United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
April 25, 2003
UNITED STATES, EX REL., GUADALUPE RODRIGUEZ (IDOC #R20896)
EDWIN R. BOWEN, WARDEN.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Philip G. Reinhard, United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner Guadalupe Rodriguez filed this habeas corpus petition on February 3, 2003, challenging multiple convictions for criminal sexual assault entered on February 14, 2002. It was unclear whether petitioner's direct appeal from his conviction had been reinstated by the Illinois Appellate Court. On March 21, 2003, respondent informed the court that petitioners appeal had been reinstated and is pending. This court accordingly dismissed the petition without prejudice on March 25, 2003, for failure to exhaust state-court remedies. Petitioner has filed a motion seeking a stay of proceedings and injunctive and mandamus relief. The motion is denied.
There is no reason to reinstate the case and stay proceedings, as the one-year federal habeas corpus limitation period will begin to run only after direct review of petitioner's conviction has ended. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (d).
This court cannot compel the Illinois Appellate Court to accept petitioner's pro se brief for three reasons. First, this is a habeas corpus proceeding challenging unlawful confinement, not a civil suit to enforce the federal Constitution against state officials. The purpose of a habeas corpus proceeding is to compel the state to justify its custody of a prisoner when the prisoner claims his custody violates the United States Constitution or federal law. A habeas corpus proceeding may not be used to assert federal or constitutional claims unrelated to the lawfulness of custody.
Second, the Clerk of the Appellate Court is not a party to this action and this court lacks personal jurisdiction over him or her. Third, federal district courts do not have supervisory power over the state courts. Although federal courts can enjoin state officials from depriving persons of their rights under the Constitution, the doctrine of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), prevents federal courts from interfering with ongoing state criminal proceedings except under very extraordinary circumstances.
Petitioner also asks the court to order respondent, Warden Bowen, to give him access to his legal papers and typewriter. Although Warden Bowen is a party, this is a habeas corpus proceeding, and petitioner's access to his papers and typewriter has nothing to do with the lawfulness of his custody. Although the court would have inherent power to restrain persons interfering with petitioner's access to the court in this matter, there will be no further proceedings in this case until petitioner's appeal is completed.
State officials are required by the Constitution to give prisoners a reasonable opportunity to present their claims to state and federal courts. That does not require a typewriter. If petitioner believes that he is being prevented from preparing and filing materials in another court, he should first attempt to bring the matter to the attention of the judge or judges in that case.
If petitioner believes the interference with his access to the courts amounts to a constitutional violation, he may file a separate civil suit in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against those persons responsible. If petitioner chooses to file a federal suit, it should be filed in the federal judicial district where petitioner is incarcerated and petitioner will be required to pay the filing fee in the same manner as in other federal suits brought by prisoners.
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