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Teen v. Cruse

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 20, 2018

ANTRELL TEEN, #461504, Plaintiff,
v.
ZINA CRUSE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Antrell Teen, a detainee at St. Clair County Jail, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Zina Cruse improperly handled his criminal proceedings. (Doc. 1). This case 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).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to summarily dismiss this case.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): Defendant Zina Cruse is the presiding judge at St. Clair County Twentieth Judicial District Court in Belleville, Illinois. (Doc. 1, p. 1). At all times relevant to the Complaint, she was also the presiding judge in Plaintiff's criminal proceeding. Id.

         Plaintiff was arrested December 11, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 2). On December 16, 2015, he “invoked his rights to a speedy trial 725 ILCS 5/103-5 to Judge Clay during arraignment of criminal charges of 1st degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm.” Id. Later that month, Plaintiff appeared in court and informed Public Defender Greg Nester that he had invoked his right to a speedy trial. Id.

         Plaintiff met Mark Peebles, the public defender assigned to his case, during the second week of February 2016. Id. Plaintiff also informed Peebles that he invoked his right to a speedy trial, and told him “if he could not perform under the boundaries set by the statute that he should remove himself from [Plaintiff's] case.” Id. Peebles assured Plaintiff that he could, but he “became evasive and unresponsive” in March 2016. Id. Plaintiff wrote to Cruse and the public defender supervisor, and “informed them of [his] concerns of bad faith delay, due process, and speedy trial being affected by ineffective counsel.” Id. Nothing was done. Id.

         In April 2016, Plaintiff called the court and discovered that “a toll was used to suspend the statute of limitation of the speedy trial.” Id. He immediately wrote objecting to this and asking for an evidentiary hearing. Id. On April 13, 2016, Plaintiff wrote a pro se dismissal motion. Id. He was taken to court for his first status conference on April 28, 2016, “outside of the 120 days allowed.” Id. Plaintiff objected to Peebles' actions. Id.

         Plaintiff was again taken to Court on May 2, 2016, where he “objected to all trial dates, objected to Peebles, and objected to the state.” Id. Plaintiff was brought to trial June 20, 2016 without the evidentiary hearing he requested, “and in violation [of] 725 ILCS 5/103-5, due process, and the 6th Amendment.” Id. Cruse allowed this “and operated outside of her jurisdiction.” Id. Plaintiff ...


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