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Douglas v. Daniels





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.


Plaintiff, Arthur Douglas, appeals from the trial court's affirmance of the Chicago Police Board's decision to discharge him from the force. He presents the following issues for review: (1) whether admissions suppressed in a prior criminal proceeding are admissible in a subsequent civil proceeding and (2) whether the decision was against the manifest weight of the evidence.

It appears that at approximately 11 p.m. on August 27, 1971, two automobiles were parked in close proximity along the shore of Lake Michigan. One was occupied by Gregory McCarthy and Darlene Barnett and the other by plaintiff, an off-duty Chicago police officer, and his friend William Walls, who was relating the details of his marital problems. Eventually plaintiff approached the other automobile, ordered Gregory to produce identification, and after some conversation drove off in the company of Darlene. Thirty to 45 minutes later plaintiff returned to the scene with her. Thereafter she and Gregory complained to police officials that she had been raped by plaintiff and that he had been robbed by Walls. Plaintiff was subsequently indicted and tried for rape, robbery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but was convicted only of the latter offense. His conviction was reversed on appeal and thereafter administrative proceedings were commenced which eventually resulted in his discharge from the Chicago Police Force.

At the hearing before the Chicago Police Board, Darlene and Gregory testified that when plaintiff approached their car he identified himself as a police officer, informed them that they were under arrest for engaging in sexual intercourse, ordered Darlene into his car and drove off with her while Walls remained with Gregory. Darlene further testified that after leaving the lakefront plaintiff drove for 15 minutes during which period she informed him that she was 16 years old and after questioning her regarding her feelings for Gregory, he then asked Darlene to have intercourse with him. When she refused he stopped the car in an alley, forcibly removed her clothing, and had sexual intercourse with her.

To the contrary, plaintiff testified that he and Darlene had not engaged in sexual intercourse. He stated that he approached the McCarthy car after observing that Darlene was disrobed above her waist and upon reaching the car saw that the couple were engaging in sexual intercourse. At this point he identified himself as a police officer, but did not arrest the couple indicating only that he wished to ask them a few questions. He further testified that Darlene was crying as she exited the vehicle and that he asked her to have a seat in his car. Moments later he returned to his car where Darlene informed him that she was 19 years old, had an illegitimate child, and lived with her aunt. As he believed parental guidance was called for he suggested that they telephone her aunt. After notifying Gregory that he and Darlene were leaving to make a phone call, plaintiff drove to a nearby gasoline station where Darlene begged him not to make the call as it would cause her expulsion from the house. Plaintiff agreed and returned with her to the lakefront and the company of Gregory.

Concerning the events at the lakefront during plaintiff's absence, Gregory testified that pursuant to a conversation with Walls *fn1 he gave all the money he had to Walls. He did not inform plaintiff of this fact on the latter's return, but did notice that Darlene was crying and that her hair and clothes were in disarray. After the departure of plaintiff, Darlene told him that she had been raped by plaintiff.

It appears that upon the complaint of Darlene and Gregory plaintiff was arrested in the early morning hours of August 28. Captain John Corless of the Chicago Police Department testified that after plaintiff was advised of his rights he signed waiver forms and requested an opportunity to tell Corless what had happened. During the course of two oral statements plaintiff stated that he had observed Darlene and Gregory having sexual intercourse in a parked car and informed them that they could be arrested for such conduct. Darlene then interjected that she would do anything to avoid arrest whereupon he asked if that included sexual intercourse. When Darlene replied affirmatively they left the scene and had sexual relations. At the hearing, however, plaintiff testified that he signed the waiver forms on pain of losing his job and denied making any statement to Captain Corless. Moreover, plaintiff's attorney argued that testimony regarding the statements was inadmissible before the Police Board as such evidence had been suppressed in the prior criminal proceeding on the ground that he was threatened with the loss of his job if he refused to make a statement.

During the course of the hearing a letter received by plaintiff while his criminal conviction appeal was pending was admitted into evidence. The letter stated in pertinent part:

"I know you're going to be surprised when you receive this letter.

I wanted to write this letter long ago. I've had a lot of sleepless nights thinking how you were found guilty of a crime you did not do.

I've made my mind up to tell the truth to the judge, the states attorney and to the police dept, you did not have a sexual intercourse with me that night.

Mr. Douglas, you were very nice to Gregory and me that night, but Greg just had bitter feelings toward you, and insisted that I say you raped me.

I love my husband *fn2 very much, but he is a very bitter and jealous man and I did as he wished.

Mr. Douglas you were very nice to me, and I'm sorry for me and Gregg that I said you raped me, when ...

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