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James R. Edens and Aaron May v. S.A. Godinez and Ona Welch

February 25, 2013

JAMES R. EDENS AND AARON MAY,
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
S.A. GODINEZ AND ONA WELCH,
DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steigmann

Carla Bender 4th District Appellate Court, IL

Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 10MR316 Honorable Leslie J. Graves, Judge Presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Appleton and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In May 2010, plaintiffs, James R. Edens and Aaron May, both inmates at Dixon Correctional Center and proceeding pro se, jointly filed a petition for writ of mandamus under article 14 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Civil Code) (735 ILCS 5/14-101 through 14-109 (West 2010)), alleging that defendants, S.A. Godinez (Director, Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC)) and Ona Welch (DOC's Assistant Chief Records Officer), "arbitrarily calculated their sentences."

¶ 2 In December 2010, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005 of the Civil Code (735 ILCS 5/2-1005 (West 2010)), arguing that no genuine issue of material fact existed because plaintiffs did not have a clear right to the relief sought. Following a May 2011 hearing, the trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment.

¶ 3 Plaintiffs pro se appeal, making several claims related to the trial court's dismissal of their petition for writ of mandamus. We affirm.

¶ 4 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 5 In December 1985, the trial court sentenced Edens to concurrent prison terms of 65 years for murder, 30 years for attempted murder, and 30 years for home invasion. In October 1993, the court sentenced May to concurrent prison terms of 50 years for murder and 15 years for kidnaping. In May 2010, plaintiffs pro se filed a petition for writ of mandamus, both alleging that Godinez and Welch "arbitrarily calculated their sentences (and inmates similarly situated)." In support of their allegation, plaintiffs cited section No. 01.07.400.II.F.2 of DOC's administrative directive, which states as follows:

"Felony sentences shall be calculated on a 30[-]day per month basis; the number of days of the sentence shall be the numerator and 30 shall be the denominator."

Edens claimed that if DOC had complied with the aforementioned 30-day per month basis-that is, a 360-day year-his prison release date should be April 13, 2016, instead of October 2, 2016, which DOC calculated using a 365-day year. Similarly, May claimed that his release date should be May 3, 2018, instead of September 12, 2018.

¶ 6 In October 2010, plaintiffs pro se filed a "motion for judicial notice," requesting that the trial court take judicial notice of two pleadings concerning inmate Chris Lekas that had been filed in (1) Sangamon County case No. 08-MR-175 against Roger Walker, DOC's former director ("Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss") and (2) the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Nedra Chandler, the warden of the Dixon Correctional Center ("Respondent's Answer"). Plaintiffs claimed that, in both pleadings, DOC used a 360-day year-instead of a 365-day year-to calculate Lekas' prison release date.

ΒΆ 7 In December 2010, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005 of the Civil Code, arguing that no genuine issue of material fact existed because plaintiffs had no clear right to the relief sought. In this regard, defendants contended that the petition for writ of mandamus seeks five extra days of sentencing credit for each year plaintiffs serve in addition to the day-for-day and meritorious credit they are ...


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