Mitchell v. U.S.P.-Marion, IL et al
ORDER denying 304 Motion to Seal; denying 305 Motion to Amend/Correct; denying 307 Motion to Stay; denying 313 Motion to be Reserved with Court Order; denying 313 Motion for Extension of Time to File; denying 314 Motion for Leave to Appeal in forma pauperis; denying 318 Motion for Relief from Judgment. See order for details. Signed by Chief Judge David R. Herndon on 05/21/2014. (kbl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
D. WALLACE MITCHELL,
CHARLES A. DANIELS, Warden,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, Chief Judge:
This matter comes before the Court on petitioner D. Wallace Mitchell’s
(“Mitchell”) objection and motion to seal records (Doc. 304), motion to correct
record (Doc. 305), motion to stay sanctions pending appeal (Doc. 307), motion to
be reserved with court order (Doc. 313), motion for extension of time to file a
motion for relief from judgment (Doc. 313), motion for leave to appeal in forma
pauperis (Doc. 314), and motion for relief from judgment (Doc. 318).
Government has responded to the motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis
(Doc. 317). For the following reasons, petitioner’s motions are DENIED.
Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams with the following
Mitchell's petition was denied with prejudice as a sanction for
fraud upon the Court. The Court additionally fined Mitchell $1,000 for his fraud
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on the Court and directed the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) to put this fine on
petitioner’s trust account as a debt to the Court, to be deducted from his account
in amounts at the BOP’s discretion pursuant to the Inmate Financial
The Court also ordered that until petitioner paid the
sum in full to the Clerk of Court, he was barred from filing further civil suits in
this Court. In the alternative, the petition was denied as moot. The Court also
declined to issue a certificate of appealability.
On April 1, 2014, the Government moved to amend/correct the Clerk’s
judgment (Doc. 300) asserting the Mitchell did not participate in the Inmate
Financial Responsibility Program and, at the time the motion to amend was filed,
had approximately $9,000 in his trust fund account. In support of this assertion,
the Government provided the Court with petitioner’s trust fund statement from
10/01/2013 to 04/01/2014 indicating an ending balance of $9,027.81 on
3/31/2014 and a deposit of $13,758.18 in the preceding 6 months (Ex. 1).
Petitioner did not respond. The Court granted the motion on April 18, 2014 and
amended its order such that the BOP was directed to withdraw the $1,000 fine
from Mitchell’s inmate trust fund account to satisfy the Court’s sanction (Doc.
Petitioner subsequently filed an untimely “opposition” (Doc. 303) and
supplement (Doc. 312).
On April 21, 2014, petitioner filed a notice of appeal of the Court’s
dismissal order and the Court’s order granting the Government’s motion to
amend (Doc. 306). The Court will address each of petitioner’s motions in turn.
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1. Objection and Motion to Seal Records (Doc. 304)
In petitioner’s first motion he asserts that the exhibit to the Government’s
motion be sealed.
The exhibit in question is a copy of petitioner’s trust fund
account detailed above (Doc. 300-1).
Petitioner contends the he has never
consented to the Office of the United States Attorney to possess or provide public
access to his account records and how counsel received the document is “suspect,
and indicative of misconduct.” He argues that now that the account information
has been filed with the Court, it has essentially become a public document. The
Court does not find that petitioner has shown good cause to seal the documents.
Citizens First Nat. Bank of Princeton v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 944
(7th Cir. 1999). Therefore, petitioner’s objection and motion to seal records (Doc.
304) is DENIED.
2. Motion to Correct Record (Doc. 305)
Petitioner next filed a motion to correct record (Doc. 305) requesting to
correct the record as to his participation in the financial responsibility program.
Petitioner asserts that he has participated in the program on a number of
occasions. In support of this assertion, petitioner provides a copy of an inmate
financial plan dated June 18, 2012 and debt history as of August 17, 2012.
Whether the petitioner previously participated in the inmate responsibility
program has no bearing on the current debt. Therefore, the motion to correct
record (Doc. 305) is DENIED.
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3. Motion to Stay Sanctions Pending Appeal (Doc. 307)
Petitioner also filed a motion to stay sanctions pending appeal (Doc. 307).
In this motion, petitioner notes that he has filed an appeal of the Court’s order
dismissing his case and argues that he would suffer irreparable harm if any
sanctions were collected because he claims the financial responsibility program
does not have a provision for reimbursement. The Court finds no reason to stay
the sanctions pending appeal. Petitioner has not made a showing of a likelihood
of success on appeal. He has also not demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable
injury as the Government is credit-worthy and would be able to refund the money
should petitioner prevail on appeal.
Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776
(1987); Glick v. Koenig, 766 F.2d 265, 269 (7th Cir. 1985).
petitioner’s motion to stay sanctions pending appeal is DENIED.
4. Motion to be Reserved with Court Order and Motion for Extension of
Time to File a Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 313)
Petitioner next requests that the Court “reserve him with its last order, and
to grant an extension of time to file a relief from that judgment, should one [be]
needed” (Doc. 313 at 1). Petitioner asserts that his BOP Counselor showed him
mail from the Court but would not give him the mail unless he withdrew sexual
abuse complaints lodged against other BOP staff.
Petitioner claims that he
refused to negotiate for the mail and that, as a result, his Counsel left with the
However, the Court cannot discern any specific relief requested by
petitioner. Therefore, petitioner’s motion to be reserved with Court Order and
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motion for extension of time to file a motion for relief from judgment (Doc. 313)
5. Motion for Leave to Appeal In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 314)
Petitioner also filed a motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis (Doc.
314). In support of his motion, he provides a stamped certified copy of his trust
fun statement with entries from 10/01/2013 to 11/7/2014.
responded to petitioner’s motion (Doc. 317). The Government asserts that the
Court should deny petitioner’s motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis
because petitioner has the ability to pay his appeal costs. The Government notes
that the petitioner-provided trust fund statement indicates a deposit of
$13,733.18 on October 24, 2013.
The Government also includes a copy of
petitioner’s account balance as of May 6, 2014 of $7,864.41 (Doc. 317-1).
In evaluating Mitchell’s motion, the Court must determine whether the
appeal is taken in good faith. As to the good faith requirement, the Court must
“find that a reasonable person could suppose that the appeal has some merit.”
Walker v. O’Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 632 (7th Cir. 2000); Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d
1025, 1026 (7th Cir. 2000). “[A]n appeal in a frivolous suit cannot be ‘in good
faith’ under § 1915(a)(3), because ‘good faith’ must be viewed objectively.” Moran
v. Sondalle, 218 F.3d 647, 650 (7th Cir. 2000); see also Lee, 209 F.3d at 1026;
Tolefree v. Cudahy, 49 F.3d 1243, 1244 (7th Cir. 1995) (“[T]he granting of leave
to appeal in forma pauperis from the dismissal of a frivolous suit is
presumptively erroneous and indeed self-contradictory.”)
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That said, a district
court is under an obligation “not to apply an inappropriately high standard when
making good faith determinations.” Pate v. Stevens, 163 F.3d 437, 438 (7th Cir.
1998). In this case, the Court finds that the appeal is not taken in good faith.
Petitioner’s case was frivolous and marred by petitioner’s fraud on the Court.
Therefore, petitioner’s motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED.
6. Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 318)
Finally, petitioner filed a motion from relief from judgment (Doc. 318)
specifically the Court’s order granting the Government’s motion to amend.
However, on April 21, 2014, petitioner filed a notice of appeal (Doc. 306).
Petitioner’s appeal addresses both the Court’s order dismissing his case and the
Court’s order granting the Government’s motion to amend. Seventh Cir. Case No.
14-1880, at Doc. 1-1. The filing of a notice of appeal "confers jurisdiction on the
court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those aspects of
the case involved in the appeal." Kusay v. United States, 62 F.3d 192, 193 (7th
Cir. 1995) (quoting Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58
Therefore, the Court DENIES petitioner’s motion for relief from
judgment (Doc. 318) for lack of jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES petitioner’s objection and motion to seal
records (Doc. 304), motion to correct record (Doc. 305), motion to stay sanctions
pending appeal (Doc. 307), motion to be reserved with court order (Doc. 313),
motion for extension of time to file a motion for relief from judgment (Doc. 313),
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motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis (Doc. 314), and motion for relief
from judgment (Doc. 318).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed this 21st day of May, 2014.
by David R.
United States District Court
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