Case No. 20-cv-08231-JD
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or 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. Id. at 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).
Federal 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." Although a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . 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. The United States Supreme Court has explained the "plausible on its face" standard of Twombly: "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Plaintiff seeks to overturn his conviction and to obtain money damages. "'Federal law opens two main avenues to relief on complaints related to imprisonment: a petition for habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and a complaint under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Rev. Stat. § 1979, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Challenges to the lawfulness of confinement or to particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus.'" Hill v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 573, 579 (2006) (quoting Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004)). "An inmate's challenge to the circumstances of his confinement, however, may be brought under § 1983." Id.
Habeas is the "exclusive remedy" for the prisoner who seeks "'immediate or speedier release'" from confinement. Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 533-34 (2011) (quoting Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 82 (2005)); see Calderon v. Ashmus, 523 U.S. 740, 747 (1998); Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). "Where the prisoner's claim would not 'necessarily spell speedier release,' however, suit may be brought under § 1983.'" Skinner, 562 U.S. at 533-34 (quoting Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 82). In fact, a § 1983 action is the exclusive remedy for claims by state prisoners that do not "lie at the 'core of habeas corpus.'" Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d 922, 931 (9th Cir. 2016) (en banc) (quoting Preiser, 411 U.S. at 487). A claim that meets the statutory criteria of § 1983 may be asserted unless it is within the core of habeas corpus because "its success would release the claimant from confinement or shorten its duration." Thornton v. Brown, 757 F.3d 834, 841 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Preiser, 411 U.S. at 500).
Plaintiff identifies various errors from his 2002 conviction that he states should lead to his release from prison and he seeks money damages as a result. Plaintiff was convicted in San Bernardino County which is in the Central District of California. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Eastern District of California. To the extent plaintiff seeks to challenge his conviction, he must file a habeas petition in the Central District. Plaintiff may only obtain money damages once his conviction has been overturned or expunged. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994). To the extent plaintiff seeks to file a civil rights complaint regarding the conditions of his confinement, he must seek relief in the Eastern District where he is currently incarcerated. Because no amount of amendment would cure the deficiencies noted above, plaintiff will not be provided leave to amend. He may file a new action in a different district.
The complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff may seek relief in a different district based on the type of case he wishes to file. The Clerk is requested to close this action.
IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 22, 2021
United States District Judge