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Crites v. Lakin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 21, 2015

DAVID W. CRITES, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN LAKIN, CAPTAIN BOST, ALTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, JOSEPH SPLITTORFF, MADISON COUNTY JAIL, NURSE BOBBY, [1] UNKNOWN PARTY, and CITY OF EDWARDSVILLE, IL, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff David Crites is currently incarcerated at the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville, Illinois. (Doc. 1 at 1.) Proceeding pro se, Crites has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several jail staff and the Madison County Jail itself, against the Alton Police Department and one of its officers, and against the City of Edwardsville, Illinois. ( Id. at 1-3.) Crites alleges that various jail officials have failed to provide him with medical care, have not provided him with certain necessities, and have not provided him with proper resources to access the courts. ( Id. at 7-4.) Crites also alleges that the Alton Police Department and one of its officers falsely arrested him, and that the City of Edwardsville, Illinois has denied him due process as a part of an ongoing criminal prosecution. ( Id. ) Crites seeks money damages as well as several types of injunctive relief. ( See id. at 15-16.)

This matter is now before the Court for a preliminary review of Crites' complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court shall review a "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a government entity." During this preliminary review under § 1915A, the court "shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, " if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted" or if it "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."

Background

While Crites' complaint is a bit confusing, as best the Court can tell, Crites was arrested in August 2014 for a motor vehicle offense and for aggravated fleeing from an Alton police officer named Joseph Splittorff. (Doc. 1-1 at 3.) According to Crites, Officer Splittorff pulled him over on August 28, 2014 for a seat belt violation; when Splittorff tried to pull Crites out of his vehicle, Crites' foot "came off" the clutch and the car "proceeded" from Illinois into Missouri. (Doc. 1 at 9.) For reasons Crites left out of his complaint, a high-speed chase then occurred, where both vehicles were allegedly going in excess of one hundred miles per hour. ( Id. ) Crites lost control of his vehicle, crashed into a "tributary of the Mississippi and Missouri river" after "careening 300 feet into said rivers, " and then fled from police. ( Id. ) St. Louis officers arrested Crites the next day when he was caught riding a stolen bicycle on the shoulder of North U.S. Highway 67 just north of Highway 367. (Doc. 1-3 at 9.) Crites was indicted in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois on May 21, 2015. (Doc. 1-1 at 8.)

Crites spent some time incarcerated at the St. Louis County Justice Center related to these charges, but was ultimately held at the Madison County Jail from May 2015 onward. ( See Doc. 1 at 16.) During his time at the Madison County Jail, Crites says that Lakin and Bost have not allowed him to purchase stamps and supplies so that he can access the courts related to his criminal charges, and that there is no policy in place to assert grievances. ( Id. at 7.) He also alleges that the jail has a minimal law library: when he asks for access, he is told to get one book and go to a visiting booth, but is not given enough time in the library or access to law clerks. ( Id. at 8.) Crites also claims that there is a policy by jail staff to not give indigent plaintiffs underwear and other necessities, like haircuts, combs, and shampoos. ( Id. at 7.) Crites finally claims that his medical needs are "very grossly being violated" by medical staff at the jail: Crites needs treatment for his diabetic and hepatitis conditions, but the jail's medical staff refuses to treat him - ostensibly because he has filed previous suits against them. ( Id. at 7-8.)

Since his detention, Crites also says that various prosecution, defense, and judicial officials with the City of Edwardsville have violated his rights related to his ongoing criminal prosecution. ( Id. at 12-14.) According to Crites, the prosecutor has "created a conspiracy" to negate his rights, has conspired with the police officers involved in his case to gain a "tactical advantage, " and has not provided him with discovery. ( Id. at 12.) He also alleges that his public defender has not responded to his letters, and that the judge assigned to his case refuses to rule on his pro se filings and refuses to let him represent himself. ( Id. at 13-14.)

Discussion

To facilitate the management of future proceedings, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10, the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Crites' pro se complaint into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by the Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Lakin and Bost have refused to provide Crites with access to stamps, envelopes and copies, thereby violating his right to access the courts.
COUNT 2: Lakin, Bost, and the Madison County Jail have failed to provide an adequate grievance procedure, in violation of Crites' rights.
COUNT 3: Bost has not provided Crites with proper access to a law library or legal staff, in violation of Crites' right to legal resources.
COUNT 4: The Madison County Jail has a policy of refusing inmates combs, haircuts, underwear, and shampoo, in violation of Crites' due process rights.
COUNT 5: Lakin, Bost, and the Madison County Jail have failed to provide legal resources and various supplies to indigent defendants like Crites, in ...

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