IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
May 23, 2008
JAMELL NEWBERN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS/PETITIONERS,
SIX UNKNOWN NAMED AGENTS, DEFENDANTS/RESPONDENTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
On April 16, 2008, this Court received a pro se pleading from Jamell Newbern captioned in various places as a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a petition seeking "reversal and remand," and a motion for hearing. The one-page typewritten pleading is a jumble of phrases and partial sentences referencing writs of mandamus, days in custody, health insurance, searches, seizures, plenary proceedings and treble damages. Attached to it are 23 pages of names, listed in no particular order -- possibly names of inmates who wish to join as plaintiffs in Newbern's action, although none of those persons signed the complaint. The case was numbered (08-cv-0288), randomly assigned to the undersigned Judge, and designated for threshold review.
One month later, the Clerk's Office of this Court received another pleading from Newbern. The May 2008 pleading is nearly identical to the April 2008 filing, with subtle differences. The front of first page looks to be a copy of the April complaint, with a date changed, with Newbern's address (in the upper left corner) changed from 1-B Unit to 1-A Unit, and with a slightly different paragraph on the upper right corner. This portion of the April pleading stated:
MAY PROPOSE TO RECONSIDERATION, COMPLIANCE BY THREE JUDGES COURTS, OR CHIEF JUSTICE, NO ENHANCEMENT SENTENCE, NEGOTIABLE FOR THE SALE AMOUNT IS FIVE MILLIONS DOLLARS WITHIN 30 DAYS ONLY BY JURY ON TODAY WITH RECEIPT, OR PAY DUTIES IN ANOTHER.
By comparison, this portion of the May pleading states:
MAY PROPOSE TO THREE JUDGES COURTS, OR CHIEF JUSTICE, EARLIER RETURN WITHIN THREE DAYS COMPLIANCE, ENFORCEMENT, AGREEMENT, BY JURY OF RECEIPT.
Attached to the front sheet of the May 16, 2008 filing is a 23-page list of names. The May list appears to contain at least two dozen more names than the April list. The undersigned Judge simply cannot identify the purpose of the May 16, 2008 materials. Is the May 2008 pleading an attempt by Newbern to obtain leave to file an amended complaint, substituting the May 2008 pleading in place of the April 2008 pleading in Case No. 08-cv-0288? Do either the April 2008 or the May 2008 materials relate in some way to Newbern's earlier criminal case in this District, Case No. 05-cr-30071, which was handled by the Honorable David R. Herndon, Chief Judge of this Court, and which currently has a pending motion to reduce sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582? These questions are not answerable at this point.
The best the undersigned Judge can glean, the May 2008 materials were intended as some sort of supplement or amendment to Newbern's civil action (Case No. 08-cv-0288). But they were not properly filed as such. If Newbern seeks to amend his complaint (so that the newly-filed pleading takes the place of the older pleading), he must clearly caption or label the pleading as a "First Amended Complaint." The amended complaint should contain a short and plain statement of all claims against the Defendants and must comply with Rule 15.1 of the Local Rules of this United States District Court. Finally, if Newbern seeks the appointment of an attorney (as one line in the May 2008 pleading indicates), that should be done by a separate motion to appoint counsel.
The undersigned Judge DIRECTS THE CLERK'S OFFICE TO RETURN TO NEWBERN the material received on May 16, 2008 with a copy of this Order. (The Clerk's Office shall scan and attach to or docket with this Order the first page and last page of the May 16, 2008 pleading, plus the May 16, 2008 file-stamp on the reverse of the last page.) The Clerk's Office also SHALL PROVIDE to Newbern a copy of Local Rule 15.1 of this Court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge
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