who were not home when the searches occurred.
The sweeps were explicitly authorized and directed by Vincent Line, acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the CHA, when he determined that the appropriate preconditions for a sweep had been met. Those preconditions include random gunfire from building to building and/or intimidation at gunpoint or by shooting if weapons were taken into buildings. If CHA police officers could not ascertain into which apartments weapons had been taken, they would request that a sweep be authorized. The most notorious instance triggering a sweep was random gunfire threatening the lives of workers installing window guards on buildings at the Robert Taylor homes.
Although no written policy has been adopted by the CHA, the CHA has advised the court that it intends to order these sweeps if the appropriate preconditions exist in the future. The CHA has defined these preconditions and the subsequent sweeps as its "Search Policy." The court, the plaintiffs and the intervenors accept this definition of "Search Policy."
It is this Search Policy that the plaintiffs seek to enjoin in the case of Pratt, et al. v. CHA, 93 C 6985. Plaintiffs contend that searches conducted pursuant to the Search Policy violate the Fourth Amendment's constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. The common denominator of the events triggering implementation of the Search Policy is the perceived need to respond on a dramatic basis to criminal activity which threatens the lives and safety of innocent persons in and around the CHA buildings.
Plaintiffs in the Pratt case do not seek to limit CHA actions taken pursuant to the Consent Decree entered in the related case of Summeries, et al. v. CHA, 88 C 10566. Searches authorized by the Summeries decree are not in response to particular criminal activity. The Summeries case was brought by CHA tenants alleging constitutional violations in connection with (1) emergency housing inspections of CHA properties by CHA and the City of Chicago Police Department, and (2) CHA's policy regarding visitors and guests to CHA properties which have been inspected and secured. Since the entry of the Summeries Consent Decree, the CHA has conducted numerous housing inspections at buildings throughout its system in order to identify and remove unauthorized occupants, inspect the condition of apartment units, distribute resident identification cards and secure the entranceways to the buildings. The CHA personnel and police officers are not allowed to search drawers, closets or personal effects under the Summeries Consent Decree.
In order to grant a preliminary injunction, the court must find that: (1) the plaintiffs have at least a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits; (2) plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law and will be irreparably injured if the defendants are not enjoined; (3) the balance of hardships favors granting the preliminary injunction; and (4) the public interest will not be disserved if the injunction is granted. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Salvano, 999 F.2d 211, 214 (7th Cir. 1993); Wesley-Jessen Div., Etc. v. Bausch & Lomb, Inc., 698 F.2d 862, 865 (7th Cir. 1983). Plaintiffs have the burden of proving each of these factors. Roland v. Air Line Employees Ass'n, Int'l, 753 F.2d 1385, 1392 (7th Cir. 1985). In this case, the court is satisfied that plaintiffs have carried their burden of demonstrating that the circumstances meet each of the four requirements.
A. Likelihood of Success
In this case, there is a reasonable likelihood that plaintiffs will succeed in proving that the CHA's Search Policy violates the requirements of the Fourth Amendment that non-consensual searches of a home for law-enforcement purposes be based in all cases upon probable cause, and that such searches be made pursuant to a warrant, except in cases of extreme immediate urgency known as "exigent circumstances." The Fourth Amendment provides:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.