Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Baker v. People

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 1, 2019

DONNIE BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
PEOPLE OF STATE OF ILLINOIS, JOHN BALDWIN, CAMBELL, LESLIE McCARTY, WARDEN 1, WARDEN 2, and LULIE TANNER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Following his release from prison, Plaintiff Donnie Baker filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming he was denied timely release “under 1978 law” and in violation of his constitutional rights. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He seeks money damages. (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff filed the action without paying a filing fee or seeking permission to proceed as a poor person. 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

         Three weeks later, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5). Because he was not in prison when he filed the action, Plaintiff does not meet the definition of “prisoner”[1] under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h). A federal district court may nevertheless allow a civil case to proceed without prepayment of fees, if the applicant demonstrates he is indigent under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), and his Complaint survives review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         Section 1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of the Complaint. The district court may deny an otherwise qualified plaintiff leave to proceed IFP and dismiss a case, if the action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks money damages from an immune defendant. Id.; Lucien v. Roegner, 682 F.2d 625, 626 (7th Cir. 1982). The test for determining if an action is frivolous or meritless under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is whether the plaintiff can make a rational argument on the law or facts in support of the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim 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). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff includes no statement of claim in the Complaint. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-19). On page 4, he simply indicates that he was “denied release under 1978 law” in violation of his constitutional rights. (Id. at p. 4). On page 5, he requests $2 million. (Id. at p. 5).

         Attached to the Complaint are exhibits that offer some insight into his claims. (Id. at pp. 6-10, 16-17). Plaintiff includes grievances and appeals from 2016 and 2017. According to them, Plaintiff was approved for release from confinement by the Prison Review Board (“PRB”) on March 8, 2017. His release was delayed because no suitable host site could be found. Plaintiff argued that he was entitled to release to a halfway house because he is not a sex offender. (Id.).

         The remaining exhibits offer a different version of events. (Id. at pp. 12-15). They indicate that Plaintiff appeared before the PRB on March 22, 2017. He was declared a parole violator as of January 26, 2017. (Id. at pp. 13-14). A PRB Order states that “[p]arole/[r]elease” would be “RESUMED . . . [e]ffective when plans are approved.” (Id. at p. 14).

         Discussion

         Plaintiff's Complaint does not survive screening under Section 1915(e)(2) because it fails to state any claim for relief. The omission of a statement of claim is generally fatal to a Complaint. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a plaintiff to include a short and plain statement of the claim against each defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff must include enough facts to show that he or she is entitled to relief. Id.; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Although “detailed factual allegations are not required, ” Rule 8 does call for enough facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In the Complaint, Plaintiff includes a single vague reference to a “constitutional rights violation” resulting from “being denied release under 1978 law.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). This allegation falls well below the pleading standard described in Rule 8, Iqbal, and Twombly.

         Although Plaintiff's exhibits shed some light on his possible claims, the exhibits alone are not enough to state a plausible claim against anyone, because Plaintiff provides no context for them. They offer what appear to be conflicting accounts of Plaintiff's eligibility for release from confinement. The Court will not attempt to guess Plaintiff's reasons for bringing this action or to craft his claims for him. Moreover, the Court will certainly not require the defendants to answer or otherwise respond.

         Disposition

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 5) is DENIED, and the Complaint (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         IT IS ORDERED that, should he wish to proceed any further with this action, Plaintiff must: (1) file a Renewed/Second Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis or prepay the full $400.00 filing fee for this action no later than August 1, 2019; and (2) file a First Amended Complaint that includes a statement of claim by the same deadline of August 1, 2019. Failure to comply with this deadline or the instructions in this Order shall result in dismissal of this action with prejudice for failure to comply with a court ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.