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Stanley v. City of Centreville

March 23, 2009

LESLIE STANLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CENTREVILLE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a former state inmate, brings this action for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides:

Nothwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that -

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or

(B) the action of appeal -(i) is frivolous or malicious;

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(A) and (B). An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was convicted, after a jury trial, of first degree murder and sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment by the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois. See Stanley v. Flagg, No. 00-895-DRH (S.D. Ill.) (Memorandum & Order dated March 28, 2006). Plaintiff sought, but was denied a motion for a new trial by the trial court. Id. Plaintiff's direct appeal was denied by the Illinois Appellate Court. Id. The Illinois Supreme Court thereafter denied Plaintiff leave to appeal the decision of the appellate court on his direct appeal. Id.

After his direct appeal was denied, Plaintiff then initiated state post-conviction proceedings. The Illinois circuit court denied Plaintiff's post-conviction petition. Id. Plaintiff appealed the denial of post-conviction relief which was denied by the Illinois Court of Appeals. Id. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Plaintiff leave to appeal the decision of the appellate court on his post-conviction proceeding. Id.

Plaintiff then filed for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 with this Court. In his § 2254 action, Plaintiff charged that he had been denied effective assistance of trial counsel. After an evidentiary hearing, this Court found that Plaintiff's trial counsel, John Allard, violated Plaintiff's Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel by failing to interview any witnesses in order to prepare an adequate defense. Id. Therefore, on March 28, 2006, this Court granted Plaintiff's petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court directed that Plaintiff be released from custody unless the State of Illinois retried him. On April 24, 2007, the Circuit Court of St. Clair County granted the State's motion to nolle pros the first degree murder charge, see Id. (Respondent's Status Report filed March 17, 2007), and apparently Plaintiff was released from custody.

THE COMPLAINT

Having secured his release from confinement by means of a writ of habeas corpus, Plaintiff now brings claims against the persons and entities involved with his prosecution and conviction. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks relief against (1) Lieutentant Gregory Musgrave for giving false testimony before the grand jury that indicted him and at Plaintiff's trial; (2) the City of Centreville, Illinois (Centreville), for its "implied policy of encouraging [Defendant Musgrave] to give false testimony"; (3) against John Allard, his trial counsel, for providing ineffective assistance; (4) against St. Clair County, Illinois, and the St. Clair County Board for its "implied policy of telling Public Defenders . . . to keep . . . costs down by not requesting funds from the Circuit Court" to conduct an adequate investigation; and (5) against Defendants Musgrave, Allard, Centreville, St. Clair County and St. Clair County Board for conspiring to "falsely imprison, maliciously prosecute, and intentionally inflict severe emotional distress" on Plaintiff.

Additionally, Plaintiff brings claims concerning his confinement in prison. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks relief against (1) Defendants Walker, Flagg, and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for false imprisonment because they "knew or should have known" that Plaintiff was innocent; (2) for denying him adequate clothing during his 14 years of confinement; (3) for denying him adequate food during his 14 years of confinement; (4) for "roaches and rats crawling through his cell" during his 14 years of confinement; and (5) for inadequate bedding during his 14 years of confinement.

Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide Plaintiff's pro se action into eight counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Against Defendant Musgrave for giving false testimony before the grand jury and at Plaintiff's trial in violation of Plaintiff's right to Due Process of law.

COUNT 2: Against Centreville for having a policy that encouraged Defendant Musgrave to give false testimony in violation of Plaintiff's ...


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