(PC) Jimenez v. Superior Court of California, County of Kings, et al., No. 1:2019cv01780 - Document 15 (E.D. Cal. 2020)
Court Description: FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS to Dismiss Action re 13 Amended Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint, signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 10/15/2020. Referred to Judge Drozd; Objections to F&R due within 21 days. (Rivera, O)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 Case No. 1:19-cv-01780-DAD-SKO (PC) RUDY JIMENEZ, v. SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF KINGS, et al., FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DISMISS ACTION (Doc. 13) 21-DAY DEADLINE Defendants. 16 17 Plaintiff Rudy Jimenez alleges that he is unlawfully incarcerated. (See Doc. 13.) As 18 discussed below, Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the favorable termination rule of Heck v. 19 Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994). When, as here, a plaintiff seeks damages on the grounds 20 that he is unlawfully confined, he may not pursue claims under section 1983 until his “sentence 21 has been declared invalid … or called into question by a … court’s issuance of a writ of habeas 22 corpus.” Heck, 512 U.S. at 487. 23 Given that Plaintiff’s claims are Heck barred, and that Plaintiff received a prior 24 opportunity to amend (see Doc. 8), the Court finds that further amendment would be futile. See 25 Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212-13 (9th Cir. 2012). Accordingly, the Court recommends that 26 this case be dismissed. 27 /// 28 /// 1 I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT 2 The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 3 governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 4 The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the complaint is frivolous or malicious, 5 fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant 6 who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The Court should dismiss a complaint if 7 it lacks a cognizable legal theory or fails to allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal 8 theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 9 II. 10 PLAINTIFF’S ALLEGATIONS Plaintiff’s alleges that he is being unlawfully confined past his release date. (See Doc. 1 at 11 3-5.) Plaintiff has been incarcerated for 24 years. (Id. at 3.) He alleges that he was convicted of 12 and sentenced for vandalism with a “gang enhancement.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that, once he 13 arrived at Wasco State Prison, prison officials had “different paperwork on [him] with different 14 charges,” including sex offenses with a sentence of 30 years to life. (Id.) In September 2019, 15 Plaintiff filed a “petition for vacating of murder conviction and resentencing” in Kings County 16 Superior Court, pursuant to California Penal Code section 1170.95. (See id. at 7.) In its order 17 denying the petition, the Superior Court stated that Plaintiff was convicted of two counts of 18 vandalism and one count of a gang enhancement in Case No. 96CM7648-002; thus, Penal Code 19 1170.95 did not apply to this case. (Id.) Plaintiff states that “the truth was finally revealed to 20 [him] by the judge … the truth of [his] charges.” (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that CDCR is 21 responsible for “changing [his] charges into worse ones.” (Id.) 22 In his first amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, during his arrest and interrogation, 23 police officers denied him due process by failing to present a warrant and read him his Miranda 24 rights. (Doc. 13 at 2, 3.) He alleges that the deputy district attorney assigned to his case 25 committed prosecutorial misconduct by not presenting exculpatory evidence or calling an expert 26 on DNA evidence to testify, and instead relying on hearsay. (Id.) Plaintiff requests that the Court 27 “dismiss and strike the allegation section 1385 for insufficient evidence.” (Id. at 3.) 28 In addition to suing a probation officer, a deputy clerk, the Kings County District 2 1 Attorney’s Office, and a Kings County Superior Court judge, Plaintiff sues a correctional 2 counselor and analyst, presumably at California Correctional Institution, where Plaintiff is 3 currently incarcerated. (Doc. 13 at 1, 2.) The claims against the prison officials are unclear; 4 Plaintiff states the following: “When you put a request of your Privacy Act information to Ms. 5 Baker, she will refer to the counselor, then … the counselor will point finger to the BOP 6 Sacramento main office or the court.” (Id. at 5.) 7 III. “[W]hen a state prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his physical 8 9 DISCUSSION imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to immediate release or 10 a speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus.” 11 Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). Thus, a prisoner may not challenge the fact or 12 duration of his confinement in a section 1983 action. Id. at 489. Additionally, “in order to recover 13 damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, … a [section] 1983 plaintiff 14 must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by 15 executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or 16 called into question by a federal court’s issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.” Heck v. Humphrey, 17 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994). 18 Plaintiff alleges that he is unlawfully incarcerated, and he requests declaratory and 19 injunctive relief and $75 million in damages. (See Doc. 13 at 6-7.) It is unclear whether Plaintiff 20 bases the alleged illegality of his incarceration on (a) improprieties by the district attorney and 21 state court or (b) improprieties by prison officials. (See id. at 2-5; see also Doc. 1 at 3-5.) In either 22 case, Plaintiff’s claims are barred. Plaintiff may not seek release from custody in a section 1983 23 action; he may only seek release in federal court by filing a petition for habeas corpus.1 Preiser, 24 411 U.S. at 500. Additionally, Plaintiff may not seek damages under section 1983 unless his 25 conviction or sentence has been declared invalid by a state court or a federal court’s issuance of a 26 writ of habeas corpus. See Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. 27 28 1 The Court informs Plaintiff that he may not file a petition for habeas corpus in federal court unless and until he has exhausted his remedies in state court. See Heck, 512 U.S. at 480-81; 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). 3 1 IV. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff’s first amended complaint (Doc. 13) fails to state 2 3 a claim on which relief can be granted. Given that Plaintiff’s claims are barred by Heck, and that 4 Plaintiff received a prior opportunity to amend, the Court finds that further amendment would be 5 futile. See Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212-13 (9th Cir. 2012). Accordingly, the Court 6 RECOMMENDS that this action be DISMISSED. 7 These Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United States District 8 Judge assigned to this case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within 21 days 9 of the date of service of these Findings and Recommendations, Plaintiff may file written 10 objections with the Court. The document should be captioned, “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s 11 Findings and Recommendations.” Plaintiff’s failure to file objections within the specified time 12 may result in waiver of his rights on appeal. Wilkerson v. Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834, 839 (9th Cir. 13 2014) (citing Baxter v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 1391, 1394 (9th Cir. 1991)). 14 15 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 15, 2020 /s/ Sheila K. Oberto UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 .