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Dinwiddie v. Sullivan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 23, 2018

STEVE DINWIDDIE, N-08328, Petitioner,
v.
DANIEL SULLIVAN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Herndon, Judge

         Petitioner Steve Dinwiddie is currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“BMRCC”) as a sexually dangerous person (“SDP”). He has been in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) since 1998, when his civil commitment trial was concluded in Jefferson County Circuit Court. He brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge the constitutionality of his confinement.

         This 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.” After carefully reviewing the Petition, the Court concludes that this action is subject to dismissal.

         Background

         This action represents Dinwiddie's seventh[1] attempt to seek habeas relief from this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Each of his previous habeas petitions has been dismissed.

         The procedural history of Dinwiddie's April 30, 1998, civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person (Doc. 1, p. 7), and his subsequent challenges in state court to his continued confinement, was discussed in detail in this Court's order dismissing his first petition for habeas relief. See Dinwiddie v. Evans, No. 05-cv-886-GPM-DGW. (Doc. 30, Memorandum and Order of April 21, 2008, adopting report of Magistrate Judge). His attempts to challenge the SDP commitment in this Court were thoroughly described in the order dismissing Dinwiddie's fifth petition for habeas relief, and shall not be repeated here in detail. See Dinwiddie v. Roeckeman, No. 14-cv-01360-DRH (Doc. 7, Memorandum and Order dismissing case).

         To briefly summarize, Dinwiddie has raised challenges several times to his initial 1998 judgment ordering him to be held in custody as an SDP. In his first habeas action, this Court ruled that his claims were time-barred under 28 U.S.C.

         § 2244(d)(1). Dinwiddie's challenges to 2 of the 3 recovery proceedings brought in state court after 1998 were similarly time-barred by § 2244(d)(1). His attack on the third recovery proceeding was ruled to be procedurally barred. See Dinwiddie v. Evans, No. 05-cv-886-GPM-DGW (Doc. 30).

         Three habeas Petitions filed by Dinwiddie in 2008 and 2009, as well as his 2014 Petition, were all dismissed because he had failed to obtain the required advance authorization to file a second or successive § 2254 petition from the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. See Dinwiddie v. Roeckeman, No. 14-cv-01360-DRH (Doc. 7). Dinwiddie's sixth federal habeas case, filed in 2016, was dismissed because he had failed to exhaust his remedies in state court after filing a state habeas petition in 2015 in Jefferson County, Illinois, which was still pending when he sought federal relief. Dinwiddie v. Vaughan, et al., No. 16-cv-156-DRH (Doc. 5 in that case).

         The Petition

         In the present action, Dinwiddie once again seeks to challenge the original state court order committing him as a sexually dangerous person. (Doc. 1). Notably, his Petition states that it is brought pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/10-124, which is a section of the Illinois statute governing a state court habeas corpus action. (Doc. 1, p. 1). However, because this Court has jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases under federal statutes, not state statutes, the Petition is construed as having been brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         The Petition begins by asserting that the Circuit Court in Jefferson County lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Dinwiddie's civil commitment action. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). However, Dinwiddie does not develop an argument to explain why he believes subject matter jurisdiction was lacking in that proceeding. He then complains that the Illinois post-conviction hearing act is not available to a person confined as an SDP. (Doc. 1, p. 2).

         Next, Dinwiddie goes on to argue that his trial counsel in the 1998 SDP proceeding was ineffective, because he failed to call a Mt. Vernon police officer (Greenwood), as well as other officers, as witnesses at the trial. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). The attorney also failed to impeach Plaintiff's ex-wife (a witness for the State) with an allegedly false or inconsistent statement she had given to the police. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         As relief, Dinwiddie requests this Court to reverse the April 30, 1998, state court order committing him as a ...


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