United States District Court, D. Hawaii
LEONARDO R. CHAVEZ, #A6068476, Plaintiff,
PAUL B.K. WONG, THALIA MURPHY, JOHN SCHUM, and MEGAN K. KAU, Defendants.
Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge
the court is Plaintiff Leonardo R. Chavez's prisoner
civil rights complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. ECF No. 1. Chavez alleges that the Honorable Paul B.K.
Wong, Judge of the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii
(“circuit court”), Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
(“DPA”) Thalia Murphy, and Chavez's criminal
defense attorneys John Schum, Esq., and Megan K. Kau, Esq.,
(collectively, “Defendants”), violated his
constitutional rights during pending criminal proceedings in
the state circuit court. Chavez seeks dismissal of his criminal
proceedings with prejudice, or in the alternative,
“remand” of these criminal proceedings to the
District of Hawaii for jury trial and consolidation with his
pending civil action, Chavez v. United States, No.
1:16-cv-00685 HG-KJM (D. Haw. 2016).
Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to the
doctrine set forth in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971). Because amendment is futile, this dismissal is
without leave to amend.
sets forth four causes of action. In Count I, Chavez alleges
that Judge Wong violated the First and Sixth Amendments and
the Hawaii constitution by denying his motion to subpoena his
“military Chain of Command” at a pretrial hearing
held in the circuit court on July 21, 2017. Chavez alleges
Schum and Kau violated his rights by refusing to pursue this
motion. See Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID # (Count I).
Count II, Chavez alleges Judge Wong violated his rights under
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and the Hawaii
constitution by making a “misleading and false
statement during pretrial hearings . . . and denying [him]
equal protection of the LAW.” Id., PageID #9.
Chavez alleges that Judge Wong, DPA Murphy, Schum, and Kau
violated his rights by their intent to allow Chavez's
expert witness, Dr. Marvin Acklin, to testify at trial on
Chavez's behalf, despite their knowledge that DPA Murphy
is or was involved in the prosecution of Dr. Acklin's
Count III, Chavez alleges “the State of Hawaii”
violated Art. III, § 2, of the United States
Constitution and the Hawaii constitution when Judge Wong
allegedly told him that granting Chavez's request to
terminate counsel might result in Chavez being forced to
proceed without counsel and a delay in the
trial. Id., PageID #11. Chavez alleges
Judge Wong has a personal bias or prejudice against him.
Count IV, Chavez alleges Judge Wong violated Art. VI of the
United States Constitution by “deliberately mishandling
[his] case, allowing false statements to be presented before
the court on the record, and violating [his] civil
rights” under the United States and Hawaii
Constitutions. Id., PageID #13.
court must conduct a pre-answer, sua sponte screening of
prisoners' pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Claims that are frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek damages from
defendants who are immune from suit must be dismissed.
See Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th
Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)); Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en
banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)).
standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a
claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112
(9th Cir. 2012) (discussing dismissal under §
1915(e)(2)); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d
1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (discussing dismissal under §
1915A(a)). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that a complaint
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm,
680 F.3d at 1121.
litigants' pleadings must be liberally construed and all
doubts should be resolved in their favor. Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations
omitted). Leave to amend must be granted if it appears the
plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
If the complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal
without leave to amend is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield
Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir.
courts may not interfere with ongoing state criminal
proceedings absent extraordinary circumstances. Younger
v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45-46 (1971); see also,
Middlesex Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982) (stating
Younger “espouse[d] a strong federal policy
against federal-court interference with pending state
judicial proceedings.”). Abstention under
Younger is required when “(1) a
state-initiated proceeding is ongoing; (2) the proceeding
implicates important state interests; (3) the federal
plaintiff is not barred from litigating federal
constitutional issues in the state proceeding; and (4) the
federal court action would enjoin the proceeding or have the
practical effect of doing so, i.e., would interfere with the
state proceeding in a way that Younger
disapproves.” San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of