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Hernandez v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 6, 2019

DAVID HERNANDEZ, # M49253, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff David Hernandez, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Plaintiff was convicted in state court of an unspecified Class X sex crime and sentenced to six years' imprisonment. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). His sentence is subject to 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3, pertaining to calculation of sentence credit. Id. On sentences imposed for most crimes, a prisoner will receive a day of sentence credit for each day served-that is, he will serve 50 percent of his sentence. 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2.1). Similarly, a prisoner can earn sentence credit for things like passing a high school equivalency exam, participating in substance abuse programs or for good conduct. Id., §§ 3-6-3(a)(3) and (4). The statute provides, however, that prisoners sentenced for certain types of crimes or serving certain types of sentences (e.g. natural life in prison) are ineligible for such credit or are subject to limits on how much sentence credit they can receive for time served. Id., § 2. For those convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and criminal sexual assault, the statute limits them to a maximum of 4.5 days of sentence credit for each month of imprisonment. Id., § 2(ii). Prisoners convicted of certain sex offenses are ineligible to receive sentence credit at all unless they are participating in or have completed sex offender treatment. Id., § 4.6. Further, prisoners who are sentenced to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence are ineligible for credits which would take them below that threshold. Id., § 4.7(i).

         Some sex offenders are subject to special conditions related to mandatory supervised release (“MSR”). For an offender like Plaintiff, who has been convicted of certain offenses, the offender is subject to a MSR term of three years to life. 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(4). A person with such an indeterminate MSR sentence can apply for termination of his MSR, although such an application must be supported by a recommendation from the individual's supervising agent. 730 ILCS 5/3-14-2.5(d). Additionally, one of those special conditions of MSR is that the period of supervised release is tolled while the prisoner is incarcerated. 730 ILCS 5/3-14-2.5(e).

         In a type-written portion of his Complaint, which appears to be of the fill-in-the-blank variety, Plaintiff alleges that each of these special sections applies to him, and that they are constitutionally infirm. In a separate hand-written portion of the Complaint, Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants have kept him in prison on “dead time” (time past his proper release date, presumably as calculated using the day-for-day sentence credits he contends are properly applicable), have “taken it [u]pon themselves when the[y] want[] [to] decide to release [Plaintiff]” and “refuse[s] to as[s]ign me a parole officer…who can petition the [P]arole [B]oard to release [Plaintiff] from parole[.]” (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following six counts:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim regarding the statutory limitation of time-served credit to 4.5 days per month for Plaintiff's type of conviction when other crimes are allowed day-for-day time-served credits;
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim that the statutory limitation on sentence credits for sex offenders to those involved in sex offender treatment programs is void as unconstitutionally vague;
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment claim that the provision related to termination of MSR is unconstitutionally vague, as it allows a supervisor to arbitrarily refuse to support a supervisee's application for termination;
Count 4: Eighth Amendment claim that the tolling of MSR period while incarcerated creates “dead time” and improperly extends Plaintiff's sentence;
Count 5: Fourteenth Amendment claim for arbitrarily holding Plaintiff in prison past his proper release date; and
Count 6: Fourteenth Amendment claim for denial of due process in arbitrarily failing to assign a ...

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