Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Owens v. Fresno Police Department

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 9, 2018

JERRY OWENS, Plaintiff,
v.
FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO: (1) FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; OR (2) NOTIFY THE COURT THAT HE WISHES TO STAND ON HIS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, SUBJECT TO FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE DISTRICT JUDGE CONSISTENT WITH THIS ORDER (ECF NO. 1) THIRTY (30) DAY DEADLINE

         Jerry Owens (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, commenced this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by the filing of a Complaint on January 29, 2018. (ECF No. 1). On February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), alleging that the Fresno Police Department, Community Regional Medical Center, and the Fresno County District Attorney violated his constitutional rights by taking his blood, offering false testimony in open court, and presenting misleading information to a judge. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff also alleges his attorney, Wagner & Jones Law Office, breached his trust by failing to advise him that his constitutional rights had been violated. Id.

         This Court has screened the FAC, and has concluded that it fails to state any cognizable claim under section 1983. Specifically, Plaintiff's claims are barred by the Younger abstention doctrine and the favorable termination rule, and the allegations fail to show that the named defendants are liable under section 1983. The Court will provide Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint within thirty days, if he believes that additional facts will establish a claim under the applicable legal standards. Plaintiff also has the option of standing on the FAC, in which case this Court will issue findings and recommendations to the assigned district judge, recommending that the case be dismissed for the reasons described in this order.

         I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners or detainees seeking relief against a governmental entity or 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 or detainee 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).

         A complaint is required to 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)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         II. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff appears to be a pretrial detainee[1] currently detained at Fresno County Jail. Plaintiff contends that he has been deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, and that his property has been taken for public use without just compensation.

         Plaintiff alleges that an officer from the Fresno Police Department (“FPD”) took his blood without performing a thorough investigation. Plaintiff also alleges that in open court on January 25, 2018, an officer contradicted information disclosed in discovery by testifying that a Community Regional Medical Center (“CRMC”) staff member is a man who can be identified by personal information, as opposed to a woman who cannot be identified.

         The officer was coached by the Fresno County District Attorney (the “District Attorney”) in his entire testimony, which will not match any hospital records or police investigation. The District Attorney presented misleading information to the judge by having the officer testify that the officer's actions in his investigation were appropriate. The judge detained Plaintiff and set an excessive bail based on this information.

         Plaintiff further alleges that CRMC staff took his blood and submitted statements to the FPD that are inconsistent with discovery filed with the court. On January 24, 2018, “someone other than an unidentified female in the discovery gave statements over a phone conversation to the [FPD, ] identifying themselves as a man.”

         Plaintiff also alleges that his attorney breached his trust by failing to inform him that his rights had been violated and by advising him to take a plea on all charges.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. YOUNGER ABSTENTION

         Federal courts “may not interfere with pending state criminal or civil proceedings.” Aiona v. Judiciary of State of Haw., 17 F.3d 1244, 1248 (9th Cir. 1994). This doctrine, called “Younger abstention, ” is rooted in the “desire to permit state courts to try state cases free from interference by federal courts.” Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43 (1971) (“[T]he underlying reason for restraining courts of equity from interfering with criminal prosecutions is reinforced by an even more vital consideration, the notion of ‘comity, ' that is, a proper respect for state functions . . . .”). “Abstention is appropriate in favor of state proceedings if (1) the state proceedings are ongoing, (2) the proceedings implicate important state interests, and (3) the state proceedings provide the plaintiff an adequate opportunity to litigate ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.