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Maethis v. Stapleton

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 26, 2017

OFFICER ADAM STAPLETON #283, et al., Defendants.


          Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge.

         Promptly after prisoner plaintiff Carluis Maethis ("Maethis") utilized a Clerk's-Office-supplied form of ""Complaint Under the Civil Rights Act, Title 42 Section 1983" to target the City of Joliet and a substantial number of members of its Police Department with charges that they violated his constitutional rights so as to subject them to liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), this Court sought to obtain from the Will County Jail (where Maethis was and is in custody) the added information as to Maethis' trust fund account there that would enable this Court to make the determination under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 ("Section 1915") that Congress has established for prisoner plaintiffs. When the trust fund officer at the Will County Jail was uncooperative in responding to that request, this Court issued an October 17, 2016 memorandum order to provide such information forthwith.

         It took the uncooperative staff person at the Will County Jail fully a month to comply with that request (the information arrived at this District Court's Clerk's Office on November 18, 2016). Then some further delay was occasioned by the fact that Maethis' contemporaneous Motion for Attorney Representation necessitated this Court's inquiry into other litigation brought by Maethis (both in the Illinois state court system and in a federal case assigned to this Court's colleague Honorable Robert Dow, Jr.) to see whether counsel who had been appointed to represent Maethis in the action before Judge Dow could also serve as his counsel in this case. When that possibility proved impractical because extended delays in the resolution of Maethis' state court lawsuit precluded any possibility of the consolidated handling of his two federal actions, this Court not only carried out its Section 1915 responsibilities but also obtained the designation of a member of the District Court trial bar -- Kevin Joseph Glenn, Esq. ("Glenn") --to serve as Maethis' counsel in this case (see Dkt. No. 8, this Court's February 27, 2017 memorandum order).

         Because of the sprawling narrative form of Maethis' Complaint ¶ IV Statement of Claim, this Court's expectation was that attorney Glenn, after making it his first order of business to meet with Maethis, would then develop a suitable Amended Complaint that complied with the federal system's regime of notice pleading rather than fact pleading. But what ensued as a result of the meeting between attorney Glenn and Maethis was described by Glenn in the attached transcript of the April 28, 2017 status hearing in the case (Dkt. No. 13), which is truly self-explanatory. As the transcript reflects, this Court granted attorney Glenn's request to withdraw without his having to file the civil case equivalent of an Anders brief.

         It should be added that attorney Glenn is an experienced member (he was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1979) of a first-rate law firm engaged in the litigation practice, so that his statement cannot be discounted as the type of reaction that might perhaps be expected from a lawyer with limited experience. Under the District Court rules dealing with assignments of members of the trial bar to represent pro se plaintiffs, the designating court has the discretion either to appoint or not to appoint a replacement for a lawyer who has withdrawn from such representation. Under the circumstances described here, this Court exercises that discretion by not drafting another member of the trial bar to represent Maethis, so that he is free to proceed pro se. This matter is set for a status hearing at 9 a.m. June 12, 2017, and the authorities at the Will County Jail (to whom a copy of this memorandum order is being transmitted) are ordered to make arrangements for Maethis to participate telephonically in that status hearing.



         For the Plaintiff: FORAN GLENNON PALANDER PONZI & RUDLOFF PC BY: MR. KEVIN J. GLENN 222 North LaSalle Street Suite 1400 Chicago, Illinois 60601

         Court Reporter: ROSEMARY SCARPELLI 219 South Dearborn Street Room 2304A Chicago, Illinois 60604 (312) 435-5815


         THE CLERK: 16 C 9500, Maethis versus Stapleton.

         MR. GLENN: Good morning, your Honor, Kevin Glenn on behalf of Mr. Maethis. The last time I was here I told you that I wanted to go out and actually interview Mr. Maethis, and I needed your court order to do that. That has been accomplished.

         Without waiving any of the privilege, Mr. Maethis doesn't need a lawyer, he needs a psychiatrist. He -- I don't believe that there is a valid civil rights claim here. What I sense is going on is a vendetta. Mr. Maethis has fired the Public Defender that represented him two years ago for the -- on this breaking into an auto case and has sought repeated continuances of his trial and has remained in jail for over two years now because of his own conduct.

         He wants to obtain the 911 call recording, and his Public Defender refused to do that. When I interviewed him on Wednesday, that was at least half of our conversation. I am convinced what he is trying to do here is identify the person who, as he put it, ratted him out so that in some manner he can execute -- ...

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