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WILSON v. SIMON

April 30, 1969

LULA WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RAYMOND F. SIMON, CORPORATION COUNSEL, CITY OF CHICAGO; JOHN STAMOS, STATE'S ATTORNEY, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS; OFFICER ROLLIN, BADGE NO. 3174 OF THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT; WILLIAM NYDEN AND FRANK JAKUBOWSKI, DEPUTY SHERIFFS OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS; AND SECOND MERCANTILE FINANCIAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell, Chief Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This action brought by plaintiff under the Federal Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983) seeks an award of money damages and an order restraining the prosecution of certain criminal proceedings presently pending against plaintiff in the state court.

In her amended complaint*fn1 plaintiff alleges that on July 18, 1968 defendants Nyden and Jakubowski in their capacities as deputy sheriffs of Cook County, Illinois, attempted to serve a civil writ on plaintiff and pursuant to the writ attempted to take possession of a television set. Plaintiff further alleges that she refused to allow Nyden and Jakubowski to enter her dwelling whereupon the deputies enlisted the aid of defendant Rollin, a police officer of the City of Chicago. Officer Rollin, according to the complaint, gained entry to plaintiff's dwelling without plaintiff's consent and without legal authority by physically forcing open the door leading to plaintiff's apartment. Upon plaintiff protesting, Officer Rollin then placed her under arrest. Upon her further protestations, plaintiff alleges that Nyden and Jakubowski squirted a liquid chemical substance in her face while Officer Rollin subjected her to a physical search of her person. Nyden and Jakubowski then removed the television set from plaintiff's dwelling. Plaintiff was charged with interfering with service of process in violation of a state statute*fn2 (Ill.Rev.Stat. C. 38 § 31-3) and with disorderly conduct in violation of an ordinance of the City of Chicago (Municipal Code § 193-1a).

Plaintiff further alleges that her conduct in resisting the entry of the defendants into her residence was lawful and that her protestations constituted a legitimate exercise of her right of free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff further complains that despite the "clear legality" of her conduct, defendants Stamos*fn3 and Simon in their capacities as prosecutors for the County of Cook and the City of Chicago respectively, have continued to prosecute plaintiff with the charges of interfering with service of process and disorderly conduct. Considering what she views as a "total absence of evidence" of criminal conduct plaintiff alleges that the continued prosecution is in bad faith and constitutes further deprivation of her rights. Plaintiff has also filed a motion for temporary restraining order, prohibiting her prosecution. Plaintiff also challenges the adequacy of the Illinois State criminal system and argues that the intervention of this court is necessary to protect her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Summarized, plaintiff's theory is that the prosecution in the state court is in bad faith, and has a "chilling effect" on her exercise of First Amendment rights as she wants to continue "speaking out" against these defendants. Furthermore, she alleges that her rights cannot be protected in the state court because, "the state criminal system is grossly inadequate in protecting plaintiff, an innocent citizen, from groundless charges."

In answer to the complaint and the motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, certain defendants have filed motions to dismiss. Essentially the basis of the motions to dismiss are: (1) That the complaint fails to state a claim under the Civil Rights Act; (2) That the doctrine of Abstention requires this court to refrain from interfering with the prosecution until the state court has had an opportunity to determine the issues; and (3) That this court is barred by the "Anti-Injunction Act" (28 U.S.C. § 2283) from enjoining a pending proceeding in the state court.

The Cook County State's Attorney, on his own behalf and as attorney for defendants Nyden and Jakubowski, deputy sheriffs of Cook County, subsequently withdrew their motions to dismiss the complaint and filed an answer, in effect, admitting that the facts as pleaded in plaintiff's complaint, if proven, state a claim for relief in the form of money damages against the defendant deputy sheriffs. I agree, accepting the facts as pleaded, that the complaint does state a claim under the Civil Rights Act. Accordingly, all other pending motions to dismiss the complaint are denied.

The State's Attorney, like the Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago, continues to oppose plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order stressing that such action in this case is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (28 U.S.C. § 2283). A resolution of this question requires an analysis of section 2283, measured against the allegations in plaintiff's complaint and motion.

In her motion plaintiff alleges that the charges brought by the County and City are set for immediate trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County. In her view, the crux of the criminal charges is that she resisted the entry of the deputy sheriffs and Chicago police officer when they sought to take possession of the property named in the writ of replevin. Plaintiff alleges that the service of the writ was not made in a manner authorized by law because the deputy sheriffs did not inform plaintiff of her right under the state Replevin Statute to file a bond in double the amount of the value of the property if she desired to retain possession. Therefore, plaintiff argues, since the writ was illegally served, her resistance was not unlawful under state law. Thus, she is innocent of the charges brought by the County and City and in light of her alleged innocence, any prosecution of her must be in bad faith and in violation of the due process requirements of the United States Constitution.

As above stated, plaintiff also alleges that the prosecution is being continued to intimidate her from pursuing her right to speak out against the alleged civil rights deprivations inflicted upon her by certain of the defendants. For this reason and because the state criminal system is, "grossly inadequate in protecting plaintiff, an innocent citizen from groundless charges", plaintiff argues that it is appropriate for this court to intervene to protect her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Before discussing the arguments and authorities presented by plaintiff in support of her motion for temporary restraining order and the arguments and authorities presented by the County and City in opposition, I offer some preliminary observations. First, as I read plaintiff's motion and arguments, I am to conclude that the prosecution of plaintiff is in bad faith and in violation of the United States Constitution because plaintiff is in fact innocent of the charges brought by the County and City authorities. I must therefore determine that innocence, or at least some probability of it, before I find the requisite "bad faith." This, of course, involves an interpretation and construction of the state statutes under which the plaintiff is being prosecuted as well as the Replevin Statute upon which her defense is partially based. Upon a finding of innocence, I am then asked to determine that the "groundless" state court prosecution inhibits plaintiff's right to speak out against the defendants and that the state criminal system is inadequate to protect her from groundless charges such as these. For the reasons I shall discuss in detail, I decline the invitation extended by plaintiff's motion to embark on this pointless adventure.

The Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283 provides:

  "A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to
  stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly
  authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its
  jurisdiction,

  or to protect or effectuate its judgments."

Our Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Civil Rights Act, the basis of this action, does not authorize an exception to the clear mandate of section 2283. Smith v. Village of Lansing, 241 F.2d 856 (1957); Wojcik v. Palmer, 318 F.2d 171 (1963); Goss v. Illinois, 312 F.2d 257 (1963). See also Baines v. City of Danville, 4th Cir. en banc, 337 F.2d 579 (1964) and Sexton v. ...


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