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Booker v. Ward

August 29, 1996

CHARLES BOOKER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

JAMES WARD AND THOMAS KELLY, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVES, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 90 C 4602 William T. Hart, Judge.

Before BAUER, ROVNER, and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED JUNE 6, 1996

DECIDED AUGUST 29, 1996

On August 7, 1987, the defendants arrested Charles Booker for the murder of his fiancee, Lucy Williams. Booker confessed shortly after his arrest, and a jury convicted him of first degree murder. The Illinois Appellate Court found that probable cause did not exist to arrest Booker, reversed the conviction, and remanded the case for a hearing on the admissibility of Booker's confession. People v. Booker, 209 Ill. App. 3d 384, 393, 395, 568 N.E.2d 211, 218, 219 (Ill. App. 1 Dist. 1991) ("Booker I"). After the trial court found the confession sufficiently attenuated from the arrest to be admissible, the Appellate Court again reversed, holding that Booker's confession was the product of an unlawful arrest. People v. Booker, No. 92-0956, unpublished (Ill. App. 1 Dist. 1994). The trial court then dismissed the charges upon the prosecution's motion for a nolle prosequi order.

Despite his confession, in August 1990 Booker filed an unlawful arrest claim in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, seeking damages from Chicago Police Detectives Thomas Kelly and James Ward for his allegedly unlawful arrest and imprisonment "for crimes these defendants know plaintiff did not commit." In February 1992, the district court dismissed the case with leave to reinstate within 60 days after disposition of the state court proceedings. The court reinstated the case in November 1994. In February 1995, Booker filed his amended complaint naming Owens and Lewis as defendants in his unlawful arrest claim. *fn1 The district court granted Owens' and Lewis' motion to dismiss because Booker had not added them as defendants within the two-year statutory limitations period for sec. 1983 claims. The district court also granted Kelly's and Ward's motion for summary judgment, holding that probable cause existed for them to arrest Booker and that even if it did not, they were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On the morning of August 7, 1987, Lucy Williams' partially clothed body was discovered in a parking lot behind her apartment building. She had been bludgeoned to death between 4:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., the time she usually left for work. Williams' pants and underpants lay around her ankles. A rubber floor mat from Williams' car covered her groin area. Williams had no bruises in her genital area, nor was any semen found.

Kelly and Ward arrived at the scene at 8:45 a.m. Based on their experience and the physical evidence, the detectives concluded that the killer likely knew Williams. The "overkill" evident from the numerous head wounds, and the lack of bruising and semen in the genital area, indicated that the attack was not a sexual assault, but instead was an act of rage against Williams. A random killer likely would not have placed the car mat over Williams' groin to prevent the exposure of her genital area. A piece of metal protruding from the flat front left tire of Williams' car indicated that the killer may have planned the attack and wished to prevent Williams from leaving the area. This evidence of premeditation suggested that the killer knew Williams' work schedule.

Ward and Kelly interviewed a number of people at the crime scene. Williams' son Curtis told the detectives that his mother had returned from a date the previous evening between 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Curtis last saw his mother alone in her bed at around 10:30 p.m. A neighbor told Ward and Kelly that she heard a scream between 4:00 and 4:30 that morning, the time Williams usually left for work.

That morning, Booker received a telephone call at about 8:30 a.m. from a person at Williams' workplace inquiring about her absence. Booker telephoned Williams' apartment and "learned" she had been killed. Booker then went to her apartment, where he met Detectives Lewis and Owens. Owens contacted Kelly, who requested that Owens ask Booker if he voluntarily would accompany Owens and Lewis to the Area One headquarters to help with the investigation. Booker agreed, saying that he wanted to help in any way he could.

On the way to the station, they stopped for soft drinks and cigarettes. The three men arrived at the station between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. When Booker asked why he was being held, Lewis and Owens told him that he was not being held, but asked him to wait for Ward and Kelly to arrive. Throughout the time he waited at the station and during the ride to the station, Booker was not handcuffed, restrained, or threatened with physical force. The officers allowed Booker to use the bathroom and the telephone in the lineup room while he waited, although an officer sat at the desk while he used the telephone. Neither Owens nor Lewis expressly told Booker that he could leave or refuse to answer questions. Before Ward and Kelly arrived at the station, Owens and another officer examined Booker's fingernails and shoes for blood. No one told Ward and Kelly of this examination.

While Booker waited at the station, Ward and Kelly continued their interviews. Elaine Sims, Williams' cousin, told them that Williams and Booker had lived together, but that Williams had asked Booker to move out three weeks before because she no longer wanted to live with or marry him. Sims also said that Williams recently had had an abortion, but told Booker she had miscarried. Sims did not say that Booker had discovered Williams' lie, but did tell the detectives that Booker was very jealous, drank heavily, and often would forget what he did while drinking. However, Sims did not say that Booker was violent or that he ever had threatened to harm Williams.

Ward and Kelly arrived at the station between 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. At around 2:00 p.m., they began interviewing Booker in the lineup room where he had been waiting. Before they asked any questions, Ward and Kelly read Booker a standard Miranda warnings form and Booker signed the form. Although they did not expressly tell Booker he could leave, the Miranda warnings advised him of his right to not answer questions. Booker told the detectives that he had tried to reach Williams by telephone at about 8:00 p.m. the previous evening, and that he had talked to her about an hour later. He did not mention having any other contact with Williams that night. Booker stated that he had been out drinking with friends throughout the evening, that he slept at his girlfriend's home, and that he did not ...


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