Judge Gottschall Cautions: Attaching a Grand Jury Transcript to a Motion, without Illinois Court Approval, is Punishable by Contempt

In response to a motion to reconsider the granting of summary judgment, defendants attached a copy of the grand jury testimony to support their contention that probable cause existed to prosecute the plaintiff, requiring dismissal of plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim.  Addressing the grand jury transcripts, Judge Gottschall explained:

[Defendants] attached a portion of the grand jury testimony to their motion for summary judgment. Disclosure of Illinois grand jury testimony is prohibited by law absent an order from an Illinois court, and improper disclosure is punishable by a contempt of court action.  (citations omitted). The secrecy of grand jury proceedings is maintained “to insure the grand jury freedom in its deliberations, to prevent subornation of perjury, to encourage disclosure by witnesses, and to protect the innocent from unwarranted exposure,” as well as to “assure freedom of deliberation of future grand juries, and the participation of future witnesses, as well as to provide these assurances to those who appeared before the instant proceeding.” (citations omitted). There is no indication from [Defendant's] papers that a prior order from an Illinois court was obtained which authorized disclosure of this transcript, nor is it clear how this document was obtained. This exhibit is stricken from the record, though Defendants may resubmit it upon a showing that disclosure is legally authorized. 

The Court also disagreed with the premise that because the Grand Jury indicted the plaintiff without testimony from the defendants, defendants cannot be held liable for prosecution.  Defendants were unable to establish that the indictment came independently from them. 

The decision also discusses the Seventh Circuit's holding in Village v. Hoffman Estates, namely that a finding of probable cause for any arrest does not necessarily forecloses every malicious prosecution claim.   Probable cause needs to be established for each count of the prosecution. 

Akbar v. City of Chicago, 2008 WL 5272463 N.D.Ill.,2008.


This is a first for me.  Do we need to re-examine the use of grand jury transcripts in civil cases?

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.

Murder Suspect James Ealy Was Previously Convicted Of Murder But His Conviction Was Reversed In 1986

James Ealy, the suspect in last week's strangulation murder of Mary Hutchison, was convicted over 20 years ago for the strangulation murders of Kristina Parker, Mary Anne Parker, Cora Parker and Jontae Parker. Each  victim had died as a result of ligature strangulation. Detectives found a bundle of clothing under Ealy's bed, including green cloth similar to that found around Mary Ann Parker's neck, a knife handle that matched a blade found in the victims' apartment, bed sheets with red stains and a child's sweater. Shortly after being confronted with this evidence, Ealy confessed to strangling the victims after they "made fun of his red eyes." Ealy brought a motion to suppress his confession, claiming he was denied food, water and sleep and that he confessed because he "couldn't take it" any more. This motion was denied. Ealy elected not to testify at trial and he was convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to natural life imprisonment by Judge Thomas J. Maloney. But, in 1986, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial. On appeal, the State conceded that no probable cause to arrest Ealy existed at the time he was first taken from his residence by detectives. However, the State argued that Ealy was not "seized" at that time so as to require probable cause. The court disagreed, stating that Ealy was continuously interrogated over an 18-hour period, during which he was denied food and water and only given one bathroom break. The court held that "a reasonable, innocent person in defendant's position would not have believed he was free to leave." The court further stated that "We also find that the unconstitutional misconduct of the police was a purposeful expedition for evidence in the hope of obtaining sufficient information upon which to predicate the probable cause necessary for defendant's arrest." The court went on to hold that "since the police lacked probable cause to arrest defendant at the time they took him from his residence, which the State concedes, we hold that defendant was illegally seized in violation of the fourth amendment." The opinion was written by Justice James C. Murray and joined by justices R. Eugene Pincham and Francis Lorenz. On appeal, Ealy was represented by Jenner & Block attorneys Robert L. Graham and Randall E. Mehrberg.