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TURNER v. COUNTY OF COOK

December 2, 2005.

DEION L. TURNER, Petitioner,
v.
COUNTY OF COOK, et al. Respondents.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARK FILIP, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Deion L. Turner ("Petitioner" or "Turner") has filed what he deems "a petition for a writ of mandamus" alleging a broad conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutional rights. Turner has previously litigated the vast bulk of the issues he presents in this case, and those cases have repeatedly been resolved against him in this courthouse, and apparently in the courts of the State of Illinois as well. This matter was initially before the Court for consideration of Petitioner's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.E. 4.)*fn1 Petitioner now seeks leave to withdraw that motion, and instead requests that the Court permit him to pay the filing fees in installment payments. (D.E. 21.)

For the reasons explained below, the Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), denies Turner's "petition for a writ of mandamus" with prejudice with respect to all of the claims except his access to courts claim, which is dismissed without prejudice. As to that claim, it appears to be baseless under applicable precedent, but there is sufficient ambiguity that the Court will allow Turner a chance to attempt to replead the claim. BACKGROUND*fn2

  Since he was arrested on October 12, 1997, Turner has filed a number of suits in the Illinois state courts and the Northern District of Illinois, alleging a wide-ranging conspiracy to convict and imprison him for violating 720 ILCS 5/11-11, a statutory provision that criminalizes sexual relations within families. After serving approximately five years of his sentence, Turner was placed on mandatory supervised release; he resided in a half-way house for sex offenders and was subject to electronic monitoring for an undetermined period of time. (D.E. 1 at 9.)

  When Turner was ultimately released from state custody, he was informed by agents of the Chicago Police Department that he was subject to the requirements of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act ("Illinois Registration Act"), 730 ILCS 150/1. (D.E. 1 at 21.) Turner did not comply with the Illinois Registration Act (see, e.g., id.); he maintains that the Illinois Registration Act does not require a person who committed sexual relations within families to register. (Id. at 4-5.) Unfortunately for Turner, the State of Illinois disagrees with his position; he is currently in Cook County Jail in connection with his prosecution for charges of failing to register. (D.E. 21 at 2.) In Illinois, failing to register as a sex offender is a class three felony punishable by one to three years imprisonment. See 730 ILCS 150/3(b); 730 ILCS 150/10.

  Turner deems his current suit as a petition for "Writ of Mandamus Joinder With Complaint of Conspiracy-Fabrication of Evidence-Obstruction of Justice-Denials of Access to the Court-Invidious Discrimination-Cruel and Unusual Punishment-Fraud." (D.E. 1 at 1.) As the title suggests, mandamus is only one component of the suit; a closer examination reveals that the lion's share of the claims Turner presents in this self-styled "mandamus" complaint have already been rejected by several state and federal courts — including a number of district courts in this district. See, e.g., Turner v. Chicago Police Department, et al., No. 98 C 0122 (N.D. Ill.), Order of Aug. 7, 1998 (Zagel, J.); United States ex rel. Turner v. Groesch, No. 99 C 3528 (N.D. Ill.), Order of Dec. 27, 2000 (Castillo, J.); Turner v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 99 C 6379 (N.D. Ill.), Order of Jan. 22, 2001 (Marovich, J.), aff'd by unpublished order (7th Cir. Jun. 26, 2002); Turner v. County of Cook, et al., No. 01 C 0057 (N.D. Ill.), Order of Jan. 30, 2001 (Zagel, J.).

  Turner has placed the "mandamus" label on his complaint in an apparent attempt to obtain another chance to relitigate the validity of his criminal conviction and other issues raised and rejected in his prior suits. To demonstrate the duplicative nature of the present suit, the Court briefly recounts Turner's history of failed litigation relating to his arrest and conviction for sexual relations within families.

  A. Turner's Prior Legal Challenges

  1. The First § 1983 Suit (No. 98 C 0122, Northern District of Illinois)

  On January 7, 1998, Petitioner filed his first federal suit related to this matter. (D.E. 1 in Case No. 98 C 0122.) This action was filed months before his state court trial on a number of related sex-crime charges. The complaint alleged that several Chicago police officers and an assistant state's attorney, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, falsely arrested, tortured, and detained Turner on October 12, 1997, after he was accused of committing a variety of sex offenses against his step-daughter. (Id., D.E. 15 at 1-2; see also No. 01-1435, Record on Appeal to the Seventh Circuit, Vol. 1, Ex. D-1.) The suit also alleged that a number of private parties, including a doctor and a credit union, injured him following his October 12, 1997, arrest. (D.E. 1-2 in Case No. 98 C 0122.) Turner filed motions on February 20, 1998, June 11, 1998, July 24, 1998, August 2, 1998, and August 5, 1998, to amend the complaint to name additional defendants. (Id., D.E. 5, 7, 11, 13.)

  On August 10, 1998, Judge Zagel dismissed the complaint in its entirety pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), terminating the case. (Id., D.E. 15 at 1.) The court found the false arrest/false imprisonment claims were meritless because the officers had probable cause for the arrest, which precluded liability on a Section 1983 claim in that regard. (Id., D.E. 14 at 4.) The court dismissed the claim against the assistant state's attorney on the grounds that prosecutors enjoy absolute immunity from suit under § 1983 for prosecutorial functions. (Id. at 8.) The claims against private parties were dismissed because they were not acting under color of state law; state action is an essential element of a § 1983 claim. (Id.)

  On October 27, 1998, Turner filed another motion for leave to file an amended complaint; attached to the motion was a 130-page handwritten complaint naming 26 defendants and demanding $242 million in damages. (Id., D.E. 23.) The court denied the motion two days later. (Id., D.E. 24.) Notwithstanding that the case had been dismissed, Turner filed several motions over the following months requesting a court-ordered subpoena and a status hearing for his case. (Id., D.E. 25-31.) These motions were dismissed as moot because his case in its entirety had been terminated months earlier. (Id., D.E. 32.) Finally, on August 2, 1999, Turner filed a motion for reconsideration that asked the court to reinstate his case and permit him to file his 130-page amended complaint. (Id., D.E. 33.) The court denied this motion on August 6, 1999. (Id., D.E. 34.) 2. Turner's Federal Habeas Petition (No. 99 C 3528, Northern District of Illinois)

  On May 24, 1999, Turner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.E. 1 in Case No. 99 C 3528.) Turner argued that he was entitled to habeas relief for numerous reasons, several of which are repeated in the instant Petition for "mandamus" relief: (1) Turner's conviction was obtained pursuant to an unlawful arrest; (2) he was not guilty of the offense because he was not actually married to the victim's mother; and (3) his conviction was obtained pursuant to an unconstitutional law. (Id., D.E. 48 at 1-2.) The court dismissed the petition on September 7, 1999, for failure to exhaust available state remedies because Turner had a direct appeal pending in the Illinois courts. (Id., D.E. 20.) His direct appeal in the Illinois courts raised two issues: (1) the trial court erred when it permitted Turner to represent himself without counsel and (2) the State failed to prove that Turner was guilty of sexual relations within families on October 11, 1997 (Count 11 of the indictment). (See No. 01-1435, Record on Appeal to the Seventh Circuit, Vol. 1, Ex. D-1.) Turner's direct appeal did not challenge the evidence supporting his conviction on Count 9 of the indictment — on which he was convicted of sexual relations within families between January 1996 and October 10, 1997. (See id.)

  After the district court dismissed his habeas petition, Turner filed several motions for reconsideration, all of which were denied. (D.E. 25-27, 29-30, 35-36 in Case No. 99 C 3528.) In a minute order issued on December 29, 1999, the court specifically warned Turner that moving to dismiss his state-court appeal "may result in a procedural waiver of his federal habeas rights." (Id., D.E. 29.) In spite of that warning, Turner did not withdraw his motion to dismiss his appeal; thus, the Illinois appellate court dismissed Turner's appeal pursuant to his request. (Id., D.E. 48 at 2.) Turner subsequently filed a motion for leave to refile his habeas petition. (Id., D.E. 30.) The district court granted the motion on July 13, 2000, and it ordered the State to determine whether Turner's voluntary dismissal of his direct appeal precluded further federal habeas review. (Id., D.E. 34.) In the interim, Turner filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief that was rejected. (Id., D.E. 40, 41, 45.) On December 27, 2000, Turner's habeas petition was dismissed because he had not exhausted available state remedies, and because Illinois would no longer permit him to raise those claims, his claims therefore were also procedurally defaulted. (Id., D.E. 48 (Mem. Op. and Order entered Dec. 27, 2000).) Turner requested a certificate of appealability; the court denied that request. (Id., D.E. 49-53.) Finally, Turner appealed the denial of the dismissal of his complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief; the Seventh Circuit denied this appeal on March 27, 2001. (Id., D.E. 58.)

  3. The Second § 1983 Suit (No. 99 C 6379, Northern District of Illinois)

  On September 27, 1999, Turner filed another § 1983 suit that made many of the same allegations advanced in his first § 1983 suit. (D.E. 1 in Case No. 99 C 6379.) After the court denied Turner's motion for leave to file in forma pauperis, the case was eventually dismissed without prejudice on January 27, 2000. (Id., D.E. 7.) On July 21, 2000, Turner filed an additional complaint and other requests, which the court denied as moot because the case had been dismissed. (Id., D.E. 9, 10.) On August 25, 2000, Turner filed a notice of appeal, and on September 11, 2000, he filed a motion for relief from judgment. (Id., D.E. 12, 16.) The motion for relief from judgment argued that Turner had not received the court's orders between October 12, 1999 and January 27, 2000. (Id., D.E. 16.) The district court accepted this representation as true, and evaluated the suit on the merits.

  Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B), the court dismissed the suit as frivolous and malicious because it was an attempt to relitigate previously dismissed claims. (Id., D.E. 17.) The district court determined that Turner could not raise claims that were, or could have been, raised in the first suit. (Id.) Three months later, Turner moved for reconsideration pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b); the court denied the motion. (Id., D.E. 38-39.) Turner filed a notice of appeal that was only timely with respect to the denial of his Rule 60(b) motion. Turner v. City of Chicago, 39 Fed. Appx. 428 (7th Cir. 2002) (unpublished). The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Id.

  4. The 2001 Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief (No. 01 C 0057, Northern District of Illinois)

  On January 3, 2001, Turner filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to enjoin various state and municipal defendants from (1) enforcing 720 ILCS 5/11-11(a)(2)(iii), which prohibits sexual relations within families and (2) preventing Turner from attending divorce court proceedings. (D.E. 1 in Case No. 01 C 0057.) Turner argued that an Illinois appellate court had determined that 720 ILCS 5/11-11 was unconstitutionally vague. (Id. at 2 (citing People v. Williams, 515 N.E.2d 388 (Ill.App.Ct. 1987).) He also claimed that the state's refusal to allow him to attend divorce court proceedings violated his rights to due process, equal protection, and right to access to the courts. (Id. at 3-4.)

  On January 30, 2001, this complaint was dismissed as frivolous and, because it was his "third strike" under § 1915(g), the court barred Turner from filing further suits or appeals (other than writs of habeas corpus) in federal courts while incarcerated without full prepayment of the filing fee, unless he was in imminent danger of serious physical injury. (Id., D.E. 7.) Turner filed a motion to vacate and a motion to file an amended complaint, both of which were denied by the court. (Id., D.E. 15.) Turner filed a notice of appeal, but the Seventh Circuit dismissed this appeal when he failed to file an opening brief, instead filing a request to file an amended complaint in the district court. (Id., D.E. 24.)

  On January 31, 2002, Turner filed a motion for mandamus. (Id., D.E. 20.) The court denied this motion again on the grounds that he was barred by § 1915(g) from filing any further suits while in ...


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