Federal Jury Finds In Favor Of Chicago Police In 100 Pound Marijuana Arrest Case

 After a week-long trial, a federal court jury found in favor of Chicago police officers Sean Whelan and Elise Padilla, who had been sued for false arrest and unlawful entry by plaintiffs Maria Leyva and Laura Leyva. The case stemmed from a 2005 drug bust. On May 24, 2005, Officer Whelan received information from a confidential informant that the informant had purchased marijuana from Rapheal Leyva and Humberto Leyva (sons of Maria and brothers of Laura)  at 312 East 117th Street. Officers Whelan and Padilla went to the 117th Street address and spoke to Maria Leyva and advised her that they were informed that drugs were being sold from the house. Maria Leyva gave them consent to search the house and that search revealed the presence of 100 pounds of marijuana in an upstairs bedroom belonging to Laura Leyva, who had just returned home when the marijuana was found. Maria Leyva told the Officers that  she was aware there was marijuana in the house but not that much and that the bedroom where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto, not Laura. Maria, Laura and Humberto Leyva were all arrested and charged with felony possession of narcotics with intent to sell. Maria and Laura spent two months in jail before charges against them were dropped. Humberto plead guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell. In the civil suit, Maria Leyva claimed that she never consented to a search of her home and that she never told the Officers she was aware of marijuana in the house. Laura Leyva claimed she had no knowledge of marijuana in the house and that the closet where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto. Each plaintiff asked the jury to award them $3.3 million in damages, for a total of $6.6 million. The jury rejected the plaintiff's claims and found in favor of Officers Whelan and Padilla. Officers Whelan and Padilla were represented at trial by attorneys Scott Jebson and Suyon Reed from the City of Chicago Corporation Counsel's Office. Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Joel Ostrander, Sam Amirante and Pam Curran. Judge Ronald A. Guzman presided over the trial.   

Cook County Jury Finds In Favor of Police Detective and City in Police Shooting Lawsuit

            On Thursday, September 4, 2008 a Cook County jury found in favor of Chicago Police Detective Luke Daly and the City of Chicago in a lawsuit stemming from a 2004 police shooting.

On October 27, 2004, plaintiff David Wilson was arrested on the north side of Chicago by the police and was brought to the Area 3 police station pursuant to an arrest warrant for two rapes.  Detective Daly was not one of the officers who arrested Wilson, but was the primary detective investigating the rape cases.  The arresting officers searched plaintiff upon arrest and placed him in an interview room on a bench handcuffed to a ring on the wall.   


The next day, Detective Daly went to Area 3 to receive a Department commendation and to have photographs taken with his family.  At this time, he was informed that Wilson was in custody, and he proceed to interview him about the rapes.  Wilson initially denied the rapes, but after being presented with evidence to the contrary, including DNA evidence, he requested something to eat and a cigarette.  Detective Daly went to the lock up, made Wilson a sandwich, went back to the interview room and gave Wilson the sandwich and a cigarette.  Detective Daly uncuffed Wilson from the ring on the wall so he could use his hands to eat and smoke, leaving one handcuff attached to Wilson’s wrist and the other loose.      


Detective Daly then left the interview room to get the rape victims and arrange for a lineup.  A short time later, Detective Daly heard Wilson yell out from the interview room requesting another cigarette.  When Detective Daly opened the door to the interview room to give him a cigarette, Wilson attacked him with the dangling handcuff and a screwdriver.  Wilson apparently found the screwdriver after moving one of the tiles in the false ceiling in the interview room.  There was evidence presented at the trial that maintenance and installation work had recently been done in the interview room.  After being attacked, Detective Daly then shot Wilson three times, paralyzing him from the waist down.  


Wilson subsequently sued Detective Daly and the City of Chicago on the basis that the shooting was wilful and wanton.  He alleged that he never threatened Detective Daly and that Daly performed street justice and attempted to execute him; or alternatively, he alleged that, even if he had attacked Detective Daly, it was because Daly failed to follow proper procedures, putting Wilson in a position where he was able to attack Daly. The City argued that Daly was justified in shooting since Wilson was trying to kill him.


At the close of the eighty-day trial, Wilson asked the jury to award $28.5 million in damages.  Jurors deliberated for five hours before finding in favor of Detective Daly and the City.  


Scott Jebson and David Selmer of the Corporation Counsel's Officer represented the defendant at trial. 


Steve Muslin and Craig Sanberg of Muslin & Sanberg represented the Plaintiff

Judge Hibbler Rules No Constitutional Violation in Loevy's Car Accident Case

"On May 19, 2004, 8 year old Gregory Jones and 11 sufficent year old Dantondra Mitchell were struck by an unmarked police car.  Both children were gravely injured and Jones died the next day.  The plaintiffs - parents of the children - allege the officers' reckless driving deprived the victims of their substantive due process rights.  In response, the officers moved for summary judgment and assert vehicular accidents cannot support a finding of constitutional liability. " Judge Hibbler, citing US Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit cases, agreed.  

The Court explained:
"The threshold question of any substantive due process challenge is whether the behavior of a state actor 'is so egregious, so outrageous that it may fairly be said to shock the contemporary conscience.'"
"Ultimately the [Supreme Court] held the police officers' conduct did not deprive the plaintiff of substantive due process: 'high speed chases with no intent to harm...do not give rise to liability under the Fourteenth Amendment" ...As there was no time for reflection or deliberation it cannot be said the officer's conduct was deliberately indifferent.
The Court also discussed the relevant Seventh Case on point, Hill v. Schobe:
In Hill, the officer - who was not chasing a suspect or responding to an emergency call - was driving over the speed limit, and failed to turn on his lights or sirens even though it was after midnight.  Subsequently, the officer ran a red light and struck and killed Robert Hill.  The Seventh Circuit held, "the officer must have knowledge of the danger so the court can "infer he intended to inflict the injury" - He must have known it "was imminent but consciously and culpably refused to prevent it." The key word is accident - "if the vehicular collision was accidental - there is no constitutional liability. "
As such, summary judgment was granted in favor of defendants.  
Jon Loevy, Arthur Loevy, Douglas Shreffler, Amanda Antholt, Michael Kanovitz, Samantha Liskow, Loevy & Loevy for plaintiffs 
Liza Franklin, Steve Borkan, Stellato & Schwatrz, George John Yamin, Jr., Jordan Marsh, Scott Jebson, City of Chicago , for Defendants.

Jones v. City of Chicago 04 C 3742