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Blakesley v. Brown

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 23, 2018

EDMUND G. BROWN, JR., Defendants.


         Plaintiff Mark Daniel Blakesley is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint, filed May 18, 2018.


         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners 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 has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that “fail[] to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A complaint must 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)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.


         In 2008, Sergeant Villanueva told Plaintiff that he had reviewed his central file and found confidential information concerning a trial held in 1990 in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Villanueva told Plaintiff that his co-defendant, Teddy Crawford, committed suicide after writing a lengthy letter which exonerated Plaintiff of the crime of murder. Villanueva told Plaintiff there was a trial in 1990, concerning the suicide letter written by Crawford, but Plaintiff was never notified of the trial. In 1991, Plaintiff was processed for parole but was never released. Villanueva told Plaintiff that the letter by Crawford combined with the trial record should have resulted in Plaintiff's release from prison.

         Plaintiff sought the assistance of a public defender. However, Plaintiff was advised that unless he could obtain documents from the confidential section of his central there was nothing that could be done.

         On or about September 29, 2016, a Board of Parole Commissioner named Zarrannam released part of the documents which were given to attorney, Michael Evan Beckman, who was assisting Plaintiff at the time. However, Plaintiff has not been provided with the documents.

         Plaintiff requests access to the suicide letter of Teddy Crawford, access to the trial record from the Sacramento County Superior Court, the parole packet processed by Sergeant Singer, and immediate release from prison.


         “Federal law opens two main avenues to relief on complaints related to imprisonment: a petition for writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and a complaint under … 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004) (per curiam). “Challenges to the validity of any confinement or to particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus; requests for relief turning on circumstances of confinement may be presented in a § 1983 action.” Id. (internal citation omitted). Federal courts lack habeas jurisdiction over claims by state prisoners that are not within “the core of habeas corpus.” Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d 922, 934 (9th Cir. 2016) (en banc), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 645 (2017). A prisoner's claims are within the core of habeas corpus if they challenge the fact or duration of his conviction or sentence. Id. at 934. “[W]hen a prisoner's claim would not ‘necessarily spell speedier release, ' that claim does not lie at “the core of habeas corpus, ' and may be brought, if at all, under § 1983.” Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 534 n.13 (2011) (citing Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 82 (2005)); Nettles, 830 F.3d at 934.

         It is clear that Plaintiff is challenging his conviction which impacts the duration of his sentence. As such, the proper avenue to seek such relief is by way of habeas corpus petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Plaintiff is advised that the proper venue for challenging the execution of his sentence is the district court containing the sentencing court, while the proper venue to challenge the execution of his sentence is the district court containing the prison in which Petitioner is incarcerated. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d). Accordingly, to the extent Plaintiff wishes to challenge the duration of his confinement he must file a habeas corpus petition in the district court containing the sentencing court. Indeed, Plaintiff has previously filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court in Blakesley v. Yates, No. 2:08-cv-01595-JFM, wherein he raised the exact challenge he presents in this case, namely, that his co-defendant, Teddy Crawford, confessed to the murder but he was not allowed to attend the court proceedings regarding such confession. (No. 2:08-cv-01595-JFM, ECF No. 1.)[1] The action was voluntarily dismissed by Plaintiff on November 18, 2009. (Id., ECF No. 36.) Although the Court would generally grant Plaintiff leave to amend in light of his pro se status, amendment is futile in this instance because the deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000); Schmier v. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 279 F.3d 817, 824 (9th ...

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