Michael Evans Appeals Jury Verdict In Favor Of Ten Former Chicago Police Officers

Plaintiff Michael Evans has filed his appellate brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Evans had sued ten former Chicago Police Officers claiming they framed him for the rape and murder of nine-year old Lisa Cabassa back in 1976. Evans was convicted of that crime in 1977 and spent 27 years in prison until being released in 2003 based on the results of DNA testing. Evans later received an innocence pardon from Governor Blagojevich. In August 2006, a jury found in favor of the ten Chicago Police Officers and against Evans. Evans had asked the jury to award him over $50 million in damages.The main issue raised in Evans' appeal is that several of the former Officers were allowed to give depositions shortly before trial after having previously asserted their Fifth Amendment rights. Evans claims he was prejudiced by these depositions, but did not ask District Court Judge David Coar to continue the trial date. The ten former Chicago Police Officers were represented by Andrew Hale, Eileen Rosen and John Rock from the law firm of Rock Fusco, LLC. Michael Evans was represented by Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy, Flint Taylor from the People's Law Office and Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center.

Judge Leinenweber Grants Summary Judgment To Chicago Police Officers Kearns And Yzaguirre

Northern District of Illinois Judge Harry D. Leinenweber recently granted summary judgment to Chicago Police Officers Patrick Kearns and Michael Yzaguirre in a case brought by plaintiff Juan Rivera. Judge Lienenweber initially stated that "In a civil rights action, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant personally participated in or caused the unconstitutional actions." Judge Leinenweber then held that "In this case, the undisputed facts show that Defendant Officers Kearns and Yzaguirre could not have personally participated in or caused the alleged constitutional deprivations because they were not present at the 19th District Police Station, the Police Station where the Plaintiff claims the violations occurred on January 3, 2005."

Dr. Werner U. Spitz - Expert For Plaintiff Arlinthia White

Dr. Werner U. Spitz has been retained as an expert for the plaintiff in the case of White v. Geradot pending in the Northern District of Indiana. Dr. Spitz is a well-known forensic pathologist and the Professor of Pathology at Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Spitz was retained by plaintiff Arlinthia White, whose son Derrick Ford was shot and killed by Fort Wayne police detective Mark Geradot on January 10, 2004 after a fight broke out outside a VFW hall. White claims that Geradot used excessive force in violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments. The district court judge in the case recently granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

Judge Orders Mayor Richard Daley To Answer Questions In Madison Hobley's Lawsuit

Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown has ruled that Mayor Richard Daley must answer questions in the civil rights lawsuit brought by Madison Hobley, who claims he was tortured by former Chicago Police Officer Jon Burge when Daley was the Cook County State's Attorney. Hobley is represented by attorney Kurt Feuer. Mayor Daley's attorneys are considering appealing Magistrate Brown's ruling.

Jury Awards ATF Agents $9.75 Million

Yesterday, a federal court jury awarded Michael Casali and his wife Diane Klipfel, both of whom were ATF agents, $9.75 million in damages. The jury found that the City of Chicago failed to properly investigate reports of corruption against former Chicago Police Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, which allowed him to terrorize the couple over a period of years. Back in 1992, Klipfel worked on a case with Miedzianowski and reported that he had robbed a drug dealer. The couple claims that later on Miedzianowski stalked and terrorized them. Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline testified in the trial that the department conducted three internal investigations of Miedzianowski, but he was never disciplined. The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Sally Saltzberg. The City of Chicago was represented by Stephen Baker of the City of Chicago Law Department.

Supreme Court Highlights Re: Statute Of Limitations In False Arrest Claims

Here are some highlights from the United States Supreme Court's opinion in Andrew Wallace v. Kato, et al regarding the statute of limitations in false arrest claims. First, the court noted that "[w]hile we have never stated so expressly, the accrual date of a 1983 cause of action is a question of federal law that is not resolved by reference to state law."  Second, the court stated that "limitations begin to run against an action for false imprisonment when the alleged false imprisonment ends." Third, the court held that "a false imprisonment ends once the victim becomes held pursuant to such process - when, for example, he is bound over by a magistrate or arraigned on charges." In the case of Andre Wallace, the Supreme Court concluded that "the statute of limitations on petitioner's 1983 claim commenced to run when he appeared before the examining magistrate and was bound over for trial." Since more than two years (Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury torts) had elapsed between the date when Wallace appeared before the magistrate and was bound over for trial and the filing of his suit, his action was time-barred.

US Supreme Court Affirms Wallace v. Kato Ruling

The United States Supreme Court has affirmed the Seventh Circuit's holding in Wallace v. Kato, et al. The Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Scalia, held that the statute of limitations upon a section 1983 claim seeking damages for false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes detained pursuant to to legal process. As background, in January 1994, the Chicago police arrested Wallace for murder. He was tried and convicted, but the charges were later dropped in April 2002. In April 2003, Wallace filed suit under section 1983 against the City of Chicago and several police offices , seeking damages for, among other things, his alleged unlawful arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The District Court granted summary judgment and the Seventh Circuit affirmed, ruling that the section 1983 suit was time barred because Wallace's cause of action accrued at the time of his arrest,  not when his conviction was later set aside. In a written opinion dated February 21, 2007, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Seventh Circuit's ruling. The case was argued before the Supreme Court by Benna Ruth Solomon on behalf of the City of Chicago.

Madison Hobley, Stanley Howard and Leroy Orange Claim City of Chicago Refusing to Honor Settlement

Attorneys for Madison Hobley, Stanley Howard and Leroy Orange claim in recently filed court papers that the City of Chicago is refusing to honor a collective $14.8 million settlement. The City of Chicago denies that such a settlement was reached and has stated that all settlement talks have been confidential. Hobley, Howard and Orange claim in their federal court lawsuits that they were tortured by former Chicago detective Jon Burge.  A Special Prosecutor report released last July, however, stated that Special Prosecutors did not believe Orange had been tortured and were skeptical of Hobley and Howard's claims.

Jose Lopez Files Suit Against City Of Chicago And Five Chicago Police Officers

Jose Lopez has filed a federal court lawsuit against the City of Chicago and five Chicago Police Officers. Lopez alleges that the defendants violated his rights by framing him for a murder they knew he did not commit. Lopez spent two years in jail awaiting his murder trial. He was subsequently acquitted. Lopez is represented by Jon Loevy at Loevy & Loevy. The City of Chicago and the five Chicago Police Officers are represented by Andrew Hale and Eileen Rosen at Rock Fusco, LLC. The case is pending before the Honorable Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in the Northern District of Illinois.

Seventh Circuit Affirms Granting Of Summary Judgment And Striking Of Expert Report

In Mannoia v. Farrow, an arrestee sued a police detective under Section 1983 and state tort law alleging the detective violated his Fourth Amendment rights by intentionally misrepresenting facts to the judge who issued an arrest warrant. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and, in doing so, struck the report of plaintiff's police procedures expert for failing to comply with Rule 26(a)(2). On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiff had not shown that the detective acted deliberately or with reckless disregard for the truth or made misrepresentations to the issuing judge that were necessary to the probable cause determination. The court further held that "[b]ecause plaintiff cannot establish that [the detective] violated his Fourth Amendment rights, we conclude [the detective] is protected from suit by the defense of qualified immunity. The court further found it was proper to strike the expert report for failure to comply with Rule 26(a)(2). This opinion is available on Westlaw at 2007 WL 397497.

Patterson v. Burge, et al. - Magistrate Brown Grants Defendants' Motion For Protective Order Re: Grand Jury Materials

In the case of Aaron Patterson vs. Jon Burge, et al., the defendants moved for a protective order barring the parties from disseminating grand jury transcripts of Chicago Police Officers who appeared before the grand jury pursuant to the Office of the Special Prosecutor's investigation. The defendants did not object to the use of the grand jury transcripts for purposes of the present litigation, but contended that public disclosure of the grand jury proceedings conflicts with the principles of grand jury secrecy and would harm their reputation and allow Patterson to exploit several Officers' assertion of their Fifth Amendment privilege. Magistrate Geraldine Soat Brown granted the defendants' motion for protective order, stating, in part, that "public disclosure of grand jury testimony in this high profile case increases the probability that prospective witnesses will be discouraged from participating in future grand jury proceedings." Magistrate Brown concluded that "[i]n light of the well-established principles favoring secrecy for the protection of the institution of the grand jury, the court finds good cause for the entry of a protective order limiting the disclosure of the grand jury transcripts."

Dr. Joye Carter and Dr. Vincent J. DiMaio - Experts in Ware vs. City of Chicago

In the recent case of Estate of Cornelius Ware vs. City of Chicago, et al., both sides retained an expert in forensic pathology. The plaintiff retained Dr. Joye Carter, who was formerly the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia and Harris County, Texas. Dr. Carter was the nation's first black female Chief Medical Examiner. The defendants retained Dr. DiMaio, who is the well-known Chief Medical Examiner of Bexar County in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. DiMaio is the author of numerous books and publications regarding gunshot wounds. This trial took place in the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Joan Lefkow was the presiding judge.

City Of Chicago Settles With Estate Of Cornelius Ware For $5.25 Million

Last Friday, a federal court jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, the estate of Cornelius Ware, and against the City of Chicago, in the liability phase of plaintiff's civil rights trial. The damages phase was scheduled to commence this week. However, over the weekend, the City of Chicago settled with the plaintiff's estate, agreeing to pay $5.25 million in damages. During the week long trial, plaintiff's attorney Jon Loevy argued that the Chicago Police shot Cornelius Ware when his hands were above his head in a gesture of surrender. The City countered that Ware pointed a gun at the Police Officers, which lead to the shooting. A gun was recovered from Ware's vehicle. Loevy argued that the Police Officers planted the gun, noting that there was no blood on the gun and that there were no fingerprints suitable for comparison obtained from the gun. The nine-person jury heard closing arguments last Friday, and reached their verdict late Friday afternoon. Judge Joan Lefkow presided over the trial.

Steven Avery Trial - Opening Statements To Begin On Monday, February 12, 2007

Opening statements in Steven Avery's trial are expected to begin on Monday, February 12, 2007. Jury selection is expected to conclude today. So far, 30 potential jurors have been selected. Today, both the prosecution and defense will be each exercising 7 peremptory strikes, reducing the number of jurors to 16. Four of those 16 jurors will ultimately serve as alternate jurors. The trial will be taking place in Chilton, Wisconsin, approximately 30 minutes from Manitowoc.

City Of Chicago Not Sanctioned In Rule 30(b)(6) Dispute

Magistrate Michael Mason has denied plaintiff Oscar Walden's motion for sanctions against the City of Chicago stemming over the City's inability to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) deponent.  Walden was arrested and prosecuted for rape back in 1952 (that's right 1952), which resulted in his conviction by a jury. He served 14 years in prison and in 2003 received an innocence pardon from then-Governor George Ryan. In 2004, Walden filed suit alleging he was falsely arrested for rape, coercively interrogated and subjected to highly suggestive identification procedures. Walden also alleged the Chicago Police Department were acting according to the policies and practices of the City and CPD at the time and that those policies and practices proximately caused his conviction and imprisonment. Walden's attorneys served the City with a Rule 30(b)(6) notice of deposition asking the City to produce a knowledgeable witness to testify as to these alleged polices and practices. The City advised Walden's attorneys that due to the 55-year passage of time and the fact that virtually all of the CPD records created prior to 1960 had been discarded, the City was unable to produce someone competent to testify. Walden's attorneys sought sanctions in the form of a jury instruction that the alleged policies and practices alleged did, indeed, exist at the time, or an order barring the City from challenging Walden's proof of these alleged policies and practices. Magistrate Mason denied Walden's motion for sanctions, stating "The long and short of it is, the City cannot designate a 30(b)(6) witness because it does not have a knowledgeable employee, nor is there any information reasonably available to the City from which it could create a knowledgeable 30(b)(6) witness." Walden is represented by John Stainthorp at the People's Law Office. The City of Chicago is represented by Penelope George and Stephen Baker at the City of Chicago Law Department.

Jury Hears Testimony In Ware v. City of Chicago, et al.

A ten-person jury began hearing testimony yesterday in the trial brought by Tammy Faye Grant, the mother of Cornelius Ware, who was shot and killed by Chicago police on August 18, 2003. In his opening statement, Jon Loevy, attorney for the plaintiff, told the jury Ware was shot as he sat in his vehicle with his hands above his head in a position of surrender. Margaret Carey, an attorney for the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Officer Anthony Blake, told the jury that Ware was shot after he pointed a gun at a Chicago Police Officer out the driver's side window . Carey told the jury that a gun was recovered from Ware's vehicle. The first witness called to the stand was Ms. Grant, who testified she saw her son with his hands above his head, and not holding a weapon. Upon cross-examination, Ms. Ware could not recall whether she gave a statement to Chicago Police when she arrived at the hospital to see her son. The second witness called, Richard Moore, was Ware's brother, and was 15 years old at the time of the shooting. Upon cross-examination, Moore testified that he heard Chicago Police yell "he's got a gun" before his brother was shot. He also testified that his mother told him she heard Chicago Police also yell "he's got a gun" before Ware was shot. Testimony is expected to last the remainder of the week.

Cornelius Ware v. City of Chicago, et al. - Jury Selection On February 5, 2007

Jury selection commences on Monday, February 5, 2007 in the case of Cornelius Ware vs. City of Chicago, et al. Ware was shot and killed by Chicago police on August 18, 2003 after a high-speed chase and after Ware pointed a revolver at the police. The Honorable Joan H. Lefkow is presiding over the trial in the Northern District of Illinois. The estate of Cornelius Ware is represented by Jon Loevy. The City of Chicago is represented by Joseph Polick and Margaret Carey.