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MCKINNEY v. GEORGE

February 8, 1983

RAYMOND LEE MCKINNEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VELMA GEORGE, CHICAGO READ MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, DENNIS GRIFFIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF OF STAFF ON UNIT A NORTH OF CHICAGO READ MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, DOROTHY SHORE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A STAFF WORKER AT CHICAGO READ MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, THE CITY OF CHICAGO, JOHN P. COLLINS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMANDER OF THE 24TH DISTRICT CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICER SPARACINO, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER, NO. 5795, ANTHONY AGNOLI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER, OFFICER SAULI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER, NO. 76797, OFFICER JOHN DOE, NOS. 1 THROUGH 8, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Raymond Lee McKinney ("McKinney") brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was subjected to a series of unlawful arrests and involuntary commitments to mental institutions. McKinney asserts these acts were initiated by defendant Velma George over a three-year period to harass and intimidate him because he refused to sign disqualification affidavits relating to an election judge and a voter. George is alleged to have used her political influence as a precinct captain to involve the other defendants. We previously have granted a motion to dismiss defendants Chicago Read Mental Health Center and Chicago Police Officer Sauli,*fn1 and motions for summary judgment in favor of defendants Dennis Griffin and Dorothy Shore.*fn2 The case is presently before this Court on a motion for summary judgment by defendant police officers Cardon, Hart, Hamilton, Agnoli, Sparacino and Collins and by the City of Chicago.*fn3 For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant that motion.

Standard for Summary Judgment

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the party moving for a summary judgment has the burden of showing that there is no dispute as to any genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Cedillo v. International Association of Bridge & Structural Iron Workers, Local Union No. 1, 603 F.2d 7, 10 (7th Cir. 1979). The non-moving party is entitled to all reasonable inferences that can be made in its favor from the evidence presented. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 994, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Moutoux v. Gulling Auto Electric, Inc., 295 F.2d 573, 576 (7th Cir. 1961). Once the moving party conclusively shows that genuine issues of material facts are absent, the nonmovant may not merely rely on its pleadings, but rather must affirmatively set forth specific facts showing that there are issues which must be decided at trial. First National Bank of Arizona v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289-90, 88 S.Ct. 1575, 1593, 20 L.Ed.2d 569 (1968). Nor may the non-moving party create an issue of material fact through conjecture or speculation as to what evidence might be adduced at trial or turned up by further discovery. Abiodun v. Martin Oil Service, Inc., 475 F.2d 142, 144 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 866, 94 S.Ct. 57, 38 L.Ed.2d 86 (1973); Kirk v. Home Indemnity Co., 431 F.2d 554, 560 (7th Cir. 1970). If the non-movant does not affirmatively show by admissible evidence that there are material issues, then summary judgment is justified and appropriate. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has observed, "[w]ith the ever increasing burden upon the judiciary, persuasive reasons exist for the utilization of summary judgment procedure whenever appropriate." Kirk, supra at 560. With these standards in mind, we will examine the allegations presented in the second amended complaint and the arguments for and against summary judgment.

Count I — Federal Due Process

Plaintiff alleges that the acts of all defendants*fn4 violated his federal constitutional rights of due process.

On November 13, 1979, McKinney alleges Chicago Police Commander Collins directed officer Hamilton to apprehend McKinney and transport him to Chicago Read Mental Health Center on the basis of a petition Collins received from Velma George and twenty-three of McKinney's neighbors. When McKinney was taken to Chicago Read, Chicago police officer Sparacino signed the petition initiating his involuntary commitment.

The essence of McKinney's complaint is that he was denied due process by the defendants because the officers involved lacked probable cause to arrest him for disorderly conduct on December 17 or to apprehend and transport him to a mental health institution and initiate the process for involuntary commitment on either December 17, 1978, or November 13, 1979.

Due process rights are those which are of such fundamental importance so as to require compliance with a process which will guarantee that no arbitrary or unreasonable deprivation is made of life, liberty or property. Harrah Independent School District v. Martin, 440 U.S. 194, 198, 99 S.Ct. 1062, 1064, 59 L.Ed.2d 248 (1978). Due process rights require that arrests not be made without probable cause. Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed.2d 723 (1964). The standard for probable cause to arrest has been defined by the United States Supreme Court in Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L.Ed.2d 142 (1964): "[W]hether at that moment the facts and circumstances within their knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the petitioner had committed or was committing an offense." Id. at 91, 85 S.Ct. at 225. By its very nature, since probable cause deals with reasonableness and probabilities, there are no straight line measurements for legal technicians to employ in determining whether a particular arrest was justified. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 1310-11, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949). Instead, to justify "probable cause," an evaluation of the totality of the circumstances of a specific arrest, including both factual and practical considerations, must lead to the conclusion that the arrest was reasonable and prudent. Id. While probable cause must clearly be more than mere suspicion, it is not required that an officer have evidence sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Dumbra v. United States, 268 U.S. 435, 441, 45 S.Ct. 546, 548-49, 69 L.Ed. 1032 (1925); accord, People v. Paine, 6 Ill. App.3d 378, 286 N.E.2d 35 (1972).

Probable cause to arrest may be supported by information that is not observed personally by the arresting officer, even though the information is hearsay and inadmissible in court. Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 79 S.Ct. 329, 3 L.Ed.2d 327 (1959); United States v. Simon, 409 F.2d 474, 476 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 829, 90 S.Ct. 79, 24 L.Ed.2d 79 (1969); Daniels v. United States, 393 F.2d 359, 361 (D.C.App. 1968). Under the doctrine of Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed.2d 723 (1964), the credibility of the information and the person supplying the information must be shown. In the case of information supplied by an identified ordinary citizen, reliability is presumed. Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42, 90 S.Ct. 1975, 26 L.Ed.2d 419 (1970); Butler v. Goldblatt, 432 F. Supp. 1122 (N.D.Ill. 1977), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on other grounds, 589 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 841, 100 S.Ct. 82, 62 L.Ed.2d 53 (1979).*fn5 The reliability of an identified citizen complainant need not be personally known to the officer making the arrest, so long as his superior who authorizes the arrest can vouch for the credibility of the informant. Meiners v. Moriarity, 563 F.2d 343 (7th Cir. 1977); Daniels v. United States, 393 F.2d 359, 361 (D.C. Cir. 1968). See also People v. Kahl, 63 Ill. App.3d 703, 20 Ill.Dec. 487, 380 N.E.2d 487 (1978) (wherein the Illinois Appellate Court finds that under Illinois law there is no requirement for corroboration of information supplied by an identified citizen informant).

In the case at bar, no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether there was probable cause to arrest McKinney on December 17, 1978, or to apprehend him on November 13, 1979.*fn6 On both dates either the arresting officer or the superior who authorized the arrest had been given information stating sufficient facts about the behavior of the plaintiff to cause a prudent man to conclude that McKinney should be apprehended.*fn7 On each occasion the information was supplied by ordinary citizens whose credibility is presumed. McKinney has adduced no evidence of facts that would have led the police officers to question the credibility of the citizen-informers. McKinney's allegations that the complaints were fabricated may present a genuine issue regarding the behavior of defendant Velma George or of Wanda Harris, but those allegations do not present a genuine issue about the behavior of the policemen without some shred of evidence that a prudent policeman should have further investigated these presumptively valid citizen complaints.*fn8

There is no evidence presented by plaintiff that puts into question the fact that the Chicago police received presumptively reliable information about McKinney's actions which would cause a reasonable man to believe McKinney might injure himself or others.*fn10 It is not required by the statute or case law that the arresting officer personally observe erratic behavior in the case of a person who needs hospitalization for mental illness,*fn11 anymore than it is required for an officer to arrest only those whom he personally observes committing a crime.*fn12 Such a rule would be impractical and potentially dangerous, not only to the public at large, but to the individuals in need of medical treatment. Instead, the checks and balances against inappropriate detention of individuals under the Mental Health Code of Illinois are achieved by the requirements of swift examination by medical personnel, including certification of the need for detention by at least two physicians within twenty-four hours of admission, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 91 1/2, ยง 3-604 (1981), and a hearing on ...


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