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Ali v. Circuit Court of Madison County

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 9, 2017

WILLIAM ALI, #58870, also known as WILLIAM COLE, Plaintiff,
v.
CIRCUIT COURT OF MADISON COUNTY, ILLINOIS, KYLE NAPP, RICHARD TOGNARILLI, NEIL SHRODER, JENNIFER HIGHTOWER, KATIE WARREN, MORGAN HARMENSON, and UNKNOWN PARTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge

         Plaintiff William Ali (a/k/a William Cole), a detainee at Madison County Jail (“Jail”) located in Edwardsville, Illinois, brings this action against the Madison County Circuit Court, four circuit court judges, a prosecuting attorney, his public defender, and his arresting officer pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-80. Plaintiff claims that these individuals violated his constitutional rights in connection with criminal proceedings that are now pending in Madison County Circuit Court. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He asks this Court to order that all charges be dropped against him, to order his release from custody, and to award him monetary damages. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

         (a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

         (b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The Complaint does not survive preliminary review under this standard.

         The Complaint

         The Complaint consists of a list of constitutional deprivations that allegedly occurred in connection with Plaintiff's arrest on February 3, 2016, and his subsequent criminal proceedings in three cases that are pending in Madison County Circuit Court. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Plaintiff maintains that the warrant for his arrest was issued without probable cause, an affirmation, or oath in violation of the Fourth Amendment. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He claims that Judge Shroder failed to “respect” him as an “Aboriginal Indigenous American, ” known as “William Ali, ex rel. William Cole” on February 14, 2017. Id. Plaintiff complains of Fifth Amendment due process violations resulting from the defendants' failure to reveal the basis for jurisdiction over him. Id. In addition, he complains of due process violations that resulted from the defendants' decision to move forward with criminal charges in Case Nos. 16 CF 1758 and 16 CF 3123 even after his fiancé filed a “cease and desist” “affidavit” demanding that the State of Illinois discontinue its efforts to pursue charges, protective orders, further injury, or punishment against Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Finally, Plaintiff maintains that the defendants have denied him a speedy trial, denied him discovery, used “unlawful and unconstitutional tactics, ” used “oppressive acts of state government, ” allowed “unreasonable delays, ” and have taken arbitrary actions against him, in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1, p. 6). In support of these claims, Plaintiff explains that no court stenographer was present at a hearing before Judge Shroder on February 14, 2017. Id. He complains that Judge Napp was formally assigned to his cases, but he has appeared before three other judges as well, including Judge Hightower, Judge Shroder, and Judge Tognarilli. Id. Plaintiff's criminal cases have been pending since February 3, 2016, and Plaintiff was not allowed to appear at hearings that were scheduled or rescheduled in these matters on three different dates in March 2017. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to organize the pro se action into a single count:

Count 1 - Defendants illegally arrested, charged, and prosecuted Plaintiff in Madison County Circuit Court Case Nos. 16 CF 313, 16 CF 1758, and 16 CF 3123, in violation of his constitutional rights and the Federal Tort ...

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