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People v. Austin

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

December 17, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ALLAN P. AUSTIN, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 98CF482. Honorable Scott Drazewski, Judge Presiding.

Appeal dismissed.

SYLLABUS

In the case of a vexatious litigant who had been convicted and sentenced to 80 years for felonies against three women and then embarked on filing various frivolous pleadings, finally causing the trial court to issue an order directing the circuit clerk not to accept any further pleadings from defendant unless he obtained leave of the trial court and paid all fees, defendant's appeal following the circuit clerk's sealing of defendant's latest petition pursuant to the trial court's earlier order was properly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, since the sealing of the petition was not a final trial court judgment for purposes of an appeal, and based on the conclusion that the petition was frivolous, the trial court was reminded of its statutory authority to collect funds from defendant's Department of Corrections trust fund account to pay for the costs of the litigation; furthermore, defendant was ordered to show cause within 30 days why sanctions should not be imposed against him under Supreme Court Rule 375(b) for filing the frivolous appeal, and pending defendant's response and the appellate court's decision as to what action to take, the clerk of the appellate court is directed not to file any new appeals submitted by defendant to this appellate court.

Allan P. Austin, appellant pro se.

Jason Chambers, State's Attorney, of Bloomington (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Luke McNeill, all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pope and Justice Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 616

STEIGMANN, JUSTICE.

[¶1] Defendant, Allan P. Austin, is currently serving an 80-year aggregate prison sentence for a litany of felonies that he perpetrated against three women in March 1998. Since entering prison 15 years ago, defendant has filed a seemingly endless series of pleadings in the trial court, followed by appeals to this court. Defendant has yet to raise a meritorious issue.

[¶2] In April 2007, the trial court, noting that defendant was a vexatious litigant " of Dickensian proportions," ordered the circuit clerk " not to accept any further pleadings from the defendant for filing unless the defendant first obtains leave of the court and pays all appropriate fees." Undeterred, defendant continued to mail petitions to the trial court, all of which the circuit clerk sealed pursuant to the court's April 2007 order. Defendant filed his latest petition in April 2014, which the circuit

Page 617

clerk sealed. In May 2014, defendant pro se filed a notice of appeal.

[¶3] In his pro se brief, defendant raises nine challenges to his convictions and sentences, but he does not address (1) his failure to obtain leave of the court to file his petition or (2) the fact that his petition was never filed in the trial court. The State notes in its brief that because defendant's April 2014 petition was never filed, this court lacks jurisdiction over defendant's appeal because it did not result from a final judgment. See Ill. ...


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