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.

WEICHERDING v. RIEGEL

October 30, 1997

WALLACE WEICHERDING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID A. RIEGEL, KENNETH P. DOBUCKI, AND HOWARD C. PETERS, III, ALL INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

Correctional officer is terminated for his association with the Ku Klux Klan.

Are Defendants entitled to qualified immunity? Yes.

I. BACKGROUND

Wallace Weicherding ("Weicherding") was employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections ("DOC") for more than 13 years. He worked first as a correctional officer and then as a sergeant at the Graham Correctional Center ("Graham"). In 1992, while employed by the Department of Corrections, Weicherding attended a Ku Klux Klan rally, although he did not actually join the Klan until after his termination from DOC in November 1993.

Weicherding claims that he never talked about the Ku Klux Klan to any staff member at Graham but that during the week of August 12, 1993, he did answer questions initiated by Tom L. Babicky, head of the gang control unit for the Department of Corrections, including giving information that a Ku Klux Klan rally was going to be held in the fall in Greenville or Vandalia. Additionally, Weicherding participated — during non-working hours-in distributing literature to the public to inform them about the goals and ideals of the Ku Klux Klan and inform them that a rally was to be held on September 18, 1993 at his home. Weicherding also appeared on television announcing the September 18 rally.

On or about September 2, 1993, Defendant Kenneth P. Dobucki ("Dobucki"), the Warden of Graham, initiated an investigation of Weicherding by the Investigations Unit of the Department of Corrections. Then, about October 7, 1993, Defendants Howard C. Peters III ("Peters"), the Director of the Department of Corrections, and Warden Dobucki received the investigation report. The report was based on interviews with other correctional officers and concluded that Weicherding attempted to recruit employees of Graham to attend the Ku Klux Klan rally at his residence and distributed pamphlets. It also concluded that Weicherding had openly expressed racial beliefs by stating the phrases "Weiss Macht" (white power), "W.P." or "Wilson Pickett," along with giving Ku Klux Klan hand signals to employees. The report also noted Weicherding's appearance on television when he expressed his association with the Ku Klux Klan and promoted the rally.

On October 22, 1993, Defendant David Riegel, the Assistant Warden, referred Weicherding to the employee review officer for a hearing on the charge that Weicherding violated Department Rule 120.30, which reads:

  Individuals shall conduct themselves in a manner
  which will not reflect unfavorably on the
  Department, and shall not engage in conduct which
  is unbecoming or impairs the operations of the
  Department.

Weicherding was terminated in November 1993.

Other than some comments by inmates, there were no disruptions at Graham because of Weicherding's beliefs. No incident reports were written up about any of the inmates' comments.

Weicherding claims he did not talk about the Ku Klux Klan to any staff at Graham, did not distribute literature at Graham, and did not display any Klan signals to other Klan members. Furthermore, Weicherding claims that no disruption at the prison occurred because of his beliefs.

Weicherding brought this action against Riegel, Dobucki, and Peters claiming that he was terminated in violation of his First Amendment right of association. The Defendants filed a motion for summary ...


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.