United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
FREDERICK J. KAPALA, District Judge
§ 2254 petition for a writ of habeas corpus, construed
as a § 2241 petition, is dismissed without prejudice
pursuant to Rule 4. No. certificate of appealability will
issue. This case is closed.
Paul Anthony Mathis, is a pretrial detainee in the Winnebago
County Jail (“WCJ”) in the custody of respondent
Winnebago County Sheriff Gary L. Caruana. Mathis has five
criminal cases pending in the Circuit Court for the
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Winnebago County, Illinois.
Mathis has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which this
court construes as a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241, which is applicable to pretrial detainees, contending
that he “has been detained at the WCJ for over six
years and four months . . . under an alleged charge in which
petitioner was never indicted.” Mathis contends that he
is being held in violation of the United States Constitution
because his speedy-trial rights are being violated. After
careful consideration, the court concludes that the petition
fails the initial review this court must conduct pursuant to
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts. Specifically, this court must
abstain from interfering with state criminal prosecutions
where, as here, petitioner has not exhausted his state-court
remedies and because no extraordinary circumstances are
was charged on December 24, 2011, with violating the Illinois
Sex Offender Registration Act and was released on bond until
he was arrested on February 10, 2012, on similar charges.
People v. Mathis, Nos. 11 CF 3537 & 12 CF 396.
In the second of these cases, Mathis was found guilty by a
jury and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment before the
Illinois Appellate Court vacated his conviction and remanded
for new trial holding that the trial court erred in allowing
Mathis to waive his right to counsel. People v.
Mathis, 2015 IL App (2d) 131158-U. Mathis is also
charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim
under thirteen years of age. People v. Mathis, Nos.
12 CF 698. That case is set for jury trial on August
13, 2018. There are also two charges of felony criminal
damage to property brought against Mathis on October 14, 2015
and October 11, 2016, respectively. In all these pending
cases, Mathis was found fit to stand trial on June 20, 2018,
and the cases are set for a status hearing on July 27, 2018.
2241 allows a pretrial detainee to bring a habeas corpus
petition, but this ability is limited by the desire 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, 43-44
(1971); Sweeney v. Bartow, 612 F.3d 571, 573 (7th
Cir. 2010). Exceptional circumstances include when the
pending state court proceeding is motivated by a desire to
harass or is conducted in bad faith, or where the plaintiff
will be irreparably harmed without immediate relief.
FreeEats.com, Inc. v. Indiana, 502 F.3d 590, 596-97
(7th Cir. 2007). “Relief for state pretrial detainees
through a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
generally limited to speedy trial and double jeopardy claims,
and only after the petitioner has exhausted state-court
remedies.” Olsson v. Curran, 328 Fed.Appx.
334, 335 (7th Cir. 2009).
plaintiff has been in custody at the WCJ since February 10,
2012, for over two years of that time (from October 24, 2013
to December 11, 2015) he was also serving the now-vacated
prison sentence imposed in 13 CF 396. The record also shows
that extended periods of delay in these cases were the result
of Mathis' repeated refusals to leave the WCJ to attend
court. Moreover, a great deal of the delay is attributed to
mental health evaluations conducted at the request of
Mathis' own counsel and subsequent fitness
determinations. In any event, this is not one of the
exceptional circumstances where a federal court may intervene
in a state criminal prosecution because Mathis has not
alleged that he has exhausted his state court remedies or
alleged extraordinary circumstances. Mathis' best effort
on this point is his assertion that he made an oral motion
for a speedy trial in 12 CF 698 on June 18, 2012, but the
docket entry for that date reflects no such motion. Even if
such a motion were made, Mathis does not allege that he
sought review of the denial of that motion. See
Olsson, 328 Fed.Appx. at 335 (holding dismissal on
Younger abstention ground was proper where the
petitioner had not exhausted his state court remedies);
Tran v. Bartow, 210 Fed.Appx. 538, 540 (7th Cir.
2006) (holding that district court properly dismissed §
2241 petition for failure to exhaust where the petitioner
could have, but did not, present his claims to the Wisconsin
courts by obtaining a ruling on his motion to dismiss and
then seeking a discretionary appeal). Mathis also alleges
that he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in 2013 in
12 CF 396 and that the court ignored it. However, there is no
allegation or indication in the record that Mathis sought
relief by seeking a writ of mandamus or other remedy from the
Illinois courts. Moreover, Mathis has not alleged
extraordinary circumstances, such as harassment or bias, to
justify this court enjoining the ongoing state-court criminal
proceeding. For the reasons stated, Mathis' § 2241
petition is dismissed without prejudice.
Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 cases in the United States District Courts gives
this court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas
corpus cases like the instant § 2241 petition.
Mathis asserts that he has not been
indicted in this case but the record shows otherwise. A bill
of indictment was filed on April 11, 2012. Nevertheless, even
if there were no indictment, its absence would not be grounds
for federal habeas relief because there is no constitutional
right to indictment in state court.
In fact, Mathis has at least two
petitions for writs of habeas corpus pending before the state
court in case numbers 18 MR 395 and 18 MR 237. These
petitions need to be resolved in state court before this
federal district ...