Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge James F. Holderman than Assigned Judge
For the reasons explained in the Statement Section of this Order, Respondent's "Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Habeas Claim"  is granted. The petition is dismissed, but the dismissal is without prejudice to Petitioner filing an appropriate action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if he complies with the requirements set forth below.
O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
William Evans ("Evans"), a state prisoner at the Danville Correctional Center, seeks habeas relief on the ground that the Illinois Department of Corrections is violating the Ex Post Facto clause of the Constitution by declining to award him discretionary good time credit. (Dkt. No. 5 ("Amended Pet.").) Before the court is Respondent Keith Anglin's "Motion to Dismiss Habeas Corpus Petition for Failure to State a Habeas Claim." (Dkt. No. 14. ("Mot. to Dismiss").) For the reasons stated herein, the motion is granted.
In May 2010, Evans pleaded guilty to being an armed career criminal and committing aggravated battery in a public place and was sentenced to consecutive terms of six and four years in prison, respectively. (Dkt. No. 14, Exs. A, B.) He sought to appeal, but the Illinois Appellate Court refused to hear his case because his notice of appeal was untimely. (Dkt. No. 14, Ex. C.)
In October 2011, Evans filed a petition for habeas corpus relief with this court. (Dkt. No. 1 ("Pet.").) In it, he challenged the termination of the Meritorious Good Time and Supplemental Meritorious Good Time program by the Illinois Department of Corrections in January 2010. The program allowed for the awarding of good conduct credits that effectively reduced a prisoner's time in prison.
On Nov. 4, 2011, this court ordered Evans to submit an amended petition for several reasons. (Dkt. No.4.) First, the court noted that Evans improperly brought his petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The court noted that a petitioner challenging his custody resulting from a state court criminal conviction must do so under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 633 (7th Cir. 2000.) Additionally, the court observed that it appeared Evans was arguing that he could not obtain good time credit previously offered, as well as that his good conduct credit had been revoked. If so, Evans had improperly combined both a § 2254 claim and a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
As the court explained in its Nov. 4, 2011 order, a § 2254 petition is the correct vehicle for challenging the revocation of good conduct credit, but when a prisoner challenges a change in policy that reduces his ability to earn future good conduct credit, this suit must be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Hadley v. Holmes, 341 F.3d 661, 664 (7th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Courts have drawn this distinction because a petition under § 2254 must seek a reduction in the prisoner's sentence; the mere possibility of a reduction is insufficient. Id. By seeking both the restoration of the program and the awarding of back good conduct credit, Evans had mixed these claims, the court held.
This court directed Evans to file an amended petition clarifying whether he wanted to proceed under § 2254 or file a civil rights suit under 42 U.S. § 1983. Subsequently, Evans filed a brief amended petition in which he sought to proceed under § 2254. In it, Evans wrote:
The respondent applying the suspension of 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3; January 15, 2010; to petitioner William Evans, sentence of offenses that occurred before the Illinois governors office suspended 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3; in violation of the United States Constitution ex post facto prohibition; in light of the fact the suspension of 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 good conduct credit increases the punishment by increasing the time that must be served in prison, and on mandatory supervised release. (Am. Pet.) Noting that Evans had filed what appeared to be a § 2254 petition, ...