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Anderson v. Gutschenritter

decided: January 7, 1988.

DAVID ANDERSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARTIN GUTSCHENRITTER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SHERIFF OF SANGAMON COUNTY, LARRY DICK, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS WARDEN OF SANGAMON COUNTY JAIL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Springfield Division, No. 81 C 3200, Richard Mills, Judge.

Wood, Jr., Coffey, and Ripple, Circuit Judges.

Author: Coffey

COFFEY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant David Anderson filed a section 19 suit against Martin Gutschenritter, the Sheriff of Sangamon County, Illinois, Larry Dick, the Sangamon County Jail Warden, and Sangamon County. The district court granted the County's motion for summary judgment and directed a verdict in favor of Gutschenritter and Dick at the close of all evidence. We reverse.

I.

Anderson was charged with attempted murder and armed robbery of a fifteen year-old gas station attendant whose throat he allegedly slashed.*fn1 Anderson was incarcerated prior to his trial in the Sangamon County Jail in Springfield, Illinois on June 29, 1976. In the first month of his incarceration, Anderson had several conversations with Sheriff Gutschenritter. The first conversation occurred within a week after Anderson entered the jail when a correctional officer escorted Anderson to an interrogation room, saying that the sheriff wanted to see him. Also present in the room was a detective whom Anderson had never seen before.

According to Anderson,*fn2 the sheriff poked him in the face with his finger, and referring to the victim of the crime Anderson was charged with, the sheriff said, "If anything happens to that kid, if he died, I am going to personally cut your throat." Gutschenritter then started moving his arms around in different holding techniques, asking Anderson how he had committed the crime, whether he did it "this way or did he do it that way." Anderson did not respond to any of Gutschenritter's comments. Gutschenritter then said to "get this garbage or trash out of sight" and ordered Anderson to be taken back to his cell.

Anderson's second conversation with Gutschenritter took place about a week later when Gutschenritter came back into the cell block. Gutschenritter was talking to a couple of inmates when he spotted Anderson. Gutschenritter told Anderson that he ought to see all the hate mail and phone calls he was getting concerning Anderson. Gutschenritter also said, "You know, people on the street want you dead." Again, Anderson did not respond to these comments.

Three or four days later, Gutschenritter was again back in the cell block. When he saw Anderson, he stopped. Gutschenritter repeated that he continued to receive a lot of phone calls and hate mail and said, "They must really want you pretty bad."

Thereafter, Anderson sent a note to Dick, the warden of the jail, asking to see him. When Anderson arrived at Dick's office, both Dick and Gutschenritter were there. Anderson told Dick that Gutschenritter had threatened him and asked Dick to see that Gutschenritter left him alone. Anderson also asked Dick to have Gutschenritter stay out of the cell block because Gutschenritter was stirring up trouble.

Anderson's next conversation with Gutschenritter occurred on July 17, 1976 in Dick's office after Anderson had once again sent a note to Dick asking to see him. Anderson told Dick and Gutschenritter that he had heard rumors that someone was out to get him, and he asked them to place him in protective custody. Anderson could not identify who was allegedly after him, but he said he took the warning very seriously. Dick and Gutschenritter told Anderson that if he could not give them a name, there was nothing they could do to help him. They then sent Anderson back to his cell and did not investigate the matter further.

Two days later, on July 19, 1976, Anderson awoke to find his cell mate, Steven Swearingen, stabbing him. He heard Sweanngen say, "I'm going to get you for getting that sixteen year-old kid." Anderson fought Swearingen off, but Swearingen managed to stab Anderson twenty-seven times with a five and a half-inch knife. Another inmate finally called for assistance, and an officer helped Anderson out into the cat walk and applied some first aid. Anderson was taken by ambulance to St. John's Hospital where he was hospitalized for three weeks.

The day after the Swearingen attack, Anderson's sixteen year-old sister visited Gutschenritter's office to gain permission to see her brother. Gutschenritter informed her that he could not understand why she wanted to see her brother, saying "if it was my brother, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with him after what he had done." Gutschenritter also told her that "if I had to do it over again, Anderson would have laid there a bit longer because after what he did, he didn't deserve to live, that he should be dead." Later, Gutschenritter visited Anderson in the hospital and said, "You should have died. You would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money."

Anderson returned to the jail when he was released from the hospital. He asked to be placed in an individual cell, and Dick granted his request. While Anderson was out of his cell to exercise one day, four other inmates in segregation attacked and beat him after one inmate said, "We got us a killer here. Come and get some." No corrections officer was ...


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