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Reed v. City Of Chicago

March 12, 1996






Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 94 C 2776--John A. Nordberg, Judge.

Before BAUER and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges, and SKINNER, District Judge. *fn*

BAUER, Circuit Judge.



Jeffrey Reed appeals the district court's dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 action against the City of Chicago and various Chicago Police officers ("detectives"). Reed sued the City and the detectives for his allegedly unlawful confinement for approximately 23 months prior to his acquittal of first degree murder. His four count-complaint proposed a variety of legal theories supporting liability. The district court rejected all of them and dismissed the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). We affirm.


Although the legal issues in this case are somewhat confusing, the facts as alleged in Reed's complaint are not. In early June 1991, defendants Griffin, Murphy, Kroll, Christophersen, Stehlik, Turner, and Green began investigating a recent killing. On June 12, 1991, the detectives went to the home of the prime suspect, Garvin Bryant. Bryant denied his own guilt but fingered Reed as the killer. Another person at Bryant's home corroborated this information. Without further investigation, and without an arrest or search warrant, detectives Turner, Kroll, and Murphy went to Reed's home and placed him under arrest for first degree murder. Shortly thereafter, a grand jury indicted Reed for murder based solely on the detectives' testimony and statements. Unable to post bond, Reed remained incarcerated for approximately 23 months while the case was pending. During that time, Reed filed a motion to quash the indictment. Detectives Turner, Kroll, and Murphy testified at the hearing on the motion to quash. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the detectives had probable cause to arrest Reed based on the statements they received at Bryant's home. On May 5, 1993, the court acquitted Reed in a bench trial.

As discussed below, this case would be much simpler if Reed had filed a timely (by June 12, 1993) wrongful arrest lawsuit against the detectives. Instead, Reed filed his four-count complaint in federal court on May 4, 1994. *fn1 Count I alleged a Fourth Amendment violation in that the detectives deprived Reed of his right to be free from unlawful arrest, unreasonable search and seizure, wrongful confinement and detention, and malicious prosecution. Count II, also against the detectives, charged that Reed's post-arrest confinement was oppressive and "shocking to the conscience" in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Count III alleged a pendent state law malicious prosecution claim against the City and the detectives. Count IV alleged that the City and the detectives had negligently violated a special duty owed to Reed.

All defendants moved to dismiss Reed's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The district court granted the motion in all respects. It found that Reed's unlawful arrest, search and seizure claims were barred by the two year statute of limitations. More significantly for this appeal, the district court found that neither the Fourth nor the Fourteenth Amendment supported Reed's malicious prosecution and unlawful confinement claims. Finally, the district court declined supplemental jurisdiction over the state law malicious prosecution claim.

Although Reed proffered a number of legal theories supporting liability in the district court, his appeal addresses only his malicious prosecution and unlawful confinement claims against the detectives. The unlawful confinement claim is essentially identical to his malicious prosecution claim, and, as discussed below, fails for the same reason. For simplicity's sake, we will address them together under the label of malicious prosecution.


We review de novo the dismissal of Reed's complaint. Starnes v. Capital Cities Media, Inc., 39 F.3d 1394, 1396 (7th Cir. 1994). We assume all well-pleaded allegations to be true and we draw all inferences in Reed's favor. Id. However, we "are not compelled to accept . . . conclusory allegations concerning the legal effect of facts set out in the complaint." Baxter by Baxter v. Vigo County School Corp., 26 F.3d 728, 730 (7th Cir. 1994). In reviewing the district court's dismissal of a complaint, we may affirm on any ground contained in the record. Cushing v. City of Chicago, 3 F.3d 1156, 1167 (7th Cir. 1993).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) the defendant deprived the plaintiff of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and (2) the defendant acted under color of state law. Starnes, 39 F.3d at 1396. The latter criterion is not at issue in this case. To state a claim for malicious prosecution under section 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) he has satisfied the requirements of a state law cause of action for malicious prosecution; (2) the malicious prosecution was committed by state actors; and (3) he was deprived of liberty. Smart v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois, 34 F.3d 432, 434 (7th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S. Ct. 941 (1995). To state a claim for malicious prosecution under Illinois law, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was subjected to judicial proceedings; (2) for which there was no probable cause; (3) ...

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