Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JACKSON v. DORIA

March 25, 1994

SHARON JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD DORIA, Sheriff of DuPage County, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Sharon Jackson brings this action against defendant Richard Doria, Sheriff of DuPage County, claiming violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doria has moved to dismiss Jackson's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Doria's motion is denied.

 I. Background

 On January 7, 1986, plaintiff Sharon Jackson was arrested in Park Forest, Illinois. After fingerprinting Jackson, the arresting officer discovered an arrest warrant for "Sharon Jackson" bearing plaintiff's driver's license number. However, plaintiff does not fit the description on the warrant, live at the address listed on the warrant, or have the same fingerprints as the person identified on the warrant. Notwithstanding these facts, and despite plaintiff's protestations that she was not person listed on the warrant, the officer executed the warrant against plaintiff, and then released her on bond. She subsequently established to Judge Bowman of the DuPage County Circuit Court that she was not the "Sharon Jackson" named in the warrant. The charges were dropped, and the warrant was reissued in the name of "Sherry Jackson." In addition, her public defender gave her a letter stating that the arrest warrant was in error and that the charges had been dropped.

 Approximately six months later, a Harvey, Illinois police officer stopped plaintiff for a traffic violation. The officer discovered the warrant for "Sherry Jackson," still bearing plaintiff's driver's license number, in the Illinois State Police Law Enforcement Data System ("LEADS"), and took plaintiff to the Harvey police station. Although plaintiff informed the officers that she was not the person named in the warrant, and showed them the letter from her public defender, the officers refused to release her, nor did they check her fingerprints. She was taken to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office and spent the night in jail. She again appeared before Judge Bowman, who immediately dropped all charges against her. The court's order instructed arresting agencies to verify the identity of anyone arrested pursuant to the warrant in the future through a fingerprint check. *fn1"

 However, in August, 1987, when plaintiff was stopped for a traffic violation, she was again arrested based upon the warrant. She was detained at the Flossmoor, Illinois police station and released. She was again detained on January 5, 1988 in Matteson, Illinois, when police discovered the "Sherry Jackson" warrant. Finally, on November 25, 1991, after being stopped for a speeding violation, she was arrested when a computer check on her driver's license again revealed the warrant. She was detained at the police station in Chicago Heights, Illinois before being released. Despite plaintiff's five arrests on this warrant, the DuPage County Sheriff never corrected the warrant by removing her driver's license number, or took any other effort to clear or modify the warrant. Although the warrant was quashed in May, 1992, Jackson has alleged that it remains active in the DuPage County Sheriff's computer warrant system and in LEADS. Jackson alleges that defendant Doria violated her constitutional rights by failing implement procedures that would prevent the repeated arrest of one person under a warrant issued for another person. Doria has moved to dismiss, asserting that Jackson has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

 II. Motion to Dismiss Standard

 A motion to dismiss should not be granted unless it "appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); see also Beam v. IPCO Corp., 838 F.2d 242, 244 (7th Cir. 1988); Ellsworth v. City of Racine, 774 F.2d 182, 184 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1047, 89 L. Ed. 2d 574, 106 S. Ct. 1265 (1986). We take the "well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and view them, as well as reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Balabanos v. North Am. Inv. Group, Ltd., 708 F. Supp. 1488, 1491 n.1 (N.D. Ill. 1988) (citing Ellsworth).

 III. Discussion

 We will first consider whether the Eleventh Amendment shields Doria from liability in the present action. It is well established that official capacity suits against state officials are deemed to be suits against the state, and are therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Will v. Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70-71, 105 L. Ed. 2d 45, 109 S. Ct. 2304 (1989). *fn2" Under Illinois law, however, the Sheriff of DuPage County is a county, rather than state, official. See Ill. Const. art. VII, § 4(c). As such, he is generally not entitled to Eleventh Amendment protection. See Scott v. O'Grady, 975 F.2d 366, 371 (7th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 124 L. Ed. 2d 643, 113 S. Ct. 2421 (1993). This generalization notwithstanding, a county official can be considered a state official with Eleventh Amendment immunity if he or she "acts as an arm of the Illinois state judicial system in executing Writs of Assistance and other state court orders." Id. Doria maintains that he is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity under Scott because he acted as a state official in executing an arrest warrant issued by a state court.

 This contention, however, has been repeatedly rejected by judges in this district. For example, in Hvorcik v. Sheahan, No. 92 C 7329, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7569, 1993 WL 192948 (N.D. Ill. June 3, 1993), in considering the same argument presented here, the court concluded:

 
Quite unlike the action implicated in Scott, [Sheriff] Sheahan's activities that are the gravamen of the [complaint] -- those relating to the establishment and maintenance of records as to outstanding warrants do not represent the purely ministerial enforcement of the orders of the state judiciary (they are not the fulfillment of a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.