Pro Se Chicago's Weblog

September 18, 2017

Complaint for mandamus & civil rights relief from incompetent judges


When judges or officials are incompetent, malicious, or plain mean and violate your civil rights there are two other means that the public usually doesn’t realize by which they can obtain relief even during the case. The judge or official must have a mandatory (non-discretionary) duty under the law or constitution to do a particular act, must have failed to do it, and must be able to do it if ordered to do so in order to use a mandamus complaint. Civil rights law is very complicated.  Both types of complaints should be handled by an attorney, but as a starting place if you are interested in such complaints then this is an example that was filed by me, a non-attorney pro se. Look up the  case law and look up cases regarding mandamus or civil rights in the circuit courts and under your states’ laws.

  1. Mandamus – this is where you ask a court to order an official (including a judge) to perform a task that is mandatory and not discretionary like set a bail when no bail was set in violation of the law – in Illinois no bail is allowed only on murder cases, cases where the sentence may be life, or cases where a due process hearing was held and the defendant is proven to be a danger to the public or himself.
  2. Civil rights complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. Suppose a court refuses to allow you to put any witnesses on the stand, refuses to allow you to subpoena documents or refuses to accommodate your disabilities, even when you discussed them with the disability coordinator and followed the court procedures. Under the federal civil rights act section 1983 you can ask a different court (either state or federal) under federal law to declare the judge’s acts or orders in violation of law or the constitution (declaratory relief) and order the judge to follow the law and allow you compulsory process or force the judge to accommodate your disabilities (injunctive relief).
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October 27, 2011

IL Supreme Court returns father’s parental rights when not informed of case


This decision of the Illinois Supreme Court defines the concept of due diligence in notifying a parent that there is a case where they can lose parental rights. Attempts at service by mail or personal service is NOT enough!

Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed October 27, 2011

In re Dar. C., 2011 IL 111083
Appellate citation: No. 4-10-0267 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).

CHIEF JUSTICE KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices Thomas, Garman, and Karmeier concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Burke specially concurred, with opinion, joined by Justice Freeman.
Justice Theis specially concurred, with opinion.

In this McLean County case, a father whose parental rights had been terminated on March 7, 2008, challenged that result for lack of personal jurisdiction. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, he filed a petition for relief from that judgment, claiming that, under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, it was improper to serve him only by publication in Bloomington after attempts at personal service or service by certified mail were unsuccessful. Statute requires a “diligent inquiry” before a parent may be served by publication. The failed attempts had been based on potential addresses obtained through the use of computerized database searches. The State simply mailed letters but made no visits to the addresses to seek further information. The appellate court affirmed the termination order.
The termination took place in proceedings that began pursuant to 2006 charges that the respondent father’s two minor children, who were living with their mother, were neglected. It was known that the mother was receiving Social Security benefits, but no effort was made to determine their source or to obtain a release of Social Security information. Later that same year, a separate proceeding to collect child support from the father was initiated by a different attorney in the same prosecutor’s office, with the complaint being signed by a caseworker in the termination proceeding. In the collection matter, the father’s birth date, Social Security number and physical description were listed. The State indicated that it had located the respondent at a treatment center in Lake County and obtained his consent for entry of a child support order using the funds from his social security disability benefits.
In this decision, the supreme court said that “the State’s ability to obtain respondent’s contact information in the separate child support action casts significant doubt on the diligence of the State’s inquiry into respondent’s location in the termination proceedings” and that “relying on a computerized database search of a parent’s name while ignoring, or otherwise not investigating, other potentially useful information, does not constitute a diligent inquiry.” These circumstances indicate that there was a lack of personal jurisdiction over the father in attempting to serve him by publication on these facts. The appellate court was reversed and the termination of the father’s rights concerning his children was vacated as void. The cause was remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

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