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Mousa v. Trump Administration

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 15, 2019

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, et al., Defendants.


         Mohamed Saladdin Mousa (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner, 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 on September 25, 2019. (ECF No. 1.) On October 3, 2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and findings and recommendations issued recommending dismissing the complaint as duplicative of an action filed in the Northern District of California. (ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff filed objections to the findings and recommendations and based on those objections, the Court vacated the October 3, 2019 findings and recommendations. (ECF Nos. 9, 11.) The Court now screens Plaintiff's complaint.


         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.


         Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and is currently housed at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi. Generally, Plaintiff contends that the Trump administration has failed to honor asylees and refugees who are here in the United States by commanding Immigration and Custom Enforcement (“ICE”)[1] to place a hold on them when they get into trouble. Plaintiff contends that he came here legally and was granted asylum under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Trump administration is trying to have him deported so that he can be executed by the government that he sought to get away from. Plaintiff states that most refugees, including himself, no longer have citizenship in other countries since they were driven out and their citizenship has been revoked. Plaintiff states that it will be difficult to deport most refugees because there is no country that will issue travel documents to someone who is no longer a citizen.

         Plaintiff alleges that even thinking about taking away the status of someone who has been granted asylum is a violation of the U.N. convention, a threat to their life, and a waste of federal funds to house and feed them at federal detention centers. Further, the United States will not be able to deport them because no county will take them and ICE will have to release them resulting in more people illegally in the United States. Plaintiff contends that the Trump Administration has failed to comply with the U.N. Convention Against Torture since he is trying to take away the protected status of individuals who have been granted status under the convention and Plaintiff is one of them. Plaintiff contends that ICE tortures the asylee or refugee because whenever an asylee or refugee is jailed for any reason, ICE furiously places a hold or detention on the individual no matter his status or whether or not he is deportable.

         Plaintiff states that the time that the between the immigration hold and the individual seeing an immigration judge can take months or even years. The individual has served his full term of imprisonment since the ICE hold prevents him from getting time reduced or early release or program release.

         Plaintiff has had an ICE hold in place since July of 2019. Plaintiff contends that California Penal Code Sections 1381 and 1389 require that he go to court while concurrently incarcerated and the failure to comply should result in the dismissal of the detainer. Plaintiff filed a grievance and CDCR officials responded that the sections are not applicable to an ICE detainer because it is a federal hold. Plaintiff responded that he wanted them to investigate or to have him placed in ICE custody or dismiss the hold. His grievance has been pending since the end of July 2019. Plaintiff states that depriving him of the protections of sections 1381 and 1389 is causing his time in custody to be torture. Plaintiff states that the CDCR knows that the ICE hold is obvious torture.

         Plaintiff was told by Correctional Counselor Soares in a classification hearing that, because of the ICE hold, he will not be eligible for time reduction at thirty-three percent and his time will remain at fifty percent unlike other inmates. Plaintiff contends that he won his previous deportation cases and in his last case was granted asylum. Plaintiff alleges that the ICE hold violates double jeopardy.

         Egypt revoked Plaintiff's citizenship in 2013. Plaintiff sent a letter to the ICE office in Bakersfield explaining his situation and asking for their cooperation. He asked that they review his statement and his file and dismiss the ICE hold they had placed on him. He has not received a response since June 2019. Plaintiff brings this action against the Trump Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the CDCR, and the Warden of the Sierra Conservation Center seeking for the Court to dismiss the ICE hold.


         A. Section 1983

         Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of a plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff is required to show that (1) each defendant acted under color of state law and (2) each defendant deprived him of rights secured by the Constitution or federal law. Long, 442 F.3d at 1185.

         There is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983, and therefore, each defendant is only liable for his or her own misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677. To state a claim, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones, 297 F.3d at 934.

         Plaintiff brings this action against the Warden at the Sierra Conservation Center; however, the complaint is devoid of any factually allegations to demonstrate that the warden participated in any conduct that would violate Plaintiff's federal rights.

         Further, under Section 1983, supervisory officials are not liable for actions of subordinates on any theory of vicarious liability.” Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977 (9th Cir. 2013) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). “A supervisor may be liable only if (1) he or she is personally involved in the constitutional deprivation, or (2) there is ‘a sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation.'” Crowley, 734 F.3d at 977 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the Warden at the Sierra Conservation Center.

         B. Plaintiff has Failed to State a Claim Against the State Defendants

         1. Immunity Under the Eleventh Amendment

         “The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities[, ]” Aholelei v. Dept. of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007), “regardless of the relief sought, unless the state unequivocally consents to a waiver of its immunity, ” Yakama Indian Nation v. State of Washington, 176 F.3d 1241, 1245 (9th Cir. 1999); see also Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 1122 (1996).

         “[A] suit against state officials that is in fact a suit against a State is barred regardless of whether it seeks damages or injunctive relief.” Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 102 (1984). “The general rule is that a suit is against the sovereign if ‘the judgment sought would expend itself on the public treasury or domain, or interfere with the public administration,' or if the effect of the judgment would be ‘to restrain the Government from acting, or to compel it to act.' ” Pennhurst State School Hosp., 465 U.S. at 102 n.11 (quoting Dugan v. Rank, 372 U.S. 609, 620 (1963)). Eleventh Amendment immunity has not been abrogated with respect to claims brought under section 1983. Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341-42 (1979); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781-82 (1978).

         As a department of the State of California, CDCR is entitled to immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, and Plaintiff cannot bring this action against the CDCR. Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the State defendants. However, at this time, the Court cannot find that there are no facts that could be alleged that would enable Plaintiff to state a claim in this action. Therefore, the Court provides Plaintiff with the following legal standards that appear to apply to his claims.

         2. Due Process Under the Fourteenth Amendment

         Plaintiff alleges that he filed an inmate appeal regarding his demands that he be taken to court pursuant to section 1381 and 1389 of the California Penal Code and he received a response that these sections do not apply to ICE detainers. He requested that CDCR investigate for him and help him to either be placed into ICE custody or dismiss the hold. Additionally, Plaintiff states that he has been informed that due to the ICE hold he is not entitled to time reduction credits at 33 percent and his custody credits remain at 50 percent. The Court construes these claims as alleging violations of due process.

         “The Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause protects persons against deprivations of life, liberty, or property; and those who seek to invoke its procedural protection must establish that one of these interests is at stake.” Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005). The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects two distinct but related ...

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