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Miller v. Williamson County Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 9, 2014

JACKIE G. MILLER, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY CORRECTIONAL CENTER, BENNIE VICK, and CHARLES GARNATI, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, District Judge.

Petitioner Jackie G. Miller, by and through attorney Joshua M. Bradley, brings this habeas corpus action to challenge the constitutionality of his confinement as a pretrial detainee in the Williamson County Correctional Center ("Jail") in Williamson County, Illinois. This is the second petition filed by petitioner Miller and attorney Bradley.

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district court judge, "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner." Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases. After carefully reviewing the petition and exhibits in the present case, the Court concludes that petitioner is not entitled to relief, and the current petition (Miller's second petition) must be dismissed.

I. The Proper Respondent

As a preliminary matter, petitioner is again admonished that the respondent in a habeas corpus proceeding is the person who has immediate custody over the petitioner. 28 U.S.C. § 2242; Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434-35 (2004); Rules 2(a) and (b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Consequently, neither the Williamson County Correctional Center nor State's Attorney Garnati is a proper respondent.[1] See Bridges v. Chambers, 425 F.3d 1048, 1049 (7th Cir. 2005) (any respondent who is not the prisoner's custodian should be dropped from the action). Sheriff Bennie Vick is purportedly Miller's custodian and, therefore, shall remain as the sole respondent.

II. Procedural History and the Nature of the Petition

Miller's first petition was filed on October 17, 2013: Miller v. Williamson County Correctional Center, No. 13-cv-1078-DRH (S.D. Ill., dismissed without prejudice, Nov. 8, 2013). In essence, the first petition challenged the constitutionality of the charges lodged against Miller and his continued confinement, which Miller attributed to prosecutorial misconduct. Which Williamson County case or cases were being challenged was not entirely clear ( see No. 13-cv-1078-DRH, Doc. 8, p. 2 (Williamson County Case Nos. 2012-CM-176 and 2012-CM-363 were cited in the first petition and there was a suggestion of a third case)). The first petition was dismissed without prejudice (No. 13-cv-1078-DRH, Doc. 8).

The second petition appears to be somewhat of a continuation of, and extension of the first petition, indicating that additional cases have been brought: Williamson County Case Nos. 2013-CF-102 and 2014-CF-68. Also, Williamson County Case Nos. 10-CF-347, 2012-CF-59 and 2012-CF-57 are referenced as pending cases linked to Case No. 2013-CF-102. It is also asserted that "there are charges now pending for which [petitioner] has never received an arraignment." As in the first petition, Miller continues to assert that "all charges" are the production of prosecutorial misconduct. He also explains that his most recent bail (which appears to be applicable to multiple cases) was increased from $100, 000 or 10% to $1, 000, 000 or 10%, which he considers unwarranted, excessive and a violation of his rights under the Eighth amendment. Petitioner prays that "all charges" be dismissed.[2]

Petitioner has now filed a motion for leave to file an amendment to the second petition (Doc. 6). He wants to have his affidavit and a copy of the docket sheet for Case No. 2014-CF-68 included as exhibits to the petition. Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(A) permits a party to amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it, Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint, per se. Consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), amendment by interlineation is not permitted; a single document is required. In any event, the Court will allow the exhibits to be filed independent of the petition and those exhibits will be considered as the petition undergoes preliminary review.

Even considering the additional exhibits, it is not entirely clear which case or cases Miller is challenging. Similar to the pleading standards prescribed in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), Rule 2 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (which is equally applicable to petitions brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254 and 2241) requires the grounds for relief to be clearly stated-which would surely require the basis of custody in a petition for writ of habeas corpus to be clearly stated.

The petition also does not specifically invoke either 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Because it alleges that petitioner is being held pending a trial, he does not appear to be "in custody pursuant to a judgment of a state court" within the meaning of Section 2254. Accordingly, the petition shall be construed as having been brought pursuant to Section 2241. See Neville v. Cavanagh, 611 F.2d 673, 674 (7th Cir. 1979) ("federal courts in certain instances have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3)" to grant writ to pretrial detainee in state custody) (citing Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484 (1973)).

III. The Petition

Based on the allegations in the petition and the supporting documentation, the shotgun-style petition is construed as follows.

Charges of aggravated domestic battery and unlawful restraint were lodged against Miller in Franklin County, Illinois: Case No. 11-CF-236. Miller pled guilty and was released on bond, but his bond was subsequently revoked because he allegedly harassed witness Patricia Russell, Miller's ex-wife and the apparent victim of the underlying battery and ...


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