Pro Se Chicago's Weblog

May 18, 2009

Black Line Trial Call – Judge Maddux’s Illegal Scheme to Quash Suits


Judge Maddux Violates Constitutional Rights – Dismisses Torts with Dual Court Assignment for Same Case – hidden “Black Line Trial Call” WITHOUT Notice to Litigant – RICO Violation?

 In the Circuit Court of Cook County Law Division Presiding Judge William D. Maddux has devised a system that has been in place for several years that serves to quash cases primarily of pro se and indigent plaintiffs  by “dismissing for want of prosecution” (“DWP”) without notice in violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Judge Maddux appears to suffer from arrogance, a controlling obsessive-compulsive character where he must micro-manage as many aspects of all cases in his division as possible, narcissism in that he must be involved in every case and grandiose delusions in that he must boost his self-esteem by controlling others in all cases – even to the point of denying civil rights and the law.

 This scheme involves assigning each case to two parallel courts. The first is the motion judge and then trial judge. The second is the “Black Line Trial Call.” Litigants are not informed or given notice about the “Black Line Trial Call.”  The second parallel court hearings are used to cause DWP without notice.

 This scheme that he devised purportedly to move cases along faster, but which actually denies the First Amendment right to redress of grievances, amounts to a RICO violation. Judge Maddux is enriching the courts and clerk’s office or County of Cook by taking money for filing fees and then illegally quashing the cases by DWP in clear violation of law. This makes the Cook County Circuit Court Law Division and the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office a criminal enterprise used by Judge Maddux, with approval of Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, essentially influencing this criminal enterprise by influencing through racketeering the outcome of every case in the Law Division. The crimes are fraud in that the Circuit Court appears to permit a person redress of grievances and accepts their filing fee, but instead DWP without notice in an unconstitutional scheme. This is also felony violation of civil rights under color of law and conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law. As the mails are used in this scheme to inform the plaintiffs that their cases have been dismissed this is also mail fraud. Finally, this is also theft of honest services, as courts are supposed to uphold the constitution, not purposely violate it.

 The scheme or conspiracy to wholesale deny civil rights under color of law goes as follows:

 The plaintiff files a lawsuit (tort) for damages and pays the filing fee thinking that they will obtain redress of grievances and have a just chance to present their case to court and be made whole by awarding of damages.

 The case is assigned by a random system to a motion judge. If it finishes all pre-trial matters, it is then assigned to a different judge for trial. (The ABA recently advised that a case should stay with the same judge from pre-trial through trial as a matter of best practice. The present system is a mess as the motion judges are often changed in the middle of cases and then the judge is totally unfamiliar with the previous motion judge’s rulings and time is wasted and rulings become unfair and confusing because of ignorance of the judge. The trial judges are then also unable to make appropriate rulings through ignorance of previous rulings and this impairs a fair hearing.)

 The case is also assigned to an 18 month or 24 month pre-trial “discovery” schedule for purposes of the “Black Line Call.” The plaintiff is NEVER told that the “Black Line Call” system exists and only find out about it by word of mouth, if they read the Circuit Court of Cook County web site in detail, or if they read the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk web site in detail, which contains a link to the Court web site and contains the “Black Line Case Docket”.  The majority of pro se litigants who are novices therefore do not know about this second court “system,” to which their case is also assigned.

 When the case reaches the 18 mo or 24 mo discovery schedule date, it is assigned to the last number on the “Black Line Call”, a list of cases. The cases are heard about thirty a day without any notice except publication in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and the case being listed on the Court Clerk’s “Black Line” computer docket. A specific date is NOT given for the hearing, but rather the litigants must guess at the date that the case will move from the end of the line of about 300 cases to the first thirty cases (“above the Black Line”), or read the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin or court computer docket every day after 4:00 p.m.

 The plaintiff must appear on that date at 9:00 a.m. or the case is DWP. No continuances of any kind are allowed. No accommodations are made for the disabled or pro se litigants of any kind. Then when the case is DWP, the plaintiff receives a postcard in the mail from the court that their case has been dismissed and the motion judge will refuse to hear it any or receive any motions. The litigant will have to make a motion to vacate the DWP before Judge Maddux within 30 days or make a 1401 petition before Judge Maddux for the case to be re-instated. Judge Maddux refuses to re-instate cases for unknown reasons.

 For Judge Maddux’s Law Division rules and orders related to the “Black Line Trial Call: see:

 http://www.cookcountycourt.org/divisions/index.html

 Illinois Supreme Court Rules 104 and 105 require proper notice be given to a litigant before a motion, including a motion of the court under the “Black Line Trial System,” can be heard by the court. Therefore, since all orders for DWP by Judge Maddux or his designee judge were done without proper notice to the litigant, these orders are all null and void. The court fails to make a motion or affidavit or order to hear the case in a hearing before a judge other than the judge assigned for the case and fails to specify that this hearing is ordered by the court, for the purpose of setting a trial date and ordering discovery be finished or closed or extended. A case cannot constitutionally be DWP for failure to appear at a “Black Line” hearing when the plaintiff was not legally notified of the hearing per the following Supreme Court Rules and Illinois Statutes:

 “Rule 104. Service of Pleadings and Other Papers; Filing

(a) Delivery of Copy of Complaint. Every copy of a summons used in making service shall have attached thereto a copy of the complaint, which shall be furnished by plaintiff.

(b) Filing of Papers and Proof of Service. Pleadings subsequent to the complaint, written motions, and other papers required to be filed shall be filed with the clerk with a certificate of counsel or other proof that copies have been served on all parties who have appeared and have not theretofore been found by the court to be in default for failure to plead.

(c) Excusing Service. For good cause shown on ex parte application, the court or any judge thereof may excuse the delivery or service of any complaint, pleading, or written motion or part thereof on any party, but the attorney filing it shall furnish a copy promptly and without charge to any party requesting it.

(d) Failure to Serve Copies. Failure to deliver or serve copies as required by this rule does not in any way impair the jurisdiction of the court over the person of any party, but the aggrieved party may obtain a copy from the clerk and the court shall order the offending party to reimburse the aggrieved party for the expense thereof.

Rule 105. Additional Relief Against Parties in Default–Notice

(a) Notice–Form and Contents. If new or additional relief, whether by amendment, counterclaim, or otherwise, is sought against a party not entitled to notice under Rule 104, notice shall be given him as herein provided. The notice shall be captioned with the case name and number and shall be directed to the party. It shall state that a pleading seeking new or additional relief against him has been filed and that a judgment by default may be taken against him for the new or additional relief unless he files an answer or otherwise files an appearance in the office of the clerk of the court within 30 days after service, receipt by certified or registered mail, or the first publication of the notice, as the case may be, exclusive of the day of service, receipt or first publication. Except in case of publication, a copy of the new or amended pleading shall be attached to the notice, unless excused by the court for good cause shown on ex parte application.

(b) Service. The notice may be served by any of the following methods:

(1) By any method provided by law for service of summons, either within or without this State. Service may be made by an officer or by any person over 18 years of age not a party to the action. Proof of service by an officer may be made by return as in the case of a summons. Otherwise proof of service shall be made by affidavit of the server, stating the time, manner, and place of service. The court may consider the affidavit and any other competent proofs in determining whether service has been properly made.

(2) By prepaid certified or registered mail addressed to the party, return receipt requested, showing to whom delivered and the date and address of delivery. The notice shall be sent “restricted delivery” when service is directed to a natural person. Service is not complete until the notice is received by the defendant, and the registry receipt is prima facie evidence thereof.

(3) By publication, upon the filing of an affidavit as required for publication of notice of pendency of the action in the manner of but limited to the cases provided for, and with like effect as, publication of notice of pendency of the action.”

This “Black Line Trial Call” invented and administrated by Judge Maddux in violation of Supreme Court Rules and due process therefore amounts simply to a scheme to quash as many cases as possible without due process by having a dual court system, of which the litigant is not informed about, nor is given notice of hearings. In my opinion this amounts to a RICO violation, in that Judge Maddux with the agreement of Chief Judge Evans, Clerk Dorothy Brown, and Sheriff Dart use the Circuit Court of Cook County and its arm the Clerk’s office as a criminal enterprise to enrich the Clerk’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office by violating laws and depriving pro se, primarily indigent plaintiffs of their constitutional right to redress of grievances and due process. The laws violated are:

1)                  Constitutional right to redress of grievances;

2)                  Due Process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments;

3)                  Violation of Civil Rights Under Color of Law;

4)                  Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights Under Color of Law;

5)                  Theft of Honest Services by Judge Maddux and Clerk Dorothy Brown (Acting as a judge yet denying due process and violating constitutional rights, collecting fees knowing that due process will be denied and mailing a postcard verifying that due process was denied);

6)                  Obstruction of Justice (interfering with First Amendment rights to redress of grievances);

7)                  Mail Fraud (mailing a postcard to litigant that the case is dismissed [yet the dismissal is void as due process is denied]);

8)                  Extortion (of original filing fee and fees for service to Sheriff with no intention to actually give plaintiff due process);

9)                  Extorting money by denying due process in order to enrich a criminal enterprise including the Circuit Court of Cook County through the Office of the Clerk of the Court – filing fees; and through the Office of the Cook County Sheriff – service fees (all fees fraudulently obtained as the “Black Line Trial Call” system or scheme sets up the majority of pro se plaintiffs to have their cases dismissed without notice or due process).

The FBI and United States Attorney should be investigating this, should prosecute the offenders, and should restore constitutional rights to redress of grievances and due process to the citizens of Cook County.

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