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Ah Puck v. Jones

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 14, 2019

HARDY K. AH PUCK, Plaintiff,
v.
TRACY JONES, MAUI POLICE DEP'T, JUDGE CORDOZA, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING ACTION AND DENYING ALL PENDING MOTIONS

          Helen Gillmor United States District Judge

         Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Hardy K. Ah Puck's civil rights Complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP), and request for appointment of counsel. ECF Nos. 1-3. Plaintiff is a recently released prisoner[1] who seeks damages for his allegedly unconstitutional conviction in the Hawaii Circuit Court of the Second Circuit in State v. Ah Puck, 2CPC-17-0000884 (Haw. 2d Cir. 2017) .[2] See Compl., ECF No. 1, PagelD #2.

         Plaintiff alleges that unidentified Maui County Police Officers entrapped him during his arrest, Maui County Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones engaged in prosecutorial misconduct during his trial, and Hawaii Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cordoza violated his constitutional rights by failing to declare a mistrial in 2CPC-17-0000884. Plaintiff seeks damages.

         For the following reasons, this action is DISMISSED without prejudice, but without leave granted to amend, and all pending motions are DENIED.

         I. SCREENING

         The court is required to screen Plaintiff's claims against government officials pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, 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 § 1915A(b)). Section 1915 screening involves the same standard of review as that under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012). That is, a complaint must "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; Simmons v. Navajo Cty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009) .

         Pro se 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). The court must grant leave to amend 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 a claim or complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal with prejudice is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Tr. v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013) .

         II. DISCUSSION

         In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), a state prisoner sought damages based on the allegedly unlawful conduct of the officials he held responsible for his conviction. The Supreme Court held that:

to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.

512 U.S. at 486-87. A "district court must consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated." Id. at 487.

         Plaintiff's convictions in 2CPC-17-0000884 and 2CPC-18-000077 have not been reversed, expunged, or otherwise called into question. They are currently proceeding on appeal with the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Because Plaintiff's claims that Defendants acted illegally during his arrest and trial, if successful, would call these convictions into question, these claims are barred by Heck and are DISMISSED without prejudice. See Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa, 49 F.3d 583, 585 (9th Cir. 1995) (en banc).

         III. CONCLUSION

         (1) The Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice as barred by the Heck v. ...


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