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Kastis v. Alvarado

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 11, 2019

DIMITRIOS KASTIS, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE ALVARADO, et al., Defendants.

          SCREENING ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 11) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Dimitrios Kastis (“Plaintiff”) is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. On February 20, 2019, the district court determined that because this action involved the same or similar parties, claims, and questions of fact or law, it should be consolidated with Plaintiff's later filed actions in Nos. 1:18-cv-01378-DAD-BAM, 1:18-cv-01430-DAD-BAM, 1:18-cv-01457-DAD-BAM, and 1:18-cv-01521-DAD-BAM. (Doc. No. 9.)

         Following the district court's order, this Court notified Plaintiff that his complaints were subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and, therefore in the interests of efficiency and judicial economy, the Court directed Plaintiff to file single, consolidated, amended complaint in this action. (Doc. No. 10.) Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on April 15, 2019, is currently before the Court for screening. (Doc. No. 11.)

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The Court screens complaints brought by persons proceeding in pro se and in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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)). 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).

         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 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         In his first amended complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Joe Alvarado, Clovis Police Officer; (2) Clovis Police Department; (3) Fresno County District Attorney's Office; (4) United States Department of Justice; and (5) Department of Homeland Security. Plaintiff asserts violations of his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Twelfth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

         Defendant Joe Alvarado

         Plaintiff generally alleges that Defendant Alvarado “[a]uthored and distributed fake police report, intentionally lied in his police report, committed several counts of perjury in the search warrant, lied under oath at the plaintiff's preliminary hearing, and intentionally lied under penalty of perjury in the ‘warrantless arrest declaration.'” (Doc. No. 11 at 8.) Plaintiff claims that Defendant Alvarado violated Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights, deprived him of due process of law, and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment with 10½ years of pretrial incarceration at the Fresno County Jail.

         Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Alvarado committed the following criminal acts in the process of investigating and arresting him: (1) forged his police report and hid the original from the defense and courts; (2) advised and directed the first responding officer to forge her police report hiding the original from the defense and the courts; (3) lied intentionally six times in his official report; (4) in the 2007 search warrant, he included two unqualified/false statements, nine intentionally false statements, and sixteen deliberate critical omissions; (5) lied under oath eighteen times at Plaintiff's state preliminary hearing and committed a serious “Brady violation” by unlawfully suppressing exculpatory information in his possession; and (6) included four intentional lies in his “warrantless arrest declaration” to the court. (Id. at 13.)

         With respect to the purportedly forged police report, Plaintiff alleges the following:

Defendant Alvarado submitted only a one 8-page police report title “supplemental.” It was reviewed and approved by Sgt. Medina. With sentence cut in half it looks like a cut-and-paste job. To this date he has not released his original report which includes, but not limited to CV2 and CV1's birthday, their initial statements to the police, and the statement from their parent/guardian Lola Castellano. The above information were excluded from the “Supplemental” police report. [¶] CPL. Kerr submitted only one 10-page report title “Narrative Continuation” by everybody's evaluation, including Sgt. McFadden, the District Attorney's office and it's senior investigators Cpl. Kerr is the author of the original report. That original report (thanks to Alvarado and the culture of corruption in the Clovis Police) was kept hidden unlawfully from the courts and the defense. [¶] The existence for the unlawfully hidden original police report was confirmed indirectly by Cpl. Kerr herself and directly by Defendant Alvarado in front of a U.S. District Judge. [¶] At the Plaintiff's preliminary hearing under oath and while refreshing her recollection Cpl. Kerr (the first responding officer), stated that she was reading from pages 10, 11, and 12. The problem with that is the fact that her “narrative continuation” police report is only 10-pages long. [¶] At the Franks hearing in front of U.S. District Judge and while on the witness stand Defendant Alvarado stated that the document on the screen (Cpl's Kerr “narrative continuation” report) is “the supplemental to Cpl. Kerr's initial report.” [¶] at the same hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Drozd and under cross-examination, Defendant Alvarado stated that in preparations for his testimony he “I also had Corporal Kerr's - - both parents, the initial report and then the supplemental report.”

(Doc. No. 11 at 26.)

         Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Alvarado, in his rush to obtain a high-profile arrest, violated state and federal criminal laws and Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Plaintiff further asserts that by lying under oath, lying in his police report, lying under penalty of perjury, conducting an unconstitutional search and seizure, covering up exculpatory information and lying to a United States District Judge, Defendant Alvarado violated Plaintiff's Fourth, Twelfth and Eighth Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff seeks sanctions against Defendant Alvarado to include training, re-examination of all his criminal cases, damages paid to Plaintiff in the amount of $5 million for 10 ½ years of pretrial incarceration, reassignment, and a written letter of apology.

         Defendant Clovis Police Department

         Plaintiff generally asserts that Defendant Clovis Police Department's corrupt culture enabled Defendant Alvarado to violate state and federal criminal laws multiple times and to violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Plaintiff further asserts that the culture of corruption allowed two of Defendants' officers to forge their police reports and hide them from the defense and courts. Plaintiff further alleges that during the investigation of Plaintiff, Defendant made it possible for unqualified officers to handle critical computer evidence without filing any reports. Additionally, the Defendant's senior computer forensic expert was allowed to remove computer evidence form the evidence locker for 8½ months without justification or filing any report for such action. Plaintiff also alleges that supervisors of the lead detective, first responding officer and senior computer forensic expert provided no training, no oversight and no supervision of the above officers, which directly contributed and enable them to violate state and federal laws and constitutional mandates.

         Plaintiff contends that the following instances of alleged criminal misconduct by Clovis Police Officers demonstrates the existence of a systemic culture of corruption: (1) a corporal engaged in lying under oath in a criminal proceeding, deceived a Superior Court judge by forging her police report, and unlawfully hid her original report from the defense and courts in order to obtain a conviction against Plaintiff; (2) the lead detective in the state's case assisted in the cover up of another police officer's forged report, manufactured a forged police report that he made public, authored a defective and unconstitutional search warrant filled with lies and omissions, committed perjury multiple times in composing the warrantless arrest declaration for the Superior Court, committed Brady violations, lied under oath at Plaintiff's preliminary hearing, provided evidence of his criminal conduct at the Franks hearing in 2018, and lied to a United States District Judge while attempting to defend his 2004 search warrant; (3) a Clovis police sergeant and celebrated senior computer forensic expert lied to an investigator from the District Attorney's Office regarding the existence of two forged police reports to cover up criminal conduct by the lead detective and the first responding officer in the Plaintiff's state case; sergeant violated chain of custody protocols by inappropriate handling of critical computer evidence without filing any reports and tampered with the computer evidence without reporting it; (4) a Clovis police sergeant/supervisor, knowing that he was handling a forged police report (a felony under state and federal criminal laws), signed his name as the reviewing supervisor, giving legitimacy to a forged document and preventing it from security; (5) multiple Clovis police officers examined sensitive computer evidence without filing any reports of their action; and (6) in 2012, two packages titled “57 Counts of Perjury” were sent to the Chief of Clovis police and to the internal affairs unit. The information documented multiple criminal acts by Defendant Alvarado, even though the Chief promised swift action, the agency did nothing to the accused officer.

         As sanctions, Plaintiff requests that all criminal cases that resulted in arrest and/or conviction by Clovis Police Officers in the last 50 years be reopened and examined by an independent entity, procedures for review of officer work product, training, payment of damages to Plaintiff in the amount of $50 million after taxes, return of Plaintiff's property after a guilty verdict, and a letter of apology to Plaintiff.

         Defendant District Attorney's Office

         Plaintiff alleges that the District Attorney's office ignored and suppressed exculpatory evidence, distributed and defended fake police reports, lied to the courts about Brady information in their possession, lied to the courts about the mishandling of computer evidence by Clovis Police Officers, and covered up the existence of fake reports. Plaintiff also alleges that the senior investigators from the District Attorney's Office assisted in covering up the fake police reports and exculpatory material, accepted and distributed a “perjurious and unconstitutional search warrant, ” and lied intentionally about dismissal of all state charges against Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 11 at 9.)

         Plaintiff further alleges that the District Attorney's Office was involved in Plaintiff's state case from the investigation through the attempted prosecution to the unconditional dismissal of charges against him. Plaintiff claims that defendant violated criminal laws and deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.

         Plaintiff asserts that throughout the investigation, representatives from the District Attorney's Office intentionally ignored exculpatory evidence, which with their knowledge and consent was left out of the police reports. Representatives from the District Attorney's Office also reportedly knew that the two original police reports were unlawfully hidden and provided to the courts and defense two forged police reports by the lead detective and first responding officer. During the preliminary hearing in state court, representatives from the District Attorney's Office intentionally misrepresented facts uncovered by the Clovis police investigators, depriving the court of the truth of the allegations against Plaintiff. Representatives from the District Attorney's Office also allegedly lied on the record to the courts about the involvement of multiple Clovis police officers in examining the computer evidence without filing reports. Representatives from the District Attorney's Office also allegedly initiated an investigation using resources from their office to cover up the existence of hidden police reports.

         Further, Plaintiff contends that senior investigators from the District Attorney's Office lied to the courts and the defense in their official report about exculpatory information and conducted an investigation to hide the existence of original police reports. Representatives from the District Attorney's Office also allegedly accepted, consented to, and supported an unconstitutional search warrant that included a false affidavit. Plaintiff also contends that in their unconditional dismissal of all state charges, representatives from the District Attorney's Office lied to the court in justifying such decision.

         In addition to the above, Plaintiff also alleges as follows:

1) The District Attorney's Office distributed the fake police reports to the defense and the courts, while they had knowledge that such conduct violated state/federal criminal laws ...

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