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Johnson v. Peoples

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


February 25, 2010

MARK H. JOHNSON #A72077, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PEOPLES OF THE STATE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Mark Johnson ("Johnson") has submitted a self-prepared Complaint*fn1 in which he seeks to sue Assistant Public Defender William Woelkers ("Woelkers") under 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983").*fn2 Although Johnson has submitted only an original of the Complaint and has neither paid a filing fee nor asked to be granted in forma pauperis status, this Court will not pause to deal with those deficiencies because the Complaint is fatally flawed in any event.

It has been settled for nearly three decades that public defenders such as Woelkers do not act under color of state law when they act as counsel to a defendant in a criminal proceeding (Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312 (1981)). That being the case, no claim can be asserted against Woelkers under Section 1983--and with no other basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction being available to Johnson, both the Complaint and this action are dismissed with prejudice (because of the absence of federal subject matter jurisdiction, no substantive comment is appropriate as to whether Johnson may or may not have some possible remedy against Woelkers in a state court of competent jurisdiction).


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