United States District Court, N.D. California
SEBREN A. PIERCE, Plaintiff,
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Tigar United States District Judge.
an inmate at California Correctional Training Facility in
Soledad, California, filed this pro se civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a
separate order. His complaint (ECF No. 1) is now before the
Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Standard of Review
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court
must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims
which 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 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings
must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)
(citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to
provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment]
to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and
(2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under
the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
alleges that “[t]he utilization of: ‘People of
the State of California,' as plaintiff in criminal court
cases is not supported by law” and therefore violates
his rights under the Sixth Amendment. ECF No. 1 at 8.
Plaintiff further alleges that the California courts
committed fraud in his bankruptcy case, No. 18-51750 SLJ 7,
presumably because the bankruptcy case was brought by the
People of the State of California, and in his criminal court
cases, Nos. FSB18868, 981346-9, and SCR37010, because the
People of the State of California is the plaintiff in those
cases. Plaintiff alleges that the municipalities named as
defendants are liable because they an unofficial custom of
utilizing “People of the State of California.”
ECF No. 1 at 8-10. Plaintiff claims that his case presents an
exception to the “Heck Bar Doctrine.” ECF No. 1
at 3. Plaintiff names as defendants “the State of
California, et al.; the San Bernardino County Board of
Supervisors, et al.; and the city of San Bernardino, et
al.” ECF No. 1 at 2. As relief, he requests that his
state and federal criminal records be pulled and destroyed,
and that he receive punitive and compensatory damages
totaling $15, 121, 500, 000.00. ECF No. 1 at 3.
complaint fails to state any cognizable claim for relief.
Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable Sixth Amendment
claim. The Sixth Amendment provides that a criminal defendant
is entitled to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
of the state and district wherein the crime was committed; to
be informed of the nature and cause of the charges against
him; to confront the witnesses against him; and to the
assistance of counsel for his defense. U.S. Const. Amend. VI.
Plaintiff's allegation that the People of the State of
California may not prosecute him for criminal offenses does
not implicate the protections provided by the Sixth
notwithstanding Plaintiff's protestations to the
contrary, his claims are barred by the Heck rule.
Pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), a
court must dismiss a Section 1983 action where the
plaintiff's success in the action would necessarily imply
the invalidity of the plaintiff's conviction or sentence,
and the conviction or sentence has not yet been invalidated.
Id. at 486-87. Where the conviction or sentence has
not yet been invalidated, the Section1983 suit is barred no
matter the relief sought (damages or equitable relief) and no
matter the target of the suit (conduct leading to conviction
or internal prison proceedings), see Wilkinson v.
Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005), and the suit should
be dismissed, see Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641,
649 (1997); cf. Butterfield v. Bail, 120 F.3d 1023,
1025 (9th Cir. 1997) (claim barred by Heck may be
dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6)). Here, Plaintiff alleges that
he has been falsely imprisoned, alleges that the State of
California unlawfully prosecuted him, and requests the
expungement of his criminal records. In short, Plaintiff
seeks to invalidate his criminal convictions. His claims are
therefore barred by Heck.
Plaintiff's claim regarding the captioning of his cases
is incorrect. Contrary to Plaintiff's contention,
California regulations and caselaw require that criminal
actions be prosecuted in the name of The People of the State
of California. See Cal. Penal Code § 684 (West
2010) (“A criminal action is prosecuted in the name of
the people of the State of California, as a party, against
the person charged with the offense.”); Cal. Gov't
Code § 100(b) (West 2011) (“The style of all
process shall be ‘The People of the State of
California,' and all prosecutions shall be conducted in
their name and by their authority.”); People v.
Romero-Arellano, 88 Cal.Rptr.3d 900, 906-07, as