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ANTONELLI v. BURNHAM

February 22, 1984

MICHAEL C. ANTONELLI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS BURNHAM, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Michael C. Antonelli ("Antonelli"), an Illinois resident now in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") pro se Complaint for damages and the expunction of certain state records. Antonelli alleges a conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.*fn1 Jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).*fn2

Antonelli has requested leave to file his Complaint without prepayment of the filing fees. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Antonelli's motion is denied without prejudice to his filing an amended complaint limited to the single non-frivolous claim identified in this opinion.

Facts*fn3

In April 1978 Antonelli opened a checking account at the Interstate Bank of Oak Forest, Illinois ("Bank") with a $100 deposit. Shortly thereafter Bank closed the account and sent Antonelli a $100 draft. In the meantime Antonelli had written several checks on the account, including one to Brementowne Drugs, Inc. ("Brementowne") for a $28.62 purchase. Because Bank had closed Antonelli's account, the check bounced.

In July 1978 Thomas Burnham ("Burnham"), head of the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, communicated with Brementowne's owner John Royhl ("Royhl") and had him sign a complaint charging Antonelli with deceptive practice. Summons issued directing Antonelli to appear in court July 5.

On July 4 Antonelli entered a hospital for surgery on his right hand. Although he informed his attorney he could not appear in court on the date designated in the summons, his attorney failed to appear and advise the court of Antonelli's situation. When Antonelli failed to appear the court issued a warrant for his arrest and set bond at $100. Thomas Kelly ("Kelly") of the Tinley Park Police Department arrested Antonelli on the warrant, and a new court date was set for October 4.

Later the same month Judge Frank J. McGarr of this District Court sentenced Antonelli to a four-year term of imprisonment for bank fraud. Then on October 23 Judge McGarr granted the Government's motion to revoke Antonelli's appeal bond. Among the reasons Judge McGarr cited for that action was the record of the bond forfeiture warrant issued for Antonelli's failure to appear in court for the proceedings on the complaint for deceptive practices.

In October 1979 Antonelli petitioned the Circuit Court of Cook County for expunction of the bond forfeiture warrant and the record of his arrest. That court refused to expunge the records, apparently because of Antonelli's prior criminal record. See Ill. Rev.Stat. ch. 38, § 206-5 (1981). Antonelli appealed the decision through the Illinois courts and unsuccessfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari. Antonelli v. Illinois, 454 U.S. 1056, 102 S.Ct. 603, 70 L.Ed.2d 593 (1981). Antonelli then sought federal habeas corpus relief. Judge Hubert Will denied the petition for lack of custody. Antonelli v. Lippman, No. 81 C 6968 (N.D.Ill. Dec. 23, 1981), cert. of probable cause denied, No. 82-1474 (7th Cir. May 18, 1982), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 993, 102 S.Ct. 1621, 71 L.Ed.2d 854 (1982). Antonelli now seeks:

  Declaratory and Injunctive relief and monetary
  damages from all the players in the band of persons
  who have caused a Bond Forfeiture Warrant to be on
  his record.

Claims for Relief

At the outset this Court notes some difficulty in determining the precise grounds underlying Antonelli's claims for relief. Antonelli broadly alleges a conspiracy among numerous defendants and asserts five separate "counts." Those "counts" are for the most part little more than conclusionary statements of constitutional violations. As such they do little to assist this Court (or defendants) in understanding exactly what Antonelli is suing about. Nonetheless Haines v. Kerner requires this Court to overlook the technical deficiencies of the pro se Complaint.*fn4 Read with indulgence, the Complaint appears to raise two claims premised on an alleged conspiracy among defendants:

  1. a conspiracy to place a bond forfeiture warrant on
  Antonelli's record and to ...

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