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Enis v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 5, 2016

ANTHONY ENIS, No. N-82931, Petitioner,
v.
KIMBERLY BUTLER, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Anthony Enis, a state prisoner currently incarcerated in the Menard Correctional Center, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge the constitutionality of his confinement.

         The petition was filed on July 27, 2016. Enis challenges his life sentence, which he is serving as a result of former Governor George H. Ryan's January 2003 commutation of the death sentence imposed after petitioner's murder conviction in Lake County. People v. Enis, Lake County Circuit Court No. 91-CF-9. He invokes § 2241 as the basis for his petition, arguing that his current custody is the result of the Governor's “executive order of detention, ” and that he is no longer in custody pursuant to the Lake County judgment of conviction (Doc. 1, p. 9). He seeks immediate release from custody, based in part on his argument that the governor exceeded his authority by ordering Enis to be held indefinitely when he was “actually innocent of his former sentence of death” (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10).

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in 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) gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases. After carefully reviewing the petition in the present case, the Court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition, and it must therefore be dismissed.

         Procedural History

         Petitioner's original conviction and death sentence for the 1987 murder were reversed, People v. Enis, 139 Ill.2d 264, 564 N.E.2d 1155 (1990), and the case was remanded for a new trial. Upon retrial, Enis was convicted again, and again sentenced to death. This time, the conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. People v. Enis, 163 Ill.2d 367, 645 N.E.2d 856 (1994). The Illinois Supreme Court specifically found that Enis' eligibility for the death penalty had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Id., 163 Ill.2d. at 412-13, 645 N.E.2d at 876.

         Enis filed a post-conviction petition, which was dismissed by the trial court. On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the petition, finding that trial and appellate counsel did not render ineffective assistance, and finding no error in the trial court's decision to quash a postconviction subpoena and deny a substitution of judge. People v. Enis, 194 Ill.2d 361, 743 N.E.2d 1 (2000), cert. denied, Enis v. Schomig, 533 U.S. 908 (2001).

         In June 2001, Enis filed a habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, Enis v. Schomig, Case No. 01-C-4429 (N.D. Ill.). He raised numerous grounds for relief, including (1) the trial court improperly denied his motions to suppress witnesses' identification testimony; (2) the trial court's rulings on evidentiary and discovery matters were erroneous; (3) trial and appellate counsel were ineffective; (4) he was denied his right to testify at trial; (5) he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (6) the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct: (7) the trial court wrongly denied his discovery requests; and (8) the cumulative effect of the listed errors violated his constitutional rights. Enis v. Schomig, No. 01-C-4429, 2004 WL 2203420, at *5-6 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2004). In January 2003, while the habeas action was pending, petitioner's death sentence was commuted to life without parole by an executive order of former Governor Ryan. Ultimately, the § 2254 habeas petition was denied. Id. at *28-29.

         Enis made another attempt to challenge his sentence and conviction in federal court in September 2011, when he filed a second § 2254 habeas petition. Enis v. Rednour, Case No. 11-C-6911 (N.D. Ill., filed Sept. 30, 2011). In that action, Enis raised claims that no evidence supported his eligibility for the death penalty; his counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate evidence to rebut his eligibility for the death penalty; and his indictment failed to include an aggravating factor that elevated the charge to a capital offense. He argued that the petition should not be construed as second or successive, because it was his first attack on his life sentence and his eligibility for that sentence (Doc. 1 in Case No. 11-C-6911). The Northern District rejected that argument, and dismissed the habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) for lack of jurisdiction, because Enis had failed to obtain leave from the court of appeals before filing the action. Enis v. Rednour, Case No. 11-C-6911 (N.D. Ill., Oct. 28, 2011).

         Enis then sought authorization to file a second or successive § 2254 petition. Enis v. Atchison, No. 12-2973 (7th Cir. filed Aug. 27, 2012). In denying the application, the Seventh Circuit noted that in his original § 2254 habeas action, Enis had withdrawn all of the claims regarding his sentence following the governor's commutation. Presuming that Enis wished to assert the claims he had included in his 2011 petition (N.D. Ill. Case No. 11-C-6911), the court determined that none of the proposed claims relied on new facts or new law, as required by § 2244(b)(2). Instead, Enis could have raised the claims regarding his death-sentence eligibility and the indictment in his initial habeas proceeding. The court therefore denied authorization for a second/successive § 2254 action. Enis v. Atchison, No. 12-2973 (7th Cir. Sept. 6, 2012).

         The Petition

         Three grounds for relief are raised in the instant § 2241 habeas petition. First, Enis claims that he is “no longer in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court[, ]” but is instead being detained “pursuant to the judgment of the former chief executive of the State of Illinois” (Doc. 1, p. 9). As such, Enis seeks to bring this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Secondly, he asserts that Governor Ryan exceeded his authority by ordering petitioner to be held indefinitely when he was “actually innocent (ineligible) of his former sentence of death.” (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10). As such, the life sentence violated the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause, as well as the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Within that claim, he raises several arguments attacking his conviction. Third, Enis claims he was indicted for a class of offense that did not exist under Illinois law, and his indictment was deficient for failing to allege any elements to sustain either the death sentence or his current sentence (Doc. 1, p. 11).

         As relief, Enis seeks immediate release from custody, and a hearing to “determine the validity of the executive order of detention” and whether he may be detained beyond the 40-year maximum sentence that was in effect at the time of his offense (Doc. 1, p. 12). He ...


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