United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
WILLIAM H. ORRICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Donnell Earl Young asserts that his lawyer in pending state
court proceedings is providing constitutionally inadequate
representation and wants that lawyer removed. Under
principles of comity and federalism, a federal court should
not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings absent
extraordinary circumstances (such as bad faith or
harassment). Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-54
(1971). Accordingly, Young's lawsuit is DISMISSED.
Standard of Review
federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the
court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any
claims that 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. See Id.
§ 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally
construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).
“complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Furthermore, a court
“is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in
the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot
reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged.” Clegg
v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated,
and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
is a state prisoner facing felony charges in San Mateo
County. He alleges here that his public defender is providing
constitutionally inadequate representation during the current
state criminal proceedings. He asks that counsel be removed
from defending him. He also alleges without elaboration that
the prosecution was brought in “bad faith.”
(Compl., Dkt. No. 1 at 12.)
under Younger v. Harris is appropriate when (1)
there is “an ongoing state judicial proceeding, ”
(2) those “proceedings implicate important state
interests, ” and (3) there is “an adequate
opportunity in the state proceedings to raise constitutional
challenges.” Middlesex Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden
State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 (1982). All of
the elements of Younger are present here.
state court proceedings are ongoing, which satisfies the
first Younger requirement: a felony information was
filed by the San Mateo District Attorney on March 13, 2019
and Young was arraigned two days later. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1
at 25, 31.) The second Younger element is also
present: “a proper respect for state functions, ”
such as ongoing criminal proceedings, is an important issue
of state interest. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 491-92 (1973) (quoting Younger, 401 U.S.
at 44). The third is as well: there is no reason Young cannot
pursue his constitutional claims in state court.
interference by this court in the state court proceedings
would enjoin or have the practical effect of enjoining state
proceedings, results disapproved of by Younger.
SJSVCCPAC v. City of San Jose, 546 F.3d 1087, 1092
(9th Cir. 2008). Nothing in the complaint suggests there are
extraordinary circumstances requiring such interference. For
all of these reasons, Younger abstention is