United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANDREW J. HILLIARD, No. 93387, Petitioner,
JOHN LAKIN, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon U.S. District Judge.
se Petitioner Andrew J. Hilliard, a pretrial detainee
being held in the Madison County Jail, has filed a Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Petitioner is being detained on state criminal charges
in No. 17-CF-3260. Petitioner objects to an order issued by
the state trial court on March 20, 2018, finding him
incompetent to stand trial. Additionally, Petitioner objects
to the trial court's decision to hold him without bond.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in United States District Courts. Rule 4 provides
that upon preliminary consideration by the district court
judge, “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and
any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the
petitioner.” Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court
the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus
cases, such as those under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. After
carefully reviewing the petition, the Court concludes that
this action must be dismissed.
to the Petition, on March 20, 2018, Petitioner, who is being
held without bond, was deemed “unfit to stand trial
without a fitness hearing.” (Doc. 1, p. 2). Petitioner
indicates that he has filed several motions pertaining to his
fitness to stand trial and/or pertaining to his pro
se status, terminating counsel, and seeking habeas
relief in the state court proceeding. Petitioner contends
that his motions remain “unanswered.”
Id. Plaintiff also alleges that the state trial
court has denied him due process and/or equal protection of
the law by failing to have a jury trial regarding his
competency and by failing to provide him with effective
counsel. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff also purports to bring
claims for cruel and unusual punishment pertaining to
conditions at the Madison County Jail.
connection with the above claims, Petitioner asks this Court
to order the state trial court to (1) hold a fitness hearing
and mandate that a jury render a decision on Petitioner's
competency; (2) compel the state trial court to answer
Plaintiff's motions; and (3) compel the state trial court
to issue a “reasonable” bond. Plaintiff also asks
the Court to order the Madison County Jail to take certain
action regarding the complained of conditions of confinement.
is challenging his state criminal proceedings in Madison
County No. 17-CF-3260. By all indications, the subject state
proceeding is currently pending. The most recent court order
was entered on April 16, 2018, stating as follows:
ORDER THE DEF HAS PERSONALLY FILED NUMEROUS MTNS IN THE ABOVE
MATTER. THE DEF WAS FOUND UNFIT TO STAND TRIAL ON 3/20/18,
AND REMANDED TO DHS FOR TX. GIVEN THAT HE IS CURRENTLY UNFIT,
THE LAW REQUIRES THAT HE BE REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL. THE LAW
DOES NOT PERMIT AN UNFIT DEF TO REPRESENT HIMSELF. THE
PD'S OFFICE CURRENTLY REPRESENTS THE DEF. UNTIL SUCH TIME
AS SAID MTNS ARE ADOPTED BY THE ATTY OF RECORD. THE COURT
WILL NOT ACT ON THEM. THE CLERK IS DIRECTED TO SEND A COPY OF
THIS ORDER ALONG W/ A COPY OF THE PRO SE PLEADINGS TO THE
ATTYS OF RECORD. THE CLERK SHALL ALSO SEND A COPY OF THIS
ORDER TO THE DEF.
2241 allows a pretrial detainee to bring a habeas corpus
petition, but this ability is limited by the policy of
federal courts not to interfere with pending state criminal
prosecutions except in special circumstances. Braden v.
30th Judicial Circuit Court of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489-92
(1973); Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43 (1971);
Sweeney v. Bartow, 612 F.3d 571, 573 (7th Cir.
2010); United States v. Castor, 937 F.2d 293, 296-97
(7th Cir. 1991); Neville v. Cavanaugh, 611 F.2d 673,
675 (7th Cir. 1979). Habeas corpus relief (under both §
2241 and § 2254) is limited to questions of federal law;
relief is unavailable for errors of state law. Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67 (1991).
Younger doctrine forbids federal courts, under most
circumstances, from enjoining an ongoing state criminal
proceeding. Younger v. Harrison, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
See also Gakuba v. O'Brien, 711 F.3d 751 (7th
Cir. 2013); Am. Civil Liberties Union of Ill. v.
Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 594 (7th Cir. 2012). Federal
courts must abstain from interfering with state court
criminal proceedings involving important state interests, as
long as the state court provides an opportunity to raise the
federal claims and no “exceptional circumstances”
exist. Stroman realty, Inc. v. Martinez, 505 F.3d
658, 662 (7th Cir. 2007). Exceptional circumstances have been
found in instances where irreparable damage would occur, such
as prosecutorial harassment and bad faith or speedy trial and
double jeopardy claims, but only where the petitioner has
first exhausted his 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). The petition describes
no exceptional circumstances. Therefore, this Court must
abstain from intruding into the State's criminal process
under such circumstances.
also brings claims pertaining to conditions of confinement at
the Madison County Jail. But a habeas petition is not the
proper vehicle for pursuing these claims. See 28
U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Glaus v. Anderson, 408
F.3d 382, 386- 87 (7th Cir. 2005); Williams v.
Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576, 579 (7th Cir. 2003). These
claims must be raised, if at all, in a separate action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973).
summary, the ongoing adjudication of Petitioner's
criminal case leads the Court to conclude that it should
abstain from intervening in this pending matter. Further, the
Court cannot provide any relief with regard to
Petitioner's conditions of confinement claims.
Accordingly, the Petition shall be dismissed. The dismissal
shall be without prejudice to any other habeas petition that
Petitioner may ...