United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CRAIG N. EVANS Petitioner,
GREGORY SCOTT Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Herndon United States District Judge.
N. Evans (Petitioner) served six years' imprisonment in
the Illinois Department of Corrections for an unspecified
sexual crime. (Doc. 1, p. 14). In 2005, as his sentence was
expiring, the State of Illinois filed a petition to civilly
commit Petitioner as a sexually violent person under
Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (725
ILCS 207/1). Id. at p. 6. Petitioner waived trial
and stipulated to commitment. Id.
2015, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (§
2254), (Doc. 1), followed by an Amended Petition
incorporating the original petition, (Doc. 21). The Amended
Petition presents claims that have been exhausted in State
court and one claim that has not. For the following reasons,
the Court directs both parties to file memoranda addressing
whether this case should be stayed and held in abeyance to
afford Petitioner an opportunity to exhaust his non-exhausted
claim in State court. See Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S.
Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (the Act)
“allows the State to extend the incarceration of
criminal defendants beyond the time they would otherwise be
entitled to release if those defendants are found to be
‘sexually violent.'” In re Detention of
Samuelson, 189 Ill.2d 548, 552 (2000). The Act mandates
the Department of Human Services (DHS) conduct annual
re-evaluations of committed persons to determine (1) whether
the person is eligible for conditional release and (2)
whether the person is still a sexually violent person (SVP).
725 ILCS 207/55(a).
Petitioner's commitment, DHS conducted a six-month
re-evaluation in April 2006 and the State court found
“no probable cause” to believe Petitioner was no
longer an SVP. (Doc. 12, Ex. 1, p. 5). Petitioner underwent
annual evaluations thereafter and the court continued to find
Petitioner was an SVP through 2016. Id. at pp. 1-5.
filed a petition under § 2254 in 2015. (Doc. 1). He
argued his counsel was ineffective at the initial commitment
proceedings; the State improperly utilized “risk
assessment tools” to determine he is an SVP; the State
improperly relied on a Psy.D., rather than an M.D., to
diagnose him with a mental abnormality; and his commitment
violates the Double Jeopardy Clause. See Doc. 1.
filed a Motion to Dismiss the petition as untimely; he
asserted Petitioner's judgment became final on November
10, 2005, when the time for filing an appeal from his initial
commitment expired. (Doc. 12, p. 2). According to Respondent,
Petitioner had until one-year later to file a § 2254
Court denied Respondent's motion based on Seventh Circuit
precedent that a civilly committed person may bring a habeas
petition challenging a subsequent order continuing his
commitment. (Doc. 17, p. 7). Thus, each order continuing
Petitioner's commitment constituted a new judgment that
triggered a new statute of limitations. Id. The
Court concluded that Petitioner's claims “are
timely to the extent that they go to the 2015 order
continuing his commitment.” Id. at 8.
then filed a Motion for More Definite Statement, requesting
Petitioner specify the State judgment he challenges in his
§ 2254 petition. (Doc. 19). The Court granted the
motion, (Doc. 20), and Petitioner filed an “Amended
Petition for Clarification, ” (Doc. 21).
Amended Petition, Petitioner stated he challenges “the
findings, judgements, and orders pertaining to his civil
commitment and continued incarceration for the years of 2005
[through 2016].” Id. at p. 1. He also asserted
two new grounds for habeas relief: (1) his civil commitment
violated the plea agreement he executed in March of 2000, and
(2) all of his State-appointed counsel were ineffective,
beginning in 2005 during his initial commitment proceedings.
Id. at pp. 1-2.
moved to dismiss the petition as untimely. (Doc. 22). He also
asserted that under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971) the Court must abstain from addressing
Petitioner's claims related to the State court's 2016
commitment order because a motion for reconsideration was
pending. (Doc. 22). As an initial matter, the Court found
Petitioner's Amended Petition incorporated the grounds
for relief set forth in his initial petition. (Doc. 25, p.
8). The Court then granted the motion, in part, dismissing as
untimely Petitioner's claims related to all commitment
orders entered prior to September 8, 2015. (Doc. 25, p. 10).
The Court denied Respondent's motion to dismiss
Petitioner's claims related to the 2015 and 2016
commitment orders and instructed Respondent to file a
memorandum addressing (1) the status of Petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of the 2016 commitment order; and
(2) whether Petitioner exhausted his State remedies.
Id. at 10-11. Respondent filed the memorandum at