United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed this case pro se from the Vermilion County Jail. The
case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute requires the Court to review
a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify the cognizable
claims and to dismiss part or all of the complaint if no
claim is stated.
reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to "'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S.,
721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite
alleges that he was found guilty of aggravated battery with a
firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. 12-CF-599
(Vermilion County). While serving his sentence, Plaintiff
successfully appealed the conviction and was retried in
November 2016. The second time around, Plaintiff was
acquitted. Plaintiff does not say why he is currently in the
Vermilion County Jail, but there are two pending criminal
cases against Plaintiff in Vermilion County which were
brought in June 2016. See 2016CF402 and 2016CF404
seeks reimbursement for the alleged three years and eight
months he spent incarcerated on the 2012 charge. He also asks
for a psychiatric counselor, to be paid by the State.
2012 criminal case was reversed because the Illinois
Appellate Court found that the alleged shooting victim's
statements had been incorrectly admitted as excited
utterances. The Appellate Court found that the alleged
shooting victim's statements were testimonial, arguably
requiring Plaintiff to be given an opportunity to cross
examine the alleged victim. People v. Hall, 2015 IL
App (4th)130999-U, 2015 WL 5257164). The Appellate
Court declined to state an opinion on whether the statements
might be admissible as prior-statements-of-identification.
states no federal claim based on these facts. The cause of
Plaintiff's alleged wrongful incarceration was the
Circuit Court's evidentiary ruling. Plaintiff cannot sue
the judge who made that decision, even if the decision was
overturned on appeal. Polzin v. Gage, 636 F.3d 834,
838 (7th Cir. 2011)(“A judge has absolute immunity for
any judicial actions unless the judge acted in the absence of
all jurisdiction.”). Similarly, the State's
Attorney who argued for admission of the testimony cannot be
sued for doing so. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409,
429 (1976)(prosecutor immune from § 1983 action based on
prosecutor's actions which were “intimately
associated with the judicial process, ” such as
initiating and pursuing criminal charges). Illinois does have
a state law procedure for petitioning for a certificate of
innocence and seeking compensation from the Illinois Court of
Claims, but that procedure requires proving actual innocence
and would have to be pursued in state court. 735 ILCS
5/2-702(a), (b); 205 ILCS 505/8(c); People v. Blouin
(2014 IL App (1st) 131603-U, 2014 WL 4536931.
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed on the grounds of
absolute immunity. Any amendment to the Complaint would be
futile because the Judge and prosecutor in Plaintiff's
2012 criminal case are immune from a lawsuit for damages
based on their actions in court.
Plaintiff's motion for counsel is denied as moot (3).
clerk is directed to enter a judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 58 and to close this case.
Plaintiff must still pay the full filing fee of $350 even
though his case has been dismissed. The agency having custody
of Plaintiff shall continue to make monthly payments to the
Clerk of Court, as directed in the Court's prior order.
Plaintiff wishes to appeal this dismissal, he must file a
notice of appeal with this Court within 30 days of the entry
of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave to
appeal in forma pauperis should set forth the issues
Plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(1)(C). If Plaintiff does choose to appeal, ...