Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wells v. Fowler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 19, 2018

LONNIE T. WELLS, Plaintiff,
v.
RALPH FOWLER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Plaintiff Lonnie T. Wells filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while he was incarcerated at Taylorville Correctional Center (“Taylorville”). He has since been released. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff brings the action against Ralph Fowler, the Assistant State's Attorney who successfully prosecuted Plaintiff for conspiracy. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-6). Plaintiff alleges that Attorney Fowler improperly used evidence from an overturned child abuse and neglect case to prove the State's case against Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-6). The Complaint contains no request for relief. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         This matter 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

         According to the allegations set forth in the Complaint, Attorney Fowler used evidence and information from an overturned child abuse and neglect case against Dixon Turner to secure a conviction for conspiracy against Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-6). That evidence included information taken from a prior Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) case against Plaintiff that resulted in no finding of guilt. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff claims that Attorney Fowler engaged in misconduct in an effort to secure a conviction against Plaintiff in the criminal conspiracy case. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-6).

         Sometime in 2014, the Department of Human Services (“DHS”) located in Charleston, Illinois, filed a report against Dixon Turner for child abuse and neglect (Case #2156645A). (Doc. 1, p. 4). Following a hearing in Coles County, Turner was found guilty. Id. She filed an appeal in May or June 2014. Id.

         Attorney Fowler, who serves as the Assistant State's Attorney in Effingham County, Illinois, attended the hearing on appeal in Coles County. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). Attorney Fowler allegedly “helped” Turner with her appeal, by offering information from a prior case involving Plaintiff that never resulted in a finding of guilt or a conviction. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The caseworker involved in Plaintiff's underlying case, Jeanie Parker, was not present and did not testify. Id. Plaintiff and his mother, who were present at the hearing, were not allowed to testify. Id. Turner prevailed on appeal. Id.

         Attorney Fowler then introduced evidence of Turner's overturned case in the State's criminal case against Plaintiff for conspiracy. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Although Plaintiff's criminal defense attorney subpoenaed Jeannie Parker to testify at Plaintiff's criminal trial, she was not allowed to do so. Id. Attorney Fowler's “‘evidence' against [Plaintiff] was the case he helped cover up.” Id. At the time of doing so, Plaintiff insists that he was “out of his jurisdiction.” Id. Attorney Fowler ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.