United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND DOCKET NOS. 1,
5, 9, 12, 13
M. CHEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Arias-Maldonado, an inmate at the Santa Clara County Jail,
filed this pro se civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. His initial pleading is now before the
Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. His
miscellaneous motions also are before the Court for review.
action was opened when Mr. Arias-Maldonado filed a document
entitled “Motion To Safeguard Civil Rights Of Pretrial
Detainee.” Docket No. 1. Mr. Arias-Maldonado later
filed a document entitled “Complaint Violation Of Civil
Rights - Second Filing Attempt, ” Docket No. 14, in
which he explains that he erroneously sent his original civil
rights complaint to the Santa Clara County Superior
Court's criminal division and was now making a second
attempt to file it in the correct court. Id. at 4.
He also states that this Court already had a copy of his
complaint filed on March 12, 2019, and therefore he did not
attach a copy of it to his “Second Filing
Attempt.” Id. The only document he filed on
March 12, 2019, is the “Motion To Safeguard Civil
Rights Of Pretrial Detainee.” Docket No. 1. The Court
treats the “Motion To Safeguard Civil Rights Of
Pretrial Detainee” as the operative pleading because
the “Second Filing Attempt” document explains an
earlier filing error but does not contain any legal claims
for relief. Mr. Arias-Maldonado's filings are hardly
models of clarity.
Arias-Maldonado alleges in his “Motion To Safeguard
Civil Rights Of Pretrial Detainee” that he is being
denied his right to adequately represent himself in criminal
proceedings now pending against him in the Santa Clara County
Superior Court. Docket No. 1 at 1-2. The details as to how he
is being denied his ability to engage in self-representation
Arias-Maldonado alleges that he was arrested and charged with
sexual battery of a minor, even though the child said that he
was not the perpetrator. He also alleged that the charge was
unfairly changed later to lewd or lascivious conduct on a
minor, see Cal. Penal Code § 288(a). His
demurrer to the new charge was overruled by the trial court;
the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court
denied his petitions challenging that ruling. Id. at
Arias-Maldonado further alleges that he is facing a charge of
petty theft on “a totally different matter” in
the Santa Clara County Superior Court, for which counsel was
appointed to represent him. Id. Mr. Arias-Maldonado
allegedly wanted to represent himself but his desire was not
communicated to the court for a hundred days by the jail
legal services coordinator, “result[ing] in the virtual
denial of the pro se's self-representation” rights
and privileges. Id. The appointed attorney allegedly
did an inadequate job representing Mr. Arias-Maldonado.
allegedly were problems at the preliminary hearing on one of
the charges. Mr. Arias-Maldonado's several pro
se motions have been denied without written comment.
Id. at 5.
Arias-Maldonado asks that the lewd-conduct charge be
dismissed because of various problems in that case, such as
the allegedly unlawful field show-up, the constructive
amendment to the charges against him, the unavailability of a
magistrate for a probable cause hearing, denial of adequate
self-representation privileges, withholding of evidence, and
denial of experts needed to aid the defense at trial.
Id. at 9-10.
addition to his “Motion To Safeguard Civil Rights Of
Pretrial Detainee, ” Mr. Arias-Maldonado has filed
other documents that appear to seek federal court
authorization to represent himself in the state court
criminal proceedings and for pro per privileges at the jail
to make that self-representation more effective. See
Docket Nos. 8, 9, 10, 12. He also filed a motion to stay
which is difficult to understand; for example, the document
alleges that the federal court document entitled “stay
injunctive relief, ” the purpose of which is unclear,
but apparently seeks a stay of the state court criminal case.
Docket No. 13. The document also alleges that his
“pro se rights and privileges were terminated
by a superior court clerk's order, ” id.
at 2, which suggests he was not allowed to proceed pro
per in his state court criminal proceedings.
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of 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 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
Id. at § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must
be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
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