis
general rule, all parties instituting any civil action, suit
or proceeding in a United States District Court must pay a
filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However, the Court may
authorize the commencement of an action “without
prepayment of fees and costs of security therefor, by a
person who submits an affidavit that . . . the person is
unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, an action may proceed
despite a failure to prepay the filing fee only if leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) is
granted by the Court. See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169
F.3d 1178, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999).
Ninth Circuit has held “permission to proceed in forma
pauperis is itself a matter of privilege and not a right;
denial of an in forma pauperis status does not violate the
applicant's right to due process.” Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1231 (9th Cir. 1984) (citing
Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir.
1963)). In addition, the Court has broad discretion to grant
or deny a motion to proceed IFP. O'Loughlin v.
Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 616 (9th Cir. 1990); Weller,
314 F.2d at 600-01. In making a determination, the court
“must be careful to avoid construing the statute so
narrowly that a litigant is presented with a Hobson's
choice between eschewing a potentially meritorious claim or
foregoing life's plain necessities.” Temple v.
Ellerthorpe, 586 F.Supp. 848, 850 (D.R.I. 1984).
Court recommends Plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis be denied because, as discussed
below, the complaint fails to state a meritorious claim upon
which relief may be granted. See, e.g., Minetti v. Port
of Seattle, 152 F.3d 1113, 1115 (9th Cir. 1998)
(“A district court may deny leave to proceed in forma
pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the
proposed complaint that the action is frivolous or without
merit”); Tripati v. First Nat'l Bank &
Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 1987) (same).
individual seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the
Court is required to review the complaint and shall dismiss a
complaint, or portion of the complaint, if it is
“frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or . . . seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure set forth the applicable
standards for pleading complaints. A pleading stating a claim
for relief must include a statement affirming the court's
jurisdiction, “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and . . . a demand
for the relief sought, which may include relief in the
alternative or different types of relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a). The Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, and
pro se pleadings are held to “less stringent
standards” than pleadings by attorneys. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521-21 (1972).
complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the
plaintiff's claim in a plain and succinct manner.
Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646,
649 (9th Cir. 1984). Further, a plaintiff must identify the
grounds upon which the complaint stands. Swierk ...