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Williams v. Dorethy

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 16, 2019

KEITH L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STEPHANIE DORETHY, Warden, Hill Correctional Center, et al, Defendants-Appellees.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit No. 18-MR-18, Knox County, Illinois. The Honorable Scott Shipplett, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: Keith L. Williams, of Galesburg, appellant pro se

          Attorneys for Appellee: No brief filed for appellees

          JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Carter dissented, with opinion.

          OPINION

          MCDADE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The plaintiff, Keith L. Williams, an inmate at the Hill Correctional Center (HCC), requested leave to file a mandamus petition against numerous defendants, including Stephanie Dorethy, the warden of HCC. The court allowed the filing and sua sponte dismissed the petition. On appeal, Williams argues that the court erred when it dismissed his petition. We reverse and remand.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On February 13, 2018, Williams filed a pro se request for leave to file a mandamus petition against the defendants. The petition alleged various violations and/or abuses of prison policies by HCC administration and staff.

         ¶ 4 In a letter to Williams dated February 15, 2018, the circuit court allowed the petition to be filed and dismissed the petition. After citing case law on what is required to survive a challenge to the legal sufficiency of a mandamus complaint, the court stated:

"Your Petition is an amalgamation of every complaint that you have against the Department of Corrections, against the Judgment of Conviction, actions in Federal Court, housing placement, denial of a 'holiday shop' handling of disciplinary reports, and really countless other grievances, none of which touch on the simple 4 requirements of a Mandamus complaint as stated above.
For these reasons, the Court will allow your filing without cost, deny your Petition for Counsel, and Dismiss the Petition Instanter."

         The dismissal was entered before any of the defendants had been served.

         ¶ 5 Williams filed a timely notice of appeal. The record indicates that the defendants were never notified of the ...


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