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Confederation of Police v. Conlisk

decided: November 29, 1973.

CONFEDERATION OF POLICE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ITS MEMBERS, AND CLARENCE SHUEY, TONY MUGNOLO, STEVE L. SENO, EDWARD F. FINN, EDWARD MCGEE AND CHARLES DUSHANE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
JAMES B. CONLISK, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT; MARLIN JOHNSON, WILBUR N. DANIEL, PAUL W. GOODRICH AND MORGAN F. MURPHY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO POLICE BOARD; JAMES M. ROCHFORD, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS FIRST DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT; AND JAMES J. RIORDAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF OF PATROL, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. 73-C-563. JAMES B. PARSONS, Judge.

Castle, Senior Circuit Judge, and Pell and Sprecher, Circuit Judges.

Author: Pell

PELL, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of the district court which inter alia, directed the defendants to reinstate the individual plaintiffs to their civil service positions in the Chicago Police Department. Plaintiffs are the Confederation of Police and six individually named police officers. The defendants are officials of the Police Department and members of the Police Board.

All of the individually named plaintiffs were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury investigating allegations of criminal conspiracies and corruption among members of the Chicago Police Department. At the grand jury, each police officer was informed by the United States Attorney that whatever the witness said could be used against him. Each policeman was also advised of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. In reliance on the prior advice of counsel, each of the plaintiffs invoked the privilege and declined to answer questions. After the appearances at the grand jury, each of the police officers was summoned to appear before the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) of the Chicago Police Department. At this departmental inquiry, each policeman was directed by a superior officer to answer questions as to whether he had invoked the privilege against self-incrimination at his appearance before the grand jury. With a single exception, no police officer was questioned by the IAD concerning his "official duties," using that term in the sense of obligations ordinarily associated with police work as such.

All six police officers were suspended or discharged for violating certain rules of the Chicago Police Department by invoking the privilege against self-incrimination at the grand jury session. In particular, Rule 51 of the Police Department rules prohibited:

"Failing to give evidence before the Grand Jury, Coroner's inquest, in court, or before any governmental administrative body, including the Police Board, when properly called upon to do so, or refusing to testify on the grounds that such testimony might incriminate the member, or refusing to sign a waiver of immunity when requested to do so by a superior officer."*fn1

Suit was then brought by the six individual police officers and by the Confederation of Police on behalf of its members challenging the propriety of the suspensions and firings. The district court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and this appeal followed.

I

Analysis of the applicable case law must begin with Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 17 L. Ed. 2d 562, 87 S. Ct. 616 (1967). In Garrity, policemen were questioned at an investigatory hearing about alleged traffic ticket "fixing." Each policeman, after being told that he would be subject to discharge from office if he refused to answer, gave the requested information. The officers' answers were then used in subsequent criminal prosecutions in which the policemen were convicted. The Supreme Court reversed the convictions, holding that the threat of discharge was a form of compulsion, depriving the policemen of a free choice as to whether to answer. "The protection of the individual under the Fourteenth Amendment against coerced statements prohibits use in subsequent criminal proceedings of statements obtained under threat of removal from office." 385 U.S. at 500.

In Spevack v. Klein, 385 U.S. 511, 17 L. Ed. 2d 574, 87 S. Ct. 625 (1967), the companion case of Garrity, the Court held that an attorney could not be disbarred solely because he refused to testify at a judicial inquiry when his refusal was based on the ground that his testimony would tend to incriminate him. Justice Fortas, concurring, went on to state:

"This Court has never held . . . . that a policeman may not be discharged for refusal in disciplinary proceedings to testify as to his conduct as a police officer. It is quite a different matter if the State seeks to use the testimony given under this lash in a subsequent proceeding [as in Garrity ]." 385 U.S. at 519-20.

In Gardner v. Broderick, 392 U.S. 273, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1082, 88 S. Ct. 1913 (1968), and Uniformed Sanitation Men Ass'n, Inc. v. Commissioner of Sanitation, 392 U.S. 280, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1089, 88 S. Ct. 1917 (1968), the municipal employees involved had pursued an alternative course of action to that taken in Garrity. In Gardner, a policeman, pursuant to a subpoena, appeared before a grand jury investigating bribery and corruption in the police force. The police officer was advised of his privilege against self-incrimination but he was asked to sign a "waiver of immunity" after being told he would be discharged if he did not sign it. The officer in Gardner, unlike the policeman in Garrity, declined to testify and also refused to sign the waiver. He was then given an administrative hearing and discharged solely for his refusal to sign the waiver of immunity form. Similarly, in Uniformed Sanitation Men, municipal employees refused to testify or sign waivers of immunity when called before the city's Commissioner of Investigation, who was inquiring into improper activities by sanitation employees. As in Gardner, an administrative hearing was then held, after which the sanitation employees were discharged for refusing to testify.

A unanimous Court held the dismissals in both cases to be violative of constitutional rights. As the Court noted in Gardner, the policeman there "was discharged from office, not for failure to answer relevant questions about his official duties, but for refusal to waive a constitutional right. He was dismissed for failure to relinquish the protections of the privilege against self-incrimination." 392 U.S. at 278. The employees in both cases were entitled to remain silent at the inquiries into the alleged improper conduct since "it was clear that New York was seeking . ...


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