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KNOX v. GENISON

November 1, 1989

MILAN KNOX, Plaintiff,
v.
JIMMY GENISON,1 Defendant


Milton I. Shadur, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

MILTON I. SHADUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Milan Knox ("Knox") sues Village of Robbins police officer Jimmy Ganison ("Ganison") in this 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 ("Section 1983") action, charging that Ganison suborned perjured testimony that caused Knox to be convicted of attempted murder, armed violence based on attempted murder and unlawful use of weapons. Ganison has now moved for summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Ganison's motion is denied.

 Facts2

 On June 25, 1982 Garland Blackman ("Blackman") -- and not Knox -- fired four or five shots out of a moving automobile in Robbins, Illinois, wounding Jerome Williams ("Williams") (Blackman Aff., P. Ex. A). *fn3" Blackman later confessed to Ganison that he had done so (Knox Aff., P. Ex. B). Despite that knowledge, Ganison told Williams to testify that it was Knox who shot him. *fn4" Ganison held out, as an inducement to Williams to perjure himself, that Ganison would see to it that different criminal charges pending against Williams would be dismissed (Affs. of Paul Knox, P. Ex. C; Steven Anderson, P. Ex. G; Daris Ratliff, P. Ex. H; Frank Toles, P. Ex. I; and Ralph Hudson, P. Ex. J).

 Williams proceeded to give that perjured testimony at Knox's bench trial, and Knox was convicted. Knox's two post-conviction efforts proved unavailing:

 
1. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal (D. Ex. 4).
 
2. His post-conviction petition was denied without an evidentiary hearing, and that denial was also affirmed on appeal (D. Ex. 5).

 However, none of the state courts was ever presented with the assertion made in this case -- that Ganison had suborned Williams' false testimony.

 Factual Disputes

 One of Ganison's three arguments on the current motion should never had been made -- he asserts the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. That is really arrant nonsense, given the existence of the affidavits supporting Knox's story as reflected in the "Facts" section of this opinion (see n. 2).

 It may well be that at trial a jury will accept Ganison's word over those of the affiants, as his lawyer now asks this Court to do. But the jury may equally well choose to believe those affiants as witnesses rather than Ganison. It is really unpardonable for counsel to waste the time of this Court and opposing counsel by advancing such an untenable argument in the face of established Rule 56 jurisprudence (again see n. 2).

 Absolute Immunity

 Heidelberg v. Hammer, 577 F.2d 429, 432 (7th Cir. 1978) found a police officer's subornation of perjured testimony actionable under Section 1983. Ganison contends that holding has been overtaken by Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 341-46, 75 L. Ed. 2d 96, 103 S. Ct. 1108 (1983), which granted absolute immunity to a police officer for his own perjured testimony. Ganison also points to Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 424-31, 47 L. Ed. 2d 128, 96 S. Ct. ...


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