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Writs – Certiorari – Inmate Complaint – “Misdirected” Writ, Lack of Jurisdiction

State ex rel. David C. Myers v. Smith, 2009 WI App 49
Pro se

Issue/Holding: Writ of certiorari “misdirected” to wrong respondent (in this instance, review of inmate complaint, improperly naming as respondent institution warden rather than DOC Secretary or designee) must be dismissed:

¶10      We begin by observing that certiorari “is available only for the purpose of reviewing a final determination.” Id., ¶12. The writ must be directed “to the board or body whose acts are sought to be reviewed, otherwise the court cannot obtain jurisdiction either of the subject-matter or of the persons composing such board or body.” State ex rel. Kulike v. Town Clerk of Town of Lebanon, Dodge County, 132 Wis. 103, 105, 111 N.W. 1129 (1907). The final decision-making authority for an inmate complaint is identified by reference to the administrative code provisions.¶11      … [T]he DOC secretary is the final decision maker on an inmate complaint initiated under the ICRS.

¶12      We understand that, particularly for a pro se appellant, some sections of the administrative code may be difficult to navigate. Myers, however, appears to have followed the procedures and obtained a final determination by the secretary’s designee as envisioned by the code. He initiated a complaint using the ICRS, he was dissatisfied with the ICE’s determination, he sought review, a CCE reviewed the determination and recommended that the secretary approve the decision, and the secretary [3] adopted the CCE’s recommendation. Myers has not made, nor could he reasonably support, an argument that he did not know the final decision maker was the secretary. Accordingly, we affirm the order of the circuit court, which dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because the writ was misdirected. See Kulicki, 132 Wis. at 105; Grzelak, 263 Wis. 2d 678, ¶12.


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