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Raines v. Jinbo

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 13, 2016

TODD JAMES RAINES, #A0174414, Plaintiff,


          Derrrick R. Watson United States District Judge

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Todd James Raines' first amended prisoner civil rights complaint ("FAC"). Doc. No. 10. Raines alleges Hawaii Department of Public Safety ("DPS") Mainland Branch Unit ("MBU") Contract Monitors Scott Jinbo and Jeanette Baltero, and Saguaro Correctional Center ("SCC") MBU Administrator Shari Kimoto (collectively, "Defendants") violated his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, Article I, Section Five of the Hawaii Constitution, and Hawaii Revised Statutes §§ 92F, 706-669, and 706-770.[1] Raines further alleges state common law claims of negligence and defamation. Raines invokes federal jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         For the following reasons, the FAC and this action are DISMISSED with prejudice for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b).

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         Raines is serving a term of life with parole for Murder, and five years for Forgery in the Second Degree. See State v. Raines, 1PC85-0-000146 (Haw. 1st Cir. 1999), Dkt. No. 173: (last visited July 7, 2016). In 1999, the Hawaii Paroling Authority ("HPA") set Raines' minimum term at forty years. FAC, Doc. No. 10, PageID #126. In 2004, the HPA reduced that minimum term to thirty-five years. Id. On or about May 23, 2016, after Raines commenced this action, the HPA reduced his minimum term to thirty years. Id.

         Raines claims that on or about September 25, 2014, SCC Assistant Warden Griego charged him with violating SCC policies: "C-9 Failure To Follow/C-12 Hindering, " and transferred him to a segregated housing unit. Id., PageID #124. SCC officials notified Defendants of Raines' charges on or about September 26, 2014. On September 30, 2014, Raines was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to sixty days in disciplinary segregation.

         On or about October 1, 2014, Defendants Jinbo and Baltero reviewed Raines' new charges, allegedly converted them to non-equivalent DPS misconduct violations, and Dated this information into Raines' prison file. Raines alleges Jinbo and Baltero had no authority to edit his institutional file.

         Raines asserts this change in his institutional file affected his consideration for parole and delayed his ability to participate in programs required for parole consideration, such as the DPS work-furlough program. Raines does not explain Defendant Kimoto's actions or involvement in any of his claims, although he broadly alleges that "Defendants" violated his rights in each of his claims.


         The court must screen all prisoner civil actions seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Complaints or claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek relief from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1). The court must set conclusory factual allegations aside, accept non-conclusory factual allegations as true, and determine whether these allegations state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-80 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility does not mean "probability, " but it requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 678.

         To state a claim, a pleading 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). A complaint that lacks a cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory fails to state a claim. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         Leave to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the complaint's defects. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). A court has the discretion to dismiss a complaint without leave to amend, however, when "it is clear that the complaint could not be saved by any amendment." Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).


         "To sustain an action under section 1983, a plaintiff must show ‘(1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a federal constitutional or statutory right.'" Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 987 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), vacated and remanded on other grounds, ...

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