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Bikle v. Davies

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 9, 2017

PHILIP BIKLE, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER CLARENCE W. DAVIES III, in his individual capacity Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT; ORDER DENYING AS MOOT APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          Susan Oki Mollway, United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         On August 3, 2015, Plaintiff Philip Bikle filed the Complaint in this matter as well as an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“IFP Application”). See ECF Nos. 1 and 3. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), this court has screened the Complaint and determined that it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Accordingly, the court dismisses the Complaint and denies the IFP Application as moot.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

         On or about November 11, 2016, Bikle was stopped by Officer Clarence W. Davies III while driving on Route 11 on the Big Island of Hawaii. Bikle says he was stopped because he had no official Hawaii license plate on the back of his car. See ECF No. 1 ¶ 6, PageID # 2. Bikle admits that, instead of having a Hawaii license plate, “There were plates on the front and back . . . with the name, ‘WITTMEIER' on it.” Id. The “plate” “looked like a car dealership placard.” Id. ¶ 16, PageID # 4. Bikle was not free to go on his way after he was stopped by Davies. Id. ¶ 21, PageID # 5.

         Bikle explained to Davies that he had brought his vehicle to Hawaii from California, where Bikle claimed the vehicle was exempt from registration requirements. Id. ¶¶ 6-7, PageID # 2-3.

         Bikle says that Davies went to his police vehicle for about 7 minutes. When Davies returned, Davies allegedly asked Bikle whether Bikle was willing to give Davies some identification. Bikle turned over his passport, but no driver's license. Davies wrote down Bikle's vehicle's VIN number and returned to the police vehicle. Id. ¶¶ 8-9, PageID # 3.

         Davies eventually returned to Bikle and gave him citations for the following traffic violations: no license plate; deliquent vehicle tax; no certificate of inspection; and registration not in vehicle. Id. ¶ 10, PageID # 3. According to Bikle, the entire traffic stop lasted approximately 30 minutes. Id. ¶ 36, PageID # 8.

         Bikle's Complaint asserts unreasonable seizure claims arising under the United States and Hawaii constitutions. See ECF No. 1.

         III. STANDARD.

         To proceed in forma pauperis, Bikle must demonstrate that he is unable to prepay the court fees, and that he sufficiently pleads claims. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000). The court therefore screens his Complaint to see whether it is (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         IV. ANALYSIS.

         Bikle claims that Officer Davies's traffic stop amounted to an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Hawaii Constitution. Bikle argues that the unreasonable seizure prohibition was violated because “[t]here was no probable cause, or articulable suspicion, at the time Davies made a show of authority to stop Plaintiff, ” saying that because “the alleged traffic violation [was] non-criminal, the possibility for any probable cause or reasonable suspicion [was] nil.” ECF No. 1 ¶ 29, PageID # 6. Bikle then contends that Officer Davies lacked probable cause to arrest him, which he equates to a seizure to issue the traffic tickets. Id. ¶¶ 34-39, PageID # 7-8. Bikle does not allege that Davies arrested him but says that he was temporarily seized during the traffic stop.

         Bikle's allegations fail to allege any viable claim based on an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United State Constitution or Article I, Section 7 of the Hawaii ...


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