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Crowley v. Apache Junction Police Chief

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 11, 2014

Robert Jay Crowley, Plaintiff,
v.
Apache Junction Police Chief, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEVEN P. LOGAN, District Judge.

On January 28, 2014, Plaintiff Robert Jay Crowley, who was confined in the Pinal County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a January 31, 2014 Order, the Court denied the deficient Application to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to either pay the filing and administrative fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On February 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed a new Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In an April 21, 2014 Order, the Court denied the deficient Application to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to either pay the filing and administrative fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On May 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed another Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On June 2, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address, indicating that he was no longer in custody. In a June 6, 2014 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and required Plaintiff to either pay the filing fee or show good cause why he cannot pay. On July 3, 2014, Plaintiff paid the filing fee.

The Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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 679. 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 681.

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 )).

If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) ( en banc ). Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but because it may possibly be amended to state a claim, the Court will dismiss it with leave to amend.

II. Complaint

In his eight-count Complaint, Plaintiff sues Apache Junction Police Detectives Jason Riggs #222 and Chacom #145, the Apache Junction Police Chief, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Plaintiff seeks damages.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated and alleges the following facts: On or about June 6, 2013, around 1:30 p.m., Defendants Riggs and Chacom stopped Plaintiff in his 1966 Chevy Truck, Arizona license plate number HVRT67, and arrested Plaintiff for dangerous drug sales. A search warrant to search Plaintiff's 2002 Chevy Truck, Arizona license plate numberAJX9166, was reportedly executed at 3:15 p.m., although there is no time stamp on the face of that search warrant, and search warrant number SW-2013-0016 "has failed to be public information." Plaintiff contends there was no probable cause.

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated on or about June 6, 2013 by an "illegal unvalid execution of a search warrant." As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he lost his home and all the property inside due to a burglary. Property was "unsecured by AJPD Detectives & officers. Warrant not properly served (executed). Property not named in search warrant."

In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated on or about June 6, 2013 when he lost his "business & livel[i]hood; not named in search warrant by Apache Junction Police Department."

In Count Four, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated on or about June 6, 2013 when he lost his 1966 Chevy truck with Arizona license plate number HVRT67 "not named in search warrant due to theft & unsecured by AJPD."

In Count Five, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated on or about June 6, 2013 when he lost his 2002 Harley Davidson Night Train "not named in search warrant due to theft unsecured by AJPD."

In Count Six, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated on or about June 6, 2013 when he lost his 1991 International Harvester Hydrotilt Truck "not named ...


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