United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
RANDELL L. OWENS, #K89586, Plaintiff,
BOBBI JO YOUNKER, JOEY HARRIS, JOE L. PETROKOVICH, FRED UFERT, OTTIS STEWARD, BRUCE RAUNER, LISA MADIGAN, LEO P. SCHMITZ, CASEY CARPENTER, JOHN LAKIN, THOMAS B. GIBBONS, ERIC HOLDER, and ALAN J. DUNSTAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.
Plaintiff Randell L. Owens, who is currently confined at Taylorville Correctional Center ("Taylorville") for failing to register as a violent sex offender, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review. As explained in greater detail below, Plaintiff's complaint violates the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As such, the complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend.
The allegations in the complaint are rambling and far from clear. From what the Court can discern, Plaintiff failed to timely register as a sex offender in Wood County, Illinois, allegedly through no fault of his own (Doc. 1, p. 5). He was arrested for unlawful failure to register on February 4, 2013, and detained at the Madison County Jail until March 18, 2013. Plaintiff was subsequently convicted for the offense. He is currently serving a four year term of confinement at Taylorville (Doc. 1, p. 2).
Although it is far from clear, the complaint seems to broadly challenge the constitutionality of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act ("SORA"), 735 ILCS 150/1, et seq., and its federal counterpart, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"), 18 U.S.C. § 2251, et seq. More specifically, Plaintiff challenges its implementation and enforcement in Wood County, Illinois, among other jurisdictions. He alleges that the Wood County sex offender registry was operated in a manner that created barriers to his timely registration. The complaint identifies three barriers: (1) the registration office was only open for a period of twelve hours on Fridays (Doc. 1, p. 11); (2) Plaintiff may (or may not) have been required to produce proof of his residency through a third party (Doc. 1, p. 7); and Officer Bobbi Jo Younker delayed Plaintiff's registration for reasons not stated in the complaint (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff now sues the United States Department of Justice, the State of Illinois, and the above-listed thirteen defendants for numerous violations of state and federal law. The claims in the complaint include, but are not limited to, entrapment, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, aggravated harassment, constructive fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, willful neglect, emotional distress, alienation of affection, cruel and unusual punishment, invidious discrimination, denial of due process, denial of equal protection, violations of Illinois SORA, and violations of Sex Offender Apprehension Grants under 42 U.S.C. § 3997(ee), 42 U.S.C. § 3796 (g, 5-2), 42 U.S.C. § 9511, etc. He also brings claims under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, including $10 million in punitive damages (Doc. 1, p. 15).
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" and also "a demand for the relief sought." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a). Additionally, Rule 8(d) requires that each allegation within the complaint "must be simple, concise, and direct." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(d)(1). The allegations in the complaint must "actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original). At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Plaintiff's complaint is by no means a model of clarity. In fact, the allegations stray far afield of the pleading standards set forth in Rule 8(a). The purpose of this rule is to ensure that the defendants have "fair notice of the claims against them and the grounds supporting those claims." See Lawrence v. Secretary of State, 467 Fed.Appx. 523, 524 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing Stanard v. Nygren, 658 F.3d 792, 797 (7th Cir. 2011)). As it is written, this Court and the defendants have no way to assess Plaintiff's complaint or to determine whether the pleading states any legitimate claims.
The complaint offers neither a short nor a plain statement of Plaintiff's claims, as required by Rule 8. With regard to its length, the complaint is divided into nine counts against more than thirteen defendants. Standing alone, the number of counts and length of the complaint do not justify dismissal under Rule 8(a). Nygren, 658 F.3d at 797 ("[U]ndue length alone ordinarily does not justify the dismissal of an otherwise valid complaint."); Davis v. Ruby Foods, Inc., 269 F.3d 818, 820 (7th Cir. 2001) ([D]ismissal is inappropriate "merely because of the presence of superfluous matter."). To be clear, the Court is not dismissing the complaint on the basis of its length.
Other problems abound. For example, the allegations are virtually incomprehensible. Rather than offering basic factual allegations in support of clearly identified claims, the complaint offers incoherent factual allegations buried amidst long lists of legal claims (some of which appear to be contrived and others of which are not cognizable under Section 1983). By way of example, the allegations offered in support of "Count VIIII" (sic) are below:
That Defendant's have caused upon this Plaintiff et al...., V/A citations' set forth in Count VIII above in a uniform concerted and co-complicit manner regarding Breach of Contract and fiduciary trust set forth in 42 USC § 3797 (ee) - 3996(ss) - 3796(g5) - 2 and 42 USC § 9511, together with corresponding State and Federal S.O.R.A. Title I of July 2006, Act P.L. 109-248...., by its lack of oversight, enforcement, due diligence with respect of audit, collection, and its deliberate indifference, and total disregard that had said mandated state and local monitoring of funding, Registrations etc. etc. etc. been in compliance, the egregious conspiratorial defects, unilatterally engaged in by Wood River Police Dep't, the Illinois State Police, specific custodial defendant agents in captioned matter above of Plaintiff-Defendants, and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General ex rel. Eric Holder, that caused the false arrest, subject of detainer, arrest, subject or prosecution, loss of liberty, alienation of affection, malicious prosecution, cruel and unusual punishment, violation of due process, equal protection, and aggravated harassment, physical, metal, emotional stress, that through both U.S. and State Attorney Generals direct notorious lack of uniformity in oversight, and enforcement of both funding, management, distribution of "mandated" funds with deliberate indifference to both Plaintiff and those protected persons it's direct malfeasance of office by Defendants and a collateral attack on the entire sex offender registration acts of both Federal and State enactments, that likewise violates Seperation of Powers. When in fact, the "provider" of Funding - is also the Prosecutor of Violations of the SORA, regarding activity surrounding purpose of statute, that in fact violates implicitly and explicitly constructively, extrinsically and collaterally the Single Subject Rule of enactment of entire SORA 730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. and its Federal counterparts Title I P.L. 109-248 (HR 4472) July 27, 2006, 120 Stat 587. 42 USC § 16901 et seq and 18 USC § 2250 et seq.... That makes "Ripe for Review" and repeal of statutory "shemes" that is against both U.S. and State Constitutions respectfully - and without "Review." This Plaintiff will continue to suffer irreparable harm in a "punitive" matter against these characters acting under color of law and against State and Federally Protected Due Process, Equal Protection and Liberty heretofore.
(Doc. 1, pp. 13-14). These allegations are not only meandering, but they are also wildly incoherent. Plaintiff sets forth equally deficient allegations in support of ...