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 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).

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.

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.