Robert Wilson Files Suit Against Eleven Chicago Police Officers

Robert Wilson has filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against eleven Chicago police officers, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, the County of Cook, and the City of Chicago. Wilson was charged with attacking June Siler on February 29, 1997 as she waited for a bus at 2851 South King Drive in Chicago. Wilson was arrested on March 1, 1997 and alleged that over the next 30 hours the police  physically abused him, denied him sleep and food, denied him his blood pressure medication, intimidated him, promised him leniency if he confessed and threatened him with violence if he did not confess. Wilson wound up confessing to the attack on Siler. Wilson was convicted at his criminal trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Siler identified Wilson as her attacker at trial. Wilson filed a petition for habeas corpus on January 13, 2006, alleging that his attorneys should have been allowed to present evidence that another man, Jerryco Wagner, had attacked several women during the time Siler had been attacked in the same vicinity. District Judge Ruben Castillo granted the petition and, thereafter, Siler recanted her identification of Wilson. On November 30, 2006, the State chose not to initiate a new trial against Wilson. Wilson spent 9 years in prison before being released. Wilson's complaint contains claims for violating Wilson's right to a fair trial, conspiracy to violate Wilson's constitutional rights, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, respondeat superior, and indemnification. Wilson is represented by Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law. The case has been assigned to Judge Kocoras.

Jury Rejects Wrongful Death Suit Brought By The Family Of Chicago Blues Drummer Fred Grady

A federal court jury yesterday swiftly rejected a wrongful death lawsuit that had been filed by the family of Chicago Blues drummer Fred Grady. After a week long trial, the jury returned its verdict in little over an hour in favor of the City of Chicago and Chicago police officers. Judge Ruben Castillo was the presiding judge in the suit that was heard in the Northern District of Illinois. Grady was involved in a traffic accident on April 8, 2003. He was later arrested and charged with trespassing when he attempted to gain access to his vehicle which had been towed to a private lot. Grady was taken to the police lock-up at 10:30 p.m. He was found dead in his cell at approximately 1:30 a.m. An autopsy conducted by Dr. Eupil Choi of the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office revealed that Grady died of coronary heart disease and the cause of death was natural. At trial, attorneys for Grady's estate contended that Grady died as the result of a police beating in his cell. The jury rejected that claim and found in favor of the City and officers. The defendants were represented by Liza Franklin from the  City of Chicago's Corporation Counsel's office. The plaintiffs were represented by Berve Power. Plaintiffs had asked the jury to award them over $40 million dollars in damages.

Seventh Circuit Stays Production Of Police Documents

On Monday, July 16, 2007, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a court order that would have required the City of Chicago to make public certain documents listing the names of Chicago police officers who have received more than 10 complaints against them between 2001 and 2006. That order had been issued by district court judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow in a lawsuit brought by Diane Bond. The City appealed Judge Lefkow's ruling and argued, among other things, that the documents being sought were not used in the Bond litigation and that dissemination of the documents would violate the police officers' privacy.

Judge Holderman Denies Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange's Motion To Enforce Settlement Agreement

Judge James F. Holderman has denied plaintiffs' consolidated motion to enforce settlement and for sanctions brought by plaintiffs Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange. Plaintiffs had alleged that as of November 3, 2006, attorneys representing the City of Chicago entered into an oral settlement agreement with plaintiffs' counsel but refused to honor the settlement. Judge Holderman stated that "the court finds that there was no final settlement agreement because the proposed agreement was never approved by the Chicago City Council, a contingency all parties' counsel agree was extant and unfulfilled." Plaintiff had contended that the parties had agreed to settle three lawsuits (Madison Hobley, Leroy Orange, and Stanley Howard) for $14.8 million. The court also denied the plaintiffs' motion for sanctions.

Judge Lefkow Grants Motion To Unseal Documents In Diane Bond Case

In a memorandum opinion and order dated July 2, 2007, Northern District of Illinois Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow has granted a motion seeking to strike the confidential designation of documents produced during discovery by the the City of Chicago in a suit brought by Diane Bond. The motion was brought by Jamie Kalven, a self-described writer and journalist. In granting the motion, Judge Lefkow stated: "Court related documents, even those not part of the judicial record, are presumed to be accessible to the public. The documents at issue in this case involve allegations of police misconduct, including the harassment and abuse of public housing residents, a particularly vulnerable group of citizens, and thus touch upon matters of grave public concern. The privacy interests of the defendant officers are diminished because of their status as public officials, and those interests that remain are served by the redaction of certain information from the requested documents. Balancing these interests, good cause no longer exists for shielding the requested materials from public inspection." (Mem. Op. at p. 8).