Sparks v. Baldwin et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE: granting 16 MOTION to Dismiss Habeas Corpus Petition filed by Daniel Q Sullivan. The Court DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE petitioner's § 2254 habeas petition for failure to exhaust state judicial remedies. The Court further DENIES petitioner a Certificate of Appealability. The Clerk of Court shall enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge David R. Herndon on 11/16/2017. (lmp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JONATHAN E. J. SPARKS,
Civil No. 17-cv-081-DRH-CJP
DANIEL Q. SULLIVAN,
MEMORANDUM and ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
Jonathan E. J. Sparks is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections.
§2254, Doc. 1. 1
He filed a petition for habeas relief pursuant to
As construed on preliminary review, the petition alleges that
Sparks has served his prison sentence, but he has not been released to serve his
mandatory supervised release because, as a sex offender, he is required to reside
at an approved residence and he cannot locate one. The petition alleges that the
repeated revocation of his supervised release and his continued incarceration
violate his federal constitutional rights. See, Doc. 7.
Now before the Court is respondent’s Motion to Dismiss Habeas Corpus
Petition, Doc. 16. Respondent argues that the petition must be dismissed because
petitioner failed to exhaust state judicial remedies. Petitioner has not responded
to the motion.
Sparks used a form for a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He was convicted in state court and is
challenging his state custody. Therefore, the Court construed this as an action under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. See, Doc. 7.
Relevant Facts and Procedural History
In July 2010, Sparks pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault
in Jersey County, Illinois, and was sentenced to four years imprisonment to be
followed by a term of mandatory supervised release (MSR) of three years to life.
Doc. 16, Ex. 2, pp. 1-7. 2
In July 2013, petitioner was “released” on MSR and immediately found to
be in violation of the terms of his release because he did not have acceptable
housing. 3 This process was repeated in 2015 and in 2017. Ex. 2, pp. 8-16.
Sparks did not file a state court challenge to his continued custody and
claims that “the State of Illinois provides no judicial review.” Doc. 1, p. 3.
Applicable Legal Standards
Although Sparks used a form for a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, it is
clear that his petition must be construed as being brought under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. He was convicted in state court and is challenging his custody pursuant to
that state court judgment. Therefore, the Court properly construed this as an
action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See, Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 633 (7th
Cir. 2000), holding that the requirements of § 2254 apply to a petition filed by a
person in custody pursuant to a state court judgment challenging his custody “no
matter what statutory label the prisoner has given the case.”
This habeas petition is subject to the provisions of the Antiterrorism and
The Court uses the document, page and exhibit numbers assigned by the CM/ECF system.
This practice is referred to as “violating at the door” and has been described as an “ongoing
practice” in the Illinois prison system. Cordrey v. Prisoner Review Board, 39, 21 N.E.3d 423, 432
Effective Death Penalty Act, known as the AEDPA.
“The Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 modified a federal habeas court's role in
reviewing state prisoner applications in order to prevent federal habeas ‘retrials’
and to ensure that state-court convictions are given effect to the extent possible
under law.” Bell v. Cone, 122 S.Ct. 1843, 1849 (2002).
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) restricts habeas relief to cases wherein the state court
determination “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the
Supreme Court of the United States” or “a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the
State court proceeding.”
28 U.S.C.A. § 2254(b)(1) requires that state judicial remedies be exhausted
before a federal court can grant habeas relief:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be
granted unless it appears that-(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the
courts of the State; or
(B)(i) there is an absence of available State corrective process;
or (ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective
to protect the rights of the applicant.
The exhaustion requirement means that, before seeking habeas relief, a
petitioner is required to bring his claim(s) through “one complete round of the
State’s established appellate review process” because “the exhaustion doctrine is
designed to give the state courts a full and fair opportunity to resolve federal
constitutional claims before those claims are presented to the federal courts.”
O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 119 S.Ct. 1728, 1732 (1999); see also 28 U.S.C. §2254(c).
Under the Illinois two-tiered appeals process, petitioners must fully present their
claims not only to an intermediate appellate court, but also to the Illinois
Supreme Court, which offers discretionary review in cases such as this one. Id. at
Ignoring the fact that the petition has been properly construed as stating a
claim under § 2254, respondent argues that petitioner failed to comply with the
common law exhaustion requirement applicable to § 2241 petitions. In fact, the
statutory requirement of exhaustion of state judicial remedies set forth in §
2254(b)(1) applies here.
However, the substance of respondent’s argument is
correct; Sparks was required to present his federal constitutional claims for one
full round of state court review, and has not done so.
Petitioner has not responded to the motion to dismiss. He was informed of
the consequences of failing to do in Doc. 18.
Petitioner admits in his petition that he has not pursued, much less
exhausted, state judicial remedies. He claims that there are no judicial remedies
available to him, but this is incorrect. He can file a mandamus action to compel
the IDOC to comply with state and federal law. See Johnson v. McGinnis, 734
F.2d 1193, 1199-1200 (7th Cir. 1984) (collecting Illinois cases); Cordrey v.
Prisoner Review Board, 21 N.E.3d 423 (Ill. 2014) and Neville v. Walker, 878
N.E.2d 831 (Ill.App.Ct. 2007) (reviewing denial of inmate's mandamus action
challenging the IDOC's refusal to release him to MSR); Armato v. Grounds, 944
F.Supp.2d 627, 635 (C.D.Ill. 2013) (suggesting that state habeas corpus and a
claim of false imprisonment are other possible available remedies).
Because petitioner has not exhausted state judicial remedies, this action
must be dismissed without prejudice. See, Gacho v. Butler, 792 F.3d 732, 735
(7th Cir. 2015).
After exhausting state judicial remedies, petitioner can file
another § 2254 petition.
Certificate of Appealability
Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, this Court
must “issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order
adverse to the applicant.” A certificate should be issued only where the petitioner
“has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.
In order for a certificate of appealability to issue, petitioner must show that
“reasonable jurists” would find this Court’s “assessment of the constitutional
claims debatable or wrong.”
See, Slack v. McDaniel, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 1604
(2000). Where a petition is dismissed on procedural grounds without reaching
the underlying constitutional issue, the petitioner must show both that reasonable
jurists would “find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the
denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable
whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.”
Here, no reasonable jurist would find it debatable whether this Court’s
ruling on failure to exhaust state judicial remedies was correct. Accordingly, the
Court denies a certificate of appealability.
This cause of action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to
exhaust state judicial remedies.
The Clerk of Court shall enter judgment in favor of respondent.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Digitally signed by
Judge David R.
United States District Judge
If petitioner wishes to appeal the dismissal or denial of his petition, he may
file a notice of appeal with this court within thirty days of the entry of judgment.
Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(A). A motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis should
set forth the issues petitioner plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
A certificate of appealability is required to appeal from the dismissal or
denial of a §2254 petition. Rule 11 of the Rules Governing §2254 Cases requires
that, when entering a final order adverse to the petitioner, the district court must
issue or deny a certificate of appealability.
Here, the Court has denied a
certificate. In order to appeal the dismissal or denial of his petition, petitioner
must obtain a certificate of appealability from the court of appeals.
Petitioner cannot appeal from this Court’s denial of a certificate of
appealability. Further, a motion to reconsider the denial does not extend the time
for appeal. See, Rule 11(a).
Petitioner is further advised that a motion to alter or amend the judgment
filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) must be filed no later than
28 days after the entry of the judgment—a deadline that cannot be extended. A
proper and timely Rule 59(e) motion may toll the thirty day appeal deadline.
Other motions, including a Rule 60 motion for relief from a final judgment, order,
or proceeding, do not toll the deadline for an appeal.
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