IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
September 20, 2011
SHAWNETTA T. GRAHAM, PLAINTIFF,
STATE OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Shawnetta Graham ("Graham") has filed a motion seeking leave to appeal in forma pauperis ("IFP") from this Court's brief August 22, 2011 memorandum order ("Order") that dismissed her attempted Third Amended Complaint ("TAC") in this putative 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983") action. Although Graham's accompanying affidavit demonstrates her inability to pay $455 in appellate filing fees up front,*fn1 Graham's problem is that she cannot meet the other precondition to IFP status on appeal--the assertion of a claim that is non-frivolous in the legal sense.
This Court made a number of efforts to assist Graham in fashioning an arguably viable constitutional claim. It issued several brief memorandum orders in that respect, but Graham remained unable to fashion an appropriate Section 1983 complaint.
Ultimately this Court issued a May 26, 2011 memorandum order that directed the sole target of the TAC--the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice--to file a responsive pleading.
That has been done via a motion to dismiss and a supporting memorandum or law, which Graham has been unable to counter. As the Order stated, Department has demonstrated that (1) it is not a "person" suable under Section 1983 because it is an arm of the State of Illinois and (2) it enjoys sovereign immunity for the same reason. Accordingly Graham's motion for IFP treatment is denied, though she is advised that she may present the issue to the Court of Appeals for its determination on that score.