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Evanss v. Scott

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 13, 2017

CRAIG N. EVANS, Petitioner,
v.
GREGORY SCOTT, Program Director, Rushville Treatment/Detention Center, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, United States District Judge

         Petitioner Craig N. Evans was civilly committed under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons (SVP) Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1, et seq., in 2005. Ten years later, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. (Doc. 1).

         This matter is now before the Court on respondent's Motion to Dismiss Amended Habeas Corpus Petition. (Doc. 22). Petitioner responded to the motion at Doc. 24.

         Grounds Asserted for Habeas Relief

         The original petition sets forth four grounds for habeas relief:

1. The State was required to prove lack of ability to control dangerous sexual behavior for this type of civil commitment. Petitioner's lawyer “misinformed him that the State ‘could prove all requirements at trial' including that ‘lack of control is implicit in the mental disorder diagnosis from the DSM manual.'”
2. The State sought to prove that petitioner was substantially probable to reoffend by the testimony of an expert witness who relied on “risk assessment tools, ” but the risk assessment tools do not detect or measure the presence of or the severity of a mental disorder. His original commitment and annual continuance of commitment are predicated on the use of these tools.
3. The state used a doctor who was a Psy.D, and not an M.D., to diagnose petitioner with a mental abnormality. “The petitioner's liberty has been taken away from him based on an unqualified diagnosis by an unqualified non-medical doctor. Had appointed counsel at the 2005 proceedings been effective and challenged the State's evidence, the outcome would have been different.” Further, petitioner “does not suffer from any acquired or congenital brain abnormality as is absolutely required by the Act.”
4. Petitioner served six years imprisonment for his crimes, and the State's use of the “same fact pattern” to civilly commit him is a double jeopardy violation.[1]

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         Evans was convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, Aggravated Sexual Abuse and Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections on each conviction, to be served concurrently. See, Doc. 21, Ex. 1, p. 1.[2]

         A copy of the docket sheet from the civil commitment proceeding, In re Evans, Wabash County Circuit Court, Case No. 2005-MR-5, is attached to respondent's Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 22, as Exhibit 1. This docket sheet was obtained from the website judici.com. According to the docket sheet, the State filed a Petition for Sexually Violent Person Commitment in March 2005. The petition was granted on October 11, 2005. Doc. 22, Ex. 1, p. 5.

         A six-month reevaluation was done and, in April 2006, the court entered an order finding no probable cause to believe that petitioner was no longer a sexually violent person. Thereafter, annual reevaluations were done. Upon each annual review, the court found there was no probable cause to believe that petitioner was no longer a sexually violent person.

         The docket sheet attached to Doc. 22 goes through December 16, 2016. The most recent annual review reflected on that exhibit took place in July 2016. Once again, the court found no probable cause to believe that petitioner was no longer a sexually violent person. Through counsel, Evans filed a motion to reconsider.

         The online version of the docket sheet from petitioner's civil commitment case reflects that his motion to reconsider the July 2016 order was denied on March 28, 2017. See, http://www.judici.com/courts/cases/casehistory. jsp?court =IL093015J&ocl=IL093015J, 2005MR5, IL093015JL2005MR5D, visited on May 10, 2017. The docket sheet does not indicate that Evans filed a notice of appeal.

         According to the original habeas petition, Evans has never filed any state court action challenging his commitment because “Under Illinois law [, ] post-conviction, relief from judgment, and state Habeas are not available to me.” Doc. 1, p. 6. See also, Doc. 1, p. 8 (“I have no state court remedies to vacate judgment of commitment.”)

         This Court denied respondent's previous motion to dismiss as untimely because, under applicable Seventh Circuit precedent, a civilly committed person may bring a habeas petition challenging a subsequent order continuing his commitment. Each state order continuing the commitment “constitutes a new judgment for purposes of AEDPA, and therefore starts a new statute of limitations period.” Martin v. Bartow, 628 F.3d 871, 874 (7th Cir. 2010). The Seventh Circuit observed that “To hold otherwise would lead to one of two absurd results; either [petitioner] could never challenge an order continuing his commitment that was entered more than a year after his initial commitment order or the statute of limitations applicable to his initial commitment order would never expire.” Ibid.

         Respondent then filed a motion for more definite statement. The Court granted that motion and ordered petitioner to file an amended petition specifying which commitment order he is challenging. Seeking to cover all bases, petitioner filed an amended petition stating that he is challenging the ...


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