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ARNOLD v. CITY OF CHICAGO

October 3, 1991

SIMON ARNOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, PATROL OFFICER A. FULLER, PATROL OFFICER E. GUEST, DETECTIVE LERACY, DETECTIVE GRINNING, RICHARD M. DALEY, A.S.A. GERBER, and A.S.A. JOHN ROE, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Simon Arnold is serving a ten-year sentence as a result of his 1987 conviction for armed robbery, armed violence, and unlawful restraint. See People v. Arnold, 218 Ill. App. 3d 647, 1991 Ill. App. LEXIS 1372, 160 Ill. Dec. 784, 577 N.E.2d 1355 (Aug. 14, 1991). Arnold brings this action seeking damages and declaratory relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for his arrest and initial detention. On January 19, 1989, the court dismissed all defendants except the City of Chicago ("City") and City police officers Anise Fuller, Eileen Guest, Robert Grining, and Edmund Leracz. Arnold has filed a motion for summary judgment to which the remaining defendants responded with a summary judgment motion of their own. For the reasons that follow, the court grants summary judgment in favor of defendants.

 Arnold's amended complaint contains two counts against the City and the individual police officers. In Count I, Arnold charges police officers Fuller, Guest, and Grining with false arrest and malicious prosecution. Count II asserts that the City and defendant Leracz violated Arnold's right under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to a prompt judicial determination of probable cause following his warrantless arrest. *fn1"

 Because the court grants summary judgment to defendants, it must read the record in the light most favorable to Arnold. See Stokes v. City of Madison, 930 F.2d 1163, 1168 (7th Cir. 1991). Arnold's case begins with his November 22, 1985 arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle. According to Arnold, he and a friend left a house where they were visiting to go to a liquor store at around 1:00 a.m. When he and his friend came out of the house they saw a police car sitting in the middle of the street. Officers Fuller and Guest called him and his friend over and took them into custody for possession of a stolen vehicle that was parked in the street with its motor running. *fn2" Following the arrest, the officers took Arnold to the police station.

 At the police station, Fuller and Guest placed Arnold in an interview room and questioned him about the stolen auto. Fuller then contacted the state's attorney in charge of felony review and received approval to charge Arnold with possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Guest in the meantime wrote out a traffic ticket charging Arnold with leaving a motor vehicle unattended with its motor running. According to Arnold, Fuller left the interview room to check on the search of the recovered vehicle. When she returned, she had a roll of quarters and a pack of city vehicle stickers that she had found in the squad car. *fn3" Fuller ran a computer check on the numbers on the city stickers and discovered that they had been stolen during an armed robbery of a currency exchange a week earlier. At 2:20 a.m., Fuller called detective Leracz who, after being advised of the situation, obtained and reviewed the file on the armed robbery investigation. Leracz proceeded to the station where he observed that Arnold generally fit the physical description of the man involved in the armed robbery of the currency exchange. He noted, however, that Arnold was taller than the man the victims described. *fn4"

 At 3:15 a.m., Leracz telephoned the victims of the armed robbery to arrange a lineup. Because all the victims could not attend until the following evening, Leracz scheduled the lineup for 8:00 p.m. After his conversation with the victims, he signed Arnold out of the lock-up, took his picture, and questioned him about his involvement in the armed robbery. At about 4:00 a.m., Leracz asked the watch commander for permission to hold Arnold past court call in order to conduct the lineup. A General Order of the Chicago Police Department in effect at the time of Arnold's detention permitted a watch commander to authorize holding a detainee past court call to continue an investigation. Leracz received permission to hold Arnold past the morning court call.

 At the lineup conducted the next day, each of the three victims in the armed robbery of the currency exchange identified Arnold as the offender. Arnold was returned to the lock-up where he remained until the next morning when he was taken before a judge who found probable cause on both the possession of stolen vehicle and the armed robbery charges. Arnold spent thirty-four hours in custody between the time of his arrest and his first appearance before a judicial officer.

 On November 27, 1985, Arnold was indicted for armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and armed violence in connection with the robbery of the currency exchange. In the course of his trial, Arnold moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. After conducting a hearing, the trial court concluded that Guest and Fuller had probable cause at the time they arrested Arnold for possession of a stolen vehicle and denied the motion. Both the traffic citation and the stolen vehicle charges were dropped.

 Count I of the amended complaint alleges false arrest and malicious prosecution. Arnold maintains that Fuller and Guest arrested him without probable cause, that Fuller, with the aid of Grining, filed a "false malicious criminal complaint" charging him with possession of a stolen vehicle, and that Guest falsely cited him for leaving a vehicle unattended with its motor running. Defendants assert that the doctrine of collateral estoppel bars Arnold from litigating his false arrest and malicious prosecution claims because the state court already determined in the suppression hearing that the police had probable cause to arrest Arnold.

 It is well-settled that issues decided in state criminal proceedings may estop subsequent litigation for violations of civil rights under § 1983. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 104, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308, 101 S. Ct. 411 (1980); see Appley v. West, 832 F.2d 1021, 1025-26 (7th Cir. 1987). Under the full faith and credit statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1738, a federal court generally must afford a state court determination the same preclusive effect that it would receive in the state's own courts. See Marrese v. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373, 380, 84 L. Ed. 2d 274, 105 S. Ct. 1327 (1985); Bailey v. Andrews, 811 F.2d 366, 369 (7th Cir. 1987). Federal courts look first to the law of the state to "promote the comity between state and federal courts that has been recognized as a bulwark of the federal system." Allen, 449 U.S. at 96. Because state law applies, the court must examine Illinois law and determine what preclusive effect its courts would give to a finding of probable cause in a pretrial suppression hearing.

 The standards for invoking collateral estoppel in Illinois are set forth in Farmer v. Lane, 864 F.2d 473, 477 (7th Cir. 1988) (citations omitted):

 
In general, collateral estoppel precludes the relitigation of issues in a subsequent proceeding when (1) the party against whom the estoppel is asserted was a party to the prior adjudication, (2) the issues which form the basis of the estoppel were actually litigated and decided on the merits in the prior suit, (3) the resolution of the particular issues was necessary to the court's judgment, and (4) those issues are identical to issues raised in the subsequent suit.

 Any question as to whether these general principles would apply to the facts of this case were answered in Stevenson v. City of Chicago, 638 F. Supp. 136 (N.D.Ill. 1986). After a thorough canvas of Illinois law, Stevenson determined that "Illinois courts would, if faced with the question, allow defensive use of collateral estoppel to preclude, if appropriate, relitigation of Fourth Amendment issues determined by an earlier pretrial suppression hearing in a criminal case." Id. at 141; see also Willis v. Bell, 687 F. Supp. 380, 386 (N.D.Ill. 1988). This court agrees. Arnold had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the legality of his arrest at his pretrial ...


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