United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
STEPHEN C. COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
MARK BRADY, et al., Defendants.
SECOND MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action pro se from Pinckneyville Correctional
Center. The Court dismissed the complaint as barred by the
two-year statute of limitations but gave Plaintiff leave to
file an amended complaint.
has filed letters which have been docketed as a motion for
leave to file an amended complaint and motion to reconsider
the Court's ruling that this action is time-barred.
Court summarized in its first merit review order, Plaintiff
alleges that two parole officers interrogated Plaintiff on
August 6, 2013 without informing Plaintiff of his
Miranda rights. After that interrogation, Plaintiff
was arrested on charges regarding the possession and
manufacture/delivery of cannabis. Illinois v.
Coleman, 2013-CF-749 (Sangamon County). According to
Plaintiff, there was no probable cause for this arrest or his
continued detention, and he was subjected to an unreasonable
search and seizure. A review of the criminal docket shows
that Plaintiff's motion to suppress the statements he
made during the interrogation was granted. Id.,
7/30/14 docket entry. Plaintiff was then released on his own
recognizance in August 2014, while the State appealed.
Id. 8/13/14 docket entry. In August 2015, the State
dismissed the charges when the Illinois Appellate Court
affirmed the ruling. Id., 8/24/15 and 8/26/15
Court concluded that these claims were plainly barred by the
two-year statute of limitations. Woods v. Illinois Dept.
of Children and Family Serv., 710 F.3d 762, 768
(7th Cir. 2013)(“[T]he limitations period
applicable to all § 1983 claims brought in Illinois is
two years, . . . ."). The statute of limitations is an
affirmative defense, but the Court can dismiss a case sua
sponte if the issue is beyond debate. See Walker v.
Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005, 1009 (7th Cir.
2002)(“[W]hen the existence of a valid affirmative
defense is so plain from the face of the complaint that the
suit can be regarded as frivolous, the district judge need
not wait for an answer before dismissing the suit.”).
explains in his letters that he filed a lawsuit in circuit
court about these claims in 2013, that he did not know that
he had to keep the circuit court informed that he was no
longer incarcerated, and that he did not learn of that
case's dismissal until some time later, when he was
asking the clerk about his fines and retrieving his driving
license. (d/e 10 p. 1.)
only case the Court could find filed by Plaintiff in Sangamon
County is a mandamus action filed against Mark Brady, who is
also a Defendant in this case. 2014-MR-576. That case was
dismissed on December 1, 2014. That order appears to have
been returned as undeliverable about a week later.
circuit court case does not make this action timely.
Plaintiff's claims about unreasonable search and seizure
and not being read his Miranda rights accrued when
the alleged misconduct occurred on August 6, 2013, more than
four years before Plaintiff filed this action. See Neita
v. City of Chi., 830 F.3d 494, 498 (7th Cir.
2016)(“A Fourth Amendment claim accrues at the time of
the search or seizure.”). Plaintiff's claim for
arrest and pretrial detention without probable cause accrued
at the latest when Plaintiff was released from detention on
those charges in August 2014, more than three years before
Plaintiff filed this action. Manuel v. City of
Joliet, 137 S.Ct. 911 (2017); Lewis v. City of
Chicago, 914 F.3d 472, 478 (7th Cir.
2019)(wrongful pretrial detention claim accrues when the
detention ends). That Plaintiff was detained the next year on
different charges does not affect the analysis.
assuming for the sake of argument that the state court
mandamus action tolled the statute of limitations for this
action, the mandamus action was dismissed on December 2014,
three years before Plaintiff filed this case. Plaintiff's
failure to keep track of that case is not grounds to extend
the statute of limitations in this case. Tobey v.
Chibucos, 890 F.3d 634, 646 (7th Cir.
2018)(“[Plaintiff's] ignorance of his legal rights
does not affect the accrual of his claim for statute of
Plaintiff's motion for counsel is denied because
Plaintiff has not demonstrated reasonable efforts to find
counsel on his own. (d/e 9.) The Court also notes that
Plaintiff's filings coherently communicate the facts
giving rise to his claims.
Plaintiff's letters filed as motions are granted in part
and denied in part. (d/e's 10, 11, 12.) The motions are
granted to the extent the Court has considered
Plaintiff's arguments and allegations therein. The
motions are denied to the extent Plaintiff seeks
reconsideration of the Court's first merit review order.
action is dismissed with prejudice as barred by the ...