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Cleveland v. Arizona Department of Safety

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 30, 2013

Christopher Lamar Cleveland, Plaintiff,
v.
Arizona Department of Safety, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Christopher Lamar Cleveland, who is confined in the Pinal County Jail in Florence, Arizona, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] In an order filed on February 7, 2012, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim with leave to amend. (Doc. 17.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint, which the Court also dismissed for failure to state a claim with leave to amend. (Doc. 19, 22.) Plaintiff has filed a Second Amended Complaint, a letter, several motions, notices, and declarations. (Doc. 23-32.) The Court will dismiss the Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, dismiss this action, and deny the motions.

I. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

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) (emphasis added). While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other "more likely explanations" for a defendant's conduct. Id . at 1951.

But as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has instructed, courts must "continue to construe pro se filings liberally." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A "complaint [filed by a pro se prisoner] must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam )).

II. Second Amended Complaint

Plaintiff alleges two counts for deliberate indifference and violation of equal protection. Plaintiff sues California Deputy Public Defender Lynn Meltzer, who represented Plaintiff in California state court in 1993, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Plaintiff seeks injunctive, compensatory, and punitive relief.

Background

In this and other cases, Plaintiff disputes whether he was convicted in 1993 of a sexually-based offense in California and whether he is subject to Arizona's sex offender registration statute, Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 13-3281. Unofficial information from the Administrative Office of the Courts for Los Angeles County, which is available on Westlaw, reflects that a person named "Christopher Lamar Cleveland" was convicted of violating "P 288.A" and "P 288.B" in Los Angeles County Court, case # SA013565, on May 13, 1993.[2] Although Plaintiff has previously challenged whether he was convicted in California, and his sentence, he recently submitted a copy of a document from his 1993 case that he received on August 28, 2013 from Judge Antonio Barreto, Jr., of the California Superior Court. (Doc. 32.) That document reflects that on August 26, 1993, Plaintiff withdrew his plea of not guilty to count one and pleaded nolo contendere to that count, a violation of "§ 288.A", in SA013565. The document further reflects that Plaintiff was remanded to custody with sentencing to be held on November 29, 1993. In another notice, Plaintiff attaches his replica of a letter he received from Judge Barreto, dated September 27, 2013, in which Judge Barreto stated that Plaintiff had been convicted of violating § 288a and was sentenced on November 30, 1993. (Doc. 31.) Barreto stated that the California judgment did not indicate whether Plaintiff was required to register as a sex offender in California when he was sentenced. (Id.)

Between October 31, 1994 and April 23, 2001, Plaintiff was incarcerated in Arizona for an armed robbery conviction. Shortly before his release from the armed robbery conviction, an ADC corrections officer informed Plaintiff that as part of his release conditions, he had to register as a sex offender based upon his California conviction in case SA013565, which was reflected on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.[3] Plaintiff apparently registered and did not challenge the requirement that he do so. Plaintiff was released from ADC custody.

On September 30, 2003, Plaintiff was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court, case#CR2003-037149, to failing to register as a sex offender based upon California case SA013565.[4] On December 18, 2007, Plaintiff was sentenced to three years in prison after he again pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court, case# CR2007-030890, to failing to register as a sex offender with one prior felony based on California case SA013565.[5]

Plaintiff is currently charged in two cases in Pinal County Superior Court. In case# CR201200144, he is charged with one count of failure as a sex offender to file a notice of address or name charge, and in case# CR201202592, he is charged with one count each of failure as a sex offender to file a notice of moving out of the county and failure to register with the sheriff's department.[6] In a minute entry issued December 20, 2012 in CR201200144, the court set a hearing on a state motion to dismiss, which was scheduled to be held on January 8, 2013.[7] Based on the scheduled hearing in that case, the court reset the ...


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