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MCMURRY v. SHEAHAN

May 15, 1996

HERMAN McMURRY, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Cook County and his individual capacity; AURELIA PUCINSKI, in her individual capacity and in her official capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County; CITY OF CHICAGO, a Municipal Corporation; CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER E. FOLEY, Star No. 17601, in his official capacity and in his individual capacity; and J.W. FAIRMAN, JR. in his individual capacity, and in his official capacity as Executive Director of the Department of Corrections, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GETTLEMAN

 Plaintiff, Herman M. McMurry, has filed a fourteen count amended complaint against defendants: Michael Sheahan, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois; Aurelia Pucinski, individually and in her official capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois; The City of Chicago; J.W. Fairman, Jr., individually and in his official capacity as the Executive Director of the Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail; and Chicago Police Officer E. Foley, individually and in his official capacity. Plaintiff alleges federal civil rights violations, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as violations of state common law.

 Plaintiff alleges he was attacked and homosexually raped while awaiting court ordered release from Cook County jail after having been unlawfully arrested on an invalid warrant. Counts I and II are brought against Sheahan in his individual and official capacity, respectively, as Sheriff of Cook County for his failure to properly maintain a computer system to process quashed and recalled orders, resulting in plaintiff's unlawful arrest. Counts III and IV are brought against Pucinski in her official capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County for maintaining a policy and/or practice of not entering quash and recall orders, which resulted in plaintiff's unlawful arrest, and for a failure to provide access to files and computer records, which resulted in plaintiff's incarceration for additional days. Count V is brought against Pucinski individually for her failure to correct these deficiencies despite actual knowledge that hundreds of individuals were arrested each year on invalid warrants.

 Counts VI and VII are brought against defendant Fairman individually and in his official capacity as Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections for failing to protect plaintiff from attack. Count VIII is brought against the City for maintaining a practice of failing to properly train and supervise its employees with regard to investigating warrants, despite its knowledge that quash and recall orders are not being processed. Counts X and XI are brought against all defendants under section 1983 for false arrest and imprisonment, alleging violations of plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the Constitution.

 Counts X and XI, XII, XIII and XIV are state law claims for negligent and intentional false imprisonment against all defendants in both their official and individual capacities. The court's jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the doctrine of supplemental jurisdiction as codified in 28 U.S.C. § 1367. All defendants have moved to dismiss the amended complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied in part and granted in part.

 FACTS

 According to the complaint, which the court accepts at true for the purposes of 12(b)(6), on Friday July 1, 1994, at or about 9:20 p.m., Foley stopped plaintiff for a routine traffic violation. Following procedure, Foley, checked his computer system and found that there was an outstanding warrant for plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff had, however, already appeared in court and the warrant had been quashed. Plaintiff alleges that he told Foley that any and all warrants for his arrest had been quashed and that he had the receipts at home proving that he had made restitution and could produce those receipts. Foley refused to listen, and arrested plaintiff on the warrant. According to plaintiff, and it is undisputed by defendants, the warrant was, as plaintiff had tried to explain, no longer valid. It was, however, still active on the sheriff's computer and/or the LEADS *fn1" system.

 According to the complaint, defendants use various law enforcement computer networks that list outstanding warrants. Since 1982, the Sheriff of Cook County has used a computer called SPWA to track active warrants. After a warrant issues from or is recalled by a court in Cook County, the Clerk of the Circuit Court puts a copy into a Sheriff's basket at the Clerk's office. An employee of the Sheriff's office periodically picks up these papers so that warrant clerks can enter them into SPWA. The Clerk's office keeps a computer database of felony warrants and every month sends the Sheriff a list of non-traffic warrants and recall orders so the Sheriff can update his computer records. Although only the Sheriff's office has direct access to SPWA, other law enforcement agencies often ask for information by telephone or teletype, and the Sheriff obliges.

 LEADS is a database that is supposed to include all active warrants in the state. Its purpose is to enable law enforcement agencies to access and post information about arrest warrants, which are supposed to be validated and purged on a regular schedule. Any officer who stops a motorist or questions a passerby can check with LEADS or SPWA to determine if there is an outstanding warrant for that person. Plaintiff alleges that the system is a total failure and cannot be relied upon.

 Despite plaintiff's protestation that the computer system was incorrect, Foley arrested and incarcerated plaintiff on Friday July 1, 1994. After spending the weekend in jail, plaintiff was first allowed to appear before a judge on July 5, 1994. At that time, Judge L. Green determined that the warrant had in fact been quashed and ordered plaintiff's release. Plaintiff, however, was not immediately released. Instead, he was returned to the sheriff's custody and incarcerated at Cook County jail again, awaiting processing. He was not "processed out" until three a.m. the next day, over ten hours later. While in the sheriff's custody, plaintiff, who was guilty of nothing and never even charged with a crime, was placed in the general prison population *fn2" at Cook County Jail, where he was raped and sexually assaulted by other unknown inmates.

 MOTION TO DISMISS

 All defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint. A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 12(b)(6) is not a test of the merits of the claim, but rather a test of whether the plaintiff has properly stated a claim. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974). When deciding a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all well pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Lashbrook v. Oerkfitz, 65 F.3d 1339, 1343 (7th Cir. 1995). The court will dismiss the complaint only when it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no consistent set of facts entitling him to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984).

 DISCUSSIO ...


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