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Moraga v. Wolfson

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 18, 2017

ROY D. MORAGA, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVE WOLFSON, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES C. MAHAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the court is Magistrate Judge Ferenbach's report and recommendation (“R&R”). (ECF No. 3). Pro se plaintiff Roy Moraga filed an objection to the R&R. (ECF No. 6).

         I. Facts

         Plaintiff initiated this matter by filing an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, attaching his civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1). Magistrate Judge Ferenbach granted plaintiff's application and screened the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). (ECF No. 3).

         Plaintiff is currently housed at Ely State Prison in Nevada. (ECF No. 4). At the conclusion of his criminal trial in state court, a jury convicted plaintiff of two counts of sexual assault and two counts of burglary, sentencing him to life without parole. (ECF No. 4).

         Plaintiff asserts that new genetic marker analysis technology will show that he is innocent of the sexual assault crimes for which plaintiff was convicted and sentenced. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff filed a petition for retesting of the physical evidence used to convict him based on NRS 176.0918. (ECF No. 4). Pursuant to NRS 34.726, however, plaintiff's petition was denied as untimely. (ECF Nos. 3, 4).

         After exhausting his state and federal habeas petitions, plaintiff filed the underlying complaint alleging that the Nevada state court violated his 14th Amendment procedural due process rights by dismissing his petition for genetic marker analysis as untimely under NRS 34.726. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, ordering defendant Steve Wolfson-as the district attorney whose office prosecuted plaintiff and has custody of the DNA evidence-to test the DNA. (ECF No. 4 at 9).

         In screening plaintiff's complaint, Magistrate Judge Ferenbach found that plaintiff properly brought his § 1983 action and may maintain the action. (ECF No. 3). However, the magistrate also found that plaintiff failed to state a plausible claim that his procedural due process rights were violated. (ECF No. 3). Specifically, the magistrate found that plaintiff failed to show how Nevada's application of its habeas corpus time limitations to his request for postconviction genetic marker analysis is “fundamentally inadequate to vindicate his substantive rights” as required by Dist. Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne, 557 U.S. 52, 71 (2009). (ECF No. 3 at 8). Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Ferenbach recommends that plaintiff's complaint be dismissed with leave to amend. (ECF No. 3).

         Plaintiff objects to the R&R arguing, inter alia, that the magistrate erred in finding that he failed to state a due process claim. (ECF No. 6). The court will address each in turn.

         II. Legal Standard

         A party may file specific written objections to the findings and recommendations of a United States magistrate judge made pursuant to Local Rule IB 1-4. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); LR IB 3-2. Where a party timely objects to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the [report and recommendation] to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id.

         Pursuant to Local Rule IB 3-2(a), a party may object to the report and recommendation of a magistrate judge within fourteen (14) days from the date of service of the findings and recommendations. Similarly, Local Rule 7-2 provides that a party must file an opposition to a motion within fourteen (14) days after service of the motion.

         III. Discussion

         As an initial matter, the court acknowledges that plaintiff's complaint and objection were filed pro se and are therefore held to less stringent standards. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). However, “pro se litigants in an ordinary civil ...


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