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Powell v. Scott

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 3, 2019

Harold Powell, Petitioner,
v.
Gregg Scott, Director, Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, and Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, State of Illinois, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. KENDALL JUDGE

         Petitioner Harold Powell, an Illinois state inmate, brings this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Dkt. 1). Powell is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services at the Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, Illinois and asks this Court to grant the petition and order his immediate release on eight grounds. For the reasons detailed within, Powell's petition is denied for stating claims not cognizable under § 2254.

         BACKGROUND

         Harold Powell was convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Kidnapping in 1987. (Dkt. 1, at ¶ 5). Powell was originally sentenced to a term of natural life, but on appeal his sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing. (Id. at ¶ 6). He was ultimately sentenced to a term of 30 years for the sexual assault and fifteen years for the kidnapping, with the sentences running concurrently. (Id.) The Illinois Department of Corrections calculated Powell's Projected Mandatory Supervised Release (“MSR”) date as September 30, 2000 and Powell's complete discharge from his sentence to be September 30, 2003. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-8).

         On September 25, 2000, five days before Powell's MSR date, the State of Illinois, in conjunction with the Cook County State's Attorney, filed a Petition to Commit Harold Powell as a sexually violent person under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (“the Act”). (Dkt. 1, at ¶¶ 9, 35). After a hearing on October 25, 2000, the court found there was probable cause that Powell was subject to commitment under the Act. (Dkt. 17-1, In re Det. Powell, 2016 ILL App (1st) 130795-U). Powell's attorney had stipulated to the probable cause finding. (Dkt. 1, at ¶ 34). Subsequently, Powell moved to dismiss the petition arguing that it was not timely filed under the deadlines outlined in the Act. Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court found the petition was timely as any delay was the result of Powell's refusal to sign his MSR. In re Det. of Powell, 217 Ill.2d 123, 142-43 (2005).

         Powell's civil commitment trial began on March 1, 2011 and a mistrial was declared after the jury was unable to agree on a verdict. See In re Det. of Powell, No. 00 CR 80003 (Ill. Cir. Ct. March 8, 2011). Powell again moved to dismiss the petition under the premise that the Act required dismissal upon a hung jury, but the trial court denied this motion. See In re Det. of Powell, No. 00 CR 80003 (Ill. Cir. Ct. March 15, 2011). Approximately one year later, Powell sought leave from the Illinois Supreme Court for leave to file a complaint for an order of mandamus directing the trial court to dismiss the petition. This motion was denied on April 16, 2012. See Powell v. Porter, No. 114024 (Ill. 2012).

         Powell proceeded to file a Motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 along with a Motion to Stay the State Court Proceedings in the Sexually Violent Persons Petition. Powell's § 2241 petition, based largely on identical claims as the present Petition, was dismissed without prejudice due to this Court's jurisdictional restrictions related to concurrent state court proceedings. Powell v. Saddler, 2012 WL 3880198, at *7 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 6, 2012).

         The State began its second trial of Powell under the Act on September 18, 2012. See In re Det. Powell, 2016 IL App (1st) 130795-U, at ¶8. The jury returned a verdict in favor of commitment and the court issued an order committing Powell to the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Id. at ¶14. Powell then appealed the verdict to the Illinois Appellate Court which affirmed the verdict and trial court order. Id. at ¶ 162. Powell's petition for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois was denied. (Dkt. 17-1, PLA and Order, In re Det. Powell, No. 120794).

         Powell timely filed the instant Petition on July 20, 2017, and seeks his immediate release on the following eight grounds:

1) The petition to civilly commit Powell was not timely filed.
2) Powell never received a probable cause hearing as required by the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.
3) Ex post facto principles prevented the application of the 2001 amendments of the Act to Powell's case.
4) The delay in going to trial violated both the United States and Illinois Constitutions.
5) Principles of double jeopardy prevented the re-trial of Powell after the jury failed to ...

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