United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge.
Perez ("Perez") has used the
Clerk's-Office-supplied form of "Complaint Under the
Civil Rights Act, Title 42 Section 1983"
("Complaint") to file an action against Cook County
Sheriff Tom Dart based on assertedly unconstitutional living
conditions to which he was subjected while a pretrial
detainee at the Cook County Jail. Perez has accompanied his
Complaint with two other Clerk's-Office-supplied forms:
an In Forma Pauperis Application ("Application, "
Dkt. No. 3) and a Motion for Attorney Representation
("Motion, " Dkt. No. 4). As is almost invariably
the case with such pro se efforts, there are a number of
respects in which Perez' filings are
deficient. This memorandum order is issued sua sponte
to identify some of the problems that Perez must overcome if
he is to obtain relief.
begin with, 28 U.S.C. § 1915 ("Section 1915")
expressly requires every prospective prisoner plaintiff to
include as part of his filings "a certified copy of the
trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent)
for the prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding
the filing of the complaint" (Section 1915(a)(2)). On
that score Perez cannot claim unawareness of that requirement
-- here is the notification (boldface type and underlining in
the original) that appears in the Application form
immediately below the signature space where Perez signed the
NOTICE TO PRISONERS: In addition to the
Certificate below, a prisoner must also attach a print-out
from the institution(s) where he or she has been in custody
during the last six months showing all receipts, expenditures
and balances in the prisoner's prison or jail trust fund
accounts during that period. Because the law requires
information as to such accounts covering a full six months
before you have filed your lawsuit, you must attach a sheet
covering transactions in your own account -- prepared by
each institution where you have been in custody
during that six-month period. As already stated, you must
also have the Certificate below completed by an authorized
officer at each institution.
Perez' case that calls for such statement or statements
for the entire six-month period between March 1 and September
1, 2016. That requires such statements from every
custodial institution (the Cook County Jail, Lincoln and any
other such institution) where Perez was housed during that
time frame -- but Perez has tendered none of those
the Motion is also deficient because Perez has left its
paragraph 2 blank, even though that paragraph has an express
requirement "NOTE" that states "This item must
be completed." That paragraph is critical, for Perez is
called upon there to justify what efforts he has made to
obtain legal representation on his own -- information that
our Court of Appeals requires to be provided before any
consideration can be given to such a motion.
and even more critically, here is a condition that Congress
has prescribed before any lawsuit of the type advanced by
Perez can be entertained in this District Court (42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a)) ("Section 1997e(a)"):
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions
under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law,
by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other
correctional facility until such administrative remedies as
are available are exhausted.
Perez was quite obviously unaware of that requirement, his
Complaint is totally silent on that score -- but he must
address it if he hopes to go forward with this action.
summary, Perez must supplement his original filings on or
before September 26, 2016 with each of the following:
1. any documentation that reflects his having complied with
the Section 1997e(a) precondition to suit; and
2. the trust fund account statements referred to earlier in
this memorandum order.
Perez cannot provide the information called for in the first
of those respects, this Court will be compelled to dismiss
both the Complaint and this action without prejudice. In that
event, however, Perez will remain obligated to provide the
information called for by the second of those requirements,
so that this Court will be able to carry out its
responsibilities under Section 1915. In ...