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11/22/94 HOMER E. HANRAHAN v. JAMES K. WILLIAMS

November 22, 1994

HOMER E. HANRAHAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES K. WILLIAMS, JOSEPH T. DAKIN, JOANNE S. SHEA, JOSEPH J. LONGO, RAFAEL NIEVES, WILLIAM HARRIS, BARBARA HUBBARD, TOMMY WELLS, HERBERT D. BROWN, CORRINE FRANKLIN, ANNE E. TAYLOR, WILLIAM REDMOND, AND THE ILLINOIS PRISONER REVIEW BOARD, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lee County. No. 92-MR-20. Honorable Thomas E. Hornsby, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication December 29, 1994.

Woodward, Quetsch, PECCARELLI

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Woodward

JUSTICE WOODWARD, delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff, Homer Hanrahan, filed a second amended complaint seeking review of a decision of the defendants, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (the Board) and its individual members, denying plaintiff parole. Count I of the second amended complaint sought an order of mandamus; count II sought administrative review of the Board's February 1992 decision denying plaintiff parole via a writ of certiorari; and count III also sought administrative review of the Board's June 1993 decision denying plaintiff parole via a writ of certiorari.

The Board filed a motion to dismiss count III. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss count III of the second amended complaint. The trial court made a specific finding pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 304(a) that there was no just reason for delaying appeal or enforcement of the order. 137 Ill. 2d R. 304(a).

The sole issue on appeal is whether the writ of certiorari will lie to enable administrative review of parole decisions of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The Administrative Review Act (735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq. (West 1992)) governs judicial review of a final decision of an administrative agency. (735 ILCS 5/3-102 (West 1992).) The Administrative Review Act is applicable only where it is expressly adopted by the act creating or conferring power on the agency involved. ( Smith v. Department of Public Aid (1977), 67 Ill. 2d 529, 540, 10 Ill. Dec. 520, 367 N.E.2d 1286.) Where the statute creating or conferring power on an administrative agency does not contain an express reference to the Administrative Review Act and provides for no other form of review, then common-law certiorari is a general method for reviewing the action of agencies and tribunals exercising administrative functions. ( Smith, 67 Ill. 2d at 541.) It is not disputed that the Administrative Review Act is not applicable to review the decisions of the Board.

The common-law writ of certiorari was developed to provide a means whereby a petitioner who was without avenue of appeal or direct review could obtain limited review over action by a court or other tribunal exercising quasi-judicial functions. ( Stratton v. Wenona Community District No. 1 (1990), 133 Ill. 2d 413, 427, 141 Ill. Dec. 453, 551 N.E.2d 640.) The purpose of the writ was, and is, to have the entire record of the inferior tribunal brought before the court to determine, from the record alone, whether that body proceeded according to the applicable law. ( Stratton, 133 Ill. 2d at 427.) Where a final administrative decision has been rendered and the circuit court may grant relief which a party seeks within the context of reviewing that decision, the circuit court has no authority to entertain independent actions regarding the actions of an administrative agency. 133 Ill. 2d at 427-28.

There is no absolute right to review by certiorari; the issuance of the writ is within the discretion of the court. The purpose of the writ is to prevent inJustice. The writ should not issue where it would operate inequitably, unjustly, or in the absence of substantial injury or inJustice to the petitioner. The writ will not issue where another adequate remedy is available. Stratton, 133 Ill. 2d at 428.

Count III of plaintiff's second amended complaint alleged, inter alia, that the Board's decision denying him parole was "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, contrary to law and against the manifest weight of the evidence." In his prayer for relief, plaintiff requested that the decision of the Board be reversed.

The issue presented in this case is one of first impression. Whether common-law certiorari is available to a prisoner denied parole is a subject that has not attracted the attention of legal scholars, practicing lawyers, or Illinois Judges. United States ex rel. O'Connor v. MacDonald (N.D. Ill. 1978), 449 F. Supp. 291.

The Board argues that a writ of mandamus is the appropriate means for reviewing its decision to deny parole to the plaintiff. Mandamus relief is an extraordinary remedy used to direct a public official or body to perform a duty which the plaintiff has a clear right to have performed and which is ministerial, i.e., a duty which does not involve the exercise of judgment or discretion. ( Crump v. Illinois Prisoner Review Board (1989), 181 Ill. App. 3d 58, 60, 129 Ill. Dec. 825, 536 N.E.2d 875.) Mandamus cannot be used to direct a public official or body to reach a particular decision or to exercise its discretion in a particular manner, even if the judgment or discretion has been erroneously exercised. ( Crump, 181 Ill. App. 3d at 60.) A decision to deny parole is a discretionary one and normally not a proper subject for mandamus relief. 181 Ill. App. 3d at 61.

In the instant case, plaintiff requested that the Board reverse its decision denying him parole. Therefore, mandamus would not afford ...


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