Dixson v. Foster et al
ORDER: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 27 ) is GRANTED. Plaintiff Stephen Dixson's claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly and to close the case. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 2/12/2018. (njh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
CRAIG FOSTER, et al.,
Case No. 16-243-SMY-RJD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Stephen Dixson, a former inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his
constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Vandalia Correctional Center
(“Vandalia”). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to implement the state courts’
sentencing decision. Following threshold screening, Plaintiff proceeds on a due process claim.
This matter is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 27).
Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 41).
For the following reasons, Defendants’ motion is
Plaintiff Stephen Dixson was serving time on two convictions from Cook County Illinois
Circuit Court for possession of a controlled substance: Case No. 12-CR-1981901, for which he
received a three-year sentence; and Case No. 14-CR-1776701, which resulted in a two-year
sentence (Plaintiff’s Complaint, Doc. 1 at 5, 9-10). The trial court’s orders of commitment and
sentence, both issued on November 5, 2015, specified that Dixson was to be given credit for time
previously served in custody of 547 days against the three-year sentence, and 415 days against
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the two-year sentence (Id. at 9-10). The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, not
concurrently (Id.). Dixson claims that Defendants deliberately “ran [his] time concurrent,”
contrary to the trial court’s orders, and failed to properly credit him for the county-jail time
against the two sentences (Id. at 5-6).
When Dixson’s sentences were entered by the Cook County Circuit Court, the orders
provided 415 days and 547 days for time already served. However, the orders did not specify
whether these days were to be credited consecutively or concurrently. On November 17, 2015,
Defendants applied 547 days credit to Dixson’s aggregate sentence.
reviewed Dixson’s sentence calculation and determined that his “Adjusted Projected Out Date”
was October 28, 2016.
Dixson disagreed with the calculation and filed a request slip with the counselor. He
received a response on December 11, 2015, stating that in order for him to be credited the
additional 415 days, IDOC would need official documentation directly from the trial court. On
April 25, 2016, Brosman received an amended sentencing order from the Cook County Circuit
Court. The amended order clarified that Dixson was to receive credit for 1012 days of time
served. That same day, Brosman recalculated Dixson’s sentence to show an Adjusted Projected
Out Date of July 13, 2015. Dixson was released the following day.
Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also RuffinThompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is
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made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact
exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248). In determining a summary judgment motion, the district Court views the facts in
the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party.
Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
Defendants assert that they are entitled to summary judgment because the state court’s
original sentencing order was implemented, and when an amended order was received, it was
implemented immediately, resulting in Dixson being released from IDOC custody. They point
out that in Illinois, the trial court is responsible for crediting a defendant for “time spent in
custody as a result of the offense for which the sentence was imposed.” People v. Williams, 239
Ill. 2d 503, 508, 942 N.E.2d 1257, 1260–61 (2011), see 730 ILCS 5/5–4–1(e).
A procedural due process claim arises where: (1) the plaintiff is deprived of a protected
liberty or property interest; and (2) he did not receive the process that was due to justify the
deprivation of that interest. See McKinney v. George, 726 F.2d 1183, 1189 (7th Cir. 1984).
Here, the first element is satisfied, but the second is not.
Inmates have a protected liberty interest in being released on time. Toney-El v. Franzen,
777 F.2d 1224, 1226 (7th Cir. 1985). However, it appears from the record that Dixson availed
himself of the process in place and was released. Dixson filed a written request slip with a
counselor and had a meeting with prison officials to discuss the calculation of his sentence. The
Counseling Response dated December 11, 2015, advised Dixson that in order for the 415 days to
be credited, IDOC would need official documentation from the trial court.
documentation was received, Dixson was released the following day.
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Dixson argues that the procedures were ineffective because the situation was not resolved
sooner. But the process was triggered as soon as the issue became apparent – Defendants
followed the process and did so expeditiously. While this Court does not take the deprivation of
Plaintiff’s freedom lightly, the problem lies with the ambiguity created by the sentencing order.
Additionally, Dixson cannot pursue a due process claim when other remedies are
available. The State of Illinois offers other adequate post-deprivation remedies. See Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 541-44 (1981); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984).
example, in order to secure his earlier release, Dixson could have filed a Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus in state court. He could have also filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
Alternatively, he could seek monetary damages from state officials under Illinois tort law by
filing a false imprisonment claim against the officials in state court. See, e.g., Armato v.
Grounds, 766 F.3d 713, 722 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Toney-El, 777 F.2d at 1225) (state court
remedies giving an inmate “the right to seek a writ of mandamus from the state court to correct
the error” and “a cause of action in Illinois courts for false imprisonment” were both “adequate
and available” remedies, precluding an Illinois prisoner's due process claim).
For the above-stated reasons, Dixson’s Fourteenth Amendment due process claim does
not survive summary dismissal.
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 27) is GRANTED. Plaintiff Stephen
Dixson’s claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to
enter judgment accordingly and to close the case.
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IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: February 12, 2018
s/ Staci M. Yandle
STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Judge
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