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Trevino v. Department of Social Health Service

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

December 12, 2017

FRANCIS ANTHONY TREVINO, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL HEALTH SERVICE, SPOKANE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT and SUPREME COURT OF WASHINGTON STATE, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

          SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         BEFORE THE COURT is Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 18. Plaintiff, a prisoner currently housed at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, is proceeding pro se. He initiated this action while incarcerated at the Spokane County Jail and has paid the full $400.00 fee.

         Subject to exceptions not relevant here, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint and renders the original complaint without legal effect. Lacey v. Maricopa County, 693 F.3d 896, 927-28 (9th Cir. 2012). Furthermore, Defendants not named in an amended complaint are no longer defendants in the action. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). Therefore, the following Defendants have been terminated from this action: Bob Ferguson, Judge Triplet, American Corrections Corporation and Department of Corrections.

         Plaintiff brings the First Amended Complaint against the Department of Social and Health Services, Spokane County Superior Court, and the Supreme Court of Washington State. He complains that between November 14, 2016, and December 25, 2016, his First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances, as well as his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to a speedy trial, were violated in Spokane County.

         Plaintiff states he was arrested on August 6, 2016, and then arraigned on August 16, 2016. He claims he had been a “ward” of Spokane County and had been on an “ankle monitor” since December 1996. He contends that when was placed at the Eastern State Hospital in the custody of the Department of Health Services for a competency evaluation on November 16, 2016, the “90-day statute of limitations” had already run.

         Plaintiff asserts that on December 21, 2016, he read an article indicating the Department of Social Services, among others, was being held in contempt in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, with fines in excess of $30 million. He claims that he then began petitioning county governments and courts, to develop a “case of misconduct.” Plaintiff seeks $90 million for “fraud, ” claiming his right to a speedy trial and his rights against double jeopardy were violated. In addition, Plaintiff seeks to have his criminal record expunged in its entirety.

         DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

         As previously advised, “neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacity are ‘persons' under § 1983.” Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Likewise, “arms of the State” such as the Department of Social and Health Services are not “persons” amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id., at 70. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim for monetary damages against the Department of Social and Health Services is dismissed.

         COURT DEFENDANTS

         Plaintiff states no claim against the Spokane County Superior Court or the Supreme Court of Washington State upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff has presented no facts from which the Court could infer these entities are “persons” amenable to suit for damages under § 1983.

         To the extent Plaintiff is complaining that a Spokane County Superior Court Judge referred him to a state hospital for a competency evaluation, even after his speedy trial time had allegedly run, such a claim would be precluded by absolute judicial immunity. Judges are absolutely immune for all judicial acts performed within their subject matter jurisdiction when the plaintiff is seeking damages for a civil rights violation. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978); Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 1986). An act is a “judicial” one when it is a function normally performed by a judge and the parties dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 362; Crooks v. Maynard, 913 F.2d 699, 700 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Absolute immunity exists even when there are charges that the judge acted maliciously; it exists “however erroneous the act may have been, and however injurious in its consequences it may have proved to the plaintiff.” Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. 335, 347 (1871); see also Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967) (a judge should not have to “fear that unsatisfied litigants may hound him with litigation charging malice or corruption.”). While errors in the complex calculations of speedy trial times may sometimes occur, Plaintiff has alleged no facts indicating a judge presiding over his state criminal proceedings acted in the “clear absence of all jurisdiction, ” when ordering a competency evaluation. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 357. Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         SPEEDY TRIAL AND DOUBLE JEOPARDY CHALLENGES

         Plaintiff contends that his right to a speedy trial and his right against being placed ...


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