United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert, United States District Judge
Terry Lee Pyles, a pretrial detainee at the Madison County
Jail, brings this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's claims
arise out of his arrest and pending prosecution in Madison
County, Illinois for meth manufacturing and possession of
meth manufacturing material. State of Illinois vs.
Pyles, Case No. 2017-cv-690 (trial set for September 11,
case is now before the Court for case management. As is set
forth more fully below, Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1)
fails to comply with Rule 10(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and is therefore subject to dismissal without
prejudice. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551
(7th Cir. 2005). Additionally, Plaintiff's pending
motions (Docs 5-7, 9) shall be denied.
for Failure to Comply with Rule 10(a)
Complaint is actually in the form of a letter to the Court
(addressed “to whom it may concern”) and purports
to raise claims pursuant to § 1983. (Doc. 1, p. 1). The
Complaint describes Plaintiff's arrest on March 7, 2017
and indicates that Plaintiff was the victim of excessive
force by one or more arresting officers. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-10).
The Complaint also alludes to other alleged violations of
Plaintiff's constitutional rights in connection with his
arrest and pending trial. Some of the allegations are
directed against unknown officials/officers at the Madison
County Sherriff's Office (Doc. 1, pp. 1-3, 6-10) and
other allegations appear to be directed against
Plaintiff's attorneys in his pending criminal case (Doc.
1, pp. 4-5).
the Clerk of the Court designated “Unknown Party,
Arresting Officers of Madison County Sheriff's
Department” as the Defendant in CM/ECF, these
individuals are not actually identified as defendants in the
caption of the Complaint. In fact, the Complaint does not
include a case caption or a list of defendants.
to Rule 10(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“[e]very pleading must have a caption with the
court's name, a title, a file number, and a Rule 7(a)
designation. The title of the complaint must name all
parties...” (emphasis added). Though seemingly
pedestrian, compliance with this aspect of Rule 10(a) is
mandatory. As the Seventh Circuit explained in
Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551 (7th Cir.
2005), in order to make someone a party, the plaintiff must
name the individual in the case caption and arrange for
service of process. Myles, 416 F.3d at 551. See
also Id. (“Naming and serving defendants is vital.
How can one defend without first becoming a party?”). A
pro se civil rights complaint that includes
allegations against individual officials not specifically
identified as defendants in the caption of the complaint does
not comply with Rule 10(a) and is subject to dismissal.
Id. at 551-53. In this scenario, it is
“unacceptable for a court to add litigants on its own
motion. Selecting defendants is a task for the plaintiff, not
the judge.” Id. at 552-53.
without a case caption, none of the individuals mentioned in
the body of the Complaint can properly be considered a party
under Rule 10(a). The Court cannot cure this deficiency on
its own motion by selecting individuals from the body of the
Complaint and adding them as defendants to the instant
action. Accordingly, as written, the Complaint does not
specify a defendant and is subject to dismissal. However, the
dismissal shall be without prejudice and with leave to amend.
See Donald v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 95
F.3d 548, 555 (7th Cir. 1996) (“When the substance of a
pro se civil rights complaint indicates the
existence of claims against individual officials not
specifically named in the caption of the complaint, the
district court must provide the petitioner with an
opportunity to amend the complaint.”)
to File for a Habeas Corpus Petition
has filed a pleading entitled “Notice to file for a
Habeas Corpus Petition.” (“Notice”) (Doc.
6). In the Notice, Plaintiff asks to be “granted a
habeas corpus.” (Doc. 6, p. 1). Plaintiff contends that
he has been the victim of excessive force and raises several
arguments in support of his request for release from jail,
including alleged due process violations, lack of probable
cause for arrest, and false charges. Plaintiff has also filed
a Supplement in support of his Notice (Doc. 10) raising
Notice, which challenges the fact of his confinement and
seeks release from jail, must be denied. A request for
release from jail cannot be combined with a § 1983
action for monetary damages. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). If Plaintiff wishes
to challenge his confinement, he must file a separate
habeas corpus action in either state or federal court.
Plaintiff is challenging his pretrial custody, any federal
habeas corpus action would arise under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
Jacobs v. McCoaughtry, 251 F.3d 596, 597 (7th Cir.
2001); Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 633 (7th
Cir. 2000). Section 2241 allows a pretrial detainee to bring
a habeas corpus petition, but this ability is limited by
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). Pursuant to
Younger, unless “exceptional
circumstances” exist, federal courts must abstain from
interfering with pending state proceedings to enforce a
state's criminal laws. Stroman Realty, Inc., v.
Martinez, 505 F.3d 658, 662 (7th Cir. 2007); see
also Younger, 401 U.S. at 43, 49. Exceptional
circumstances have been found where irreparable damage would
occur, such as prosecutorial harassment and bad faith, or
speedy trial and double jeopardy claims-and then only after
the petitioner has exhausted available state court remedies.
Younger, 401 U.S. at 43, 49; Braden v. 30th
Judicial Circuit Court of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489-92
(1973) (collecting cases).
should keep these principles in mind in deciding whether to
initiate a federal habeas corpus action.