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Johnson v. Winters

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


September 13, 2010

TAVISH JOHNSON (#M-05491)
v.
RAVIEL WINTERS, ET AL.

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge REBECCA R. PALLMEYER than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#3] is granted. The court orders the trust fund officer at Plaintiff's place of incarceration to deduct $5.83 from Plaintiff's account for payment to the Clerk of Court as an initial partial filing fee, and to continue making monthly deductions in accordance with this order. The Clerk shall send a copy of this order to the trust fund officer at the Pontiac Correctional Center. The Clerk is directed to issue summonses for service on Defendants by the U.S. Marshal. The Clerk is further directed to send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form and Instructions for Submitting Documents along with a copy of this order. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [#4] is denied.

O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that a correctional officer at the Stateville Correctional Center violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by sexually molesting him, and that fellow officers harassed and retaliated against Plaintiff when he complained about the alleged misconduct.

Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), Plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $5.83. The trust fund officer at Plaintiff's place of incarceration is authorized and ordered to collect the partial filing fee from Plaintiff's trust fund account and pay it directly to the Clerk of Court. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, Plaintiff's trust fund officer is directed to collect monthly payments from Plaintiff's trust fund account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly payments shall be forwarded to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the full $350 filing fee is paid. All payments shall be sent to the Clerk, United States District Court, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify Plaintiff's name and this case number. This payment obligation will follow Plaintiff wherever he may be transferred.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint. Here, accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, he has articulated colorable federal causes of action against Defendants. "[A] prisoner has a remedy for deliberate harassment, on account of sex, by guards of either sex." Johnson v. Phelan, 69 F.3d 144, 147 (7th Cir. 1995). Furthermore, an act taken by prison officials in retaliation for an inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights may form the basis of a civil rights suit, even if the same act, when taken for a different reason, would be otherwise permissible. See, e.g., Stanley v. Litscher, 213 F.3d 340, 343 (7th Cir. 2000); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 613 (7th Cir. 2000) (finding that plaintiff had stated a valid cause of action for allegedly retaliatory disciplinary reports). While a more fully developed record may belie Plaintiff's allegations, Defendants must respond to the complaint.

The Clerk shall issue summonses forthwith and send Plaintiff a Magistrate Judge Consent Form and Instructions for Submitting Documents along with a copy of this order.

The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve Defendants. Any service forms necessary for Plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve Defendants with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve Defendants. With respect to former correctional employees who no longer can be found at the work address provided by Plaintiff, the Illinois Department of Corrections shall furnish the Marshal with Defendant's last-known address. The information shall be used only for purposes of effectuating service [or for proof of service, should a dispute arise] and any documentation of the address shall be retained only by the Marshal. Address information shall not be maintained in the court file, nor disclosed by the Marshal. The Marshal is authorized to mail a request for waiver of service to Defendants in the manner prescribed by FED. R. CIV. P. 4(d)(2) before attempting personal service.

Plaintiff is instructed to file all future papers concerning this action with the Clerk of Court in care of the Prisoner Correspondent. Plaintiff must provide the Court with the original plus a complete judge's copy, including any exhibits, of every document filed. In addition, Plaintiff must send an exact copy of any court filing to Defendants [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of Defendants]. Every document filed with the Court must include a certificate of service stating to whom exact copies were mailed and the date of mailing. Any paper that is sent directly to the judge or that otherwise fails to comply with these instructions may be disregarded by the Court or returned to Plaintiff.

Finally, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied. There is no constitutional or statutory right to counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, --- F.3d ---, 2010 WL 3155926, *4 (7th Cir. Aug. 11, 2010); see also Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff, whose submissions to date have been coherent and articulate, appears capable of presenting his case at this stage, and the court grants pro se litigants wide latitude in the handling of their lawsuits. Therefore, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied without prejudice to reconsideration at a later time.

20100913

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