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KNOX v. DONAHUE

November 25, 2002

PAUL KNOX, PLAINTIFF
V.
MARJORIE DONAHUE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Paul Knox ("Knox") initially filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") action against six Illinois Department of Corrections ("Department") employees: Parole Agent Deborah Smith ("Smith"), Community Service Department Supervisor Melvin Walker ("Walker"), Field Services Officer Sena Landreth ("Landreth"), Department Director Donald Snyder, Jr. ("Snyder"), Community Services Department Deputy Director George DeTella ("DeTella") and Department legal counsel Kent Steinkamp ("Steinkamp"). Knox charges that he was deprived of his constitutional rights under the Fourth*fn1 and Fourteenth Amendments when on two separate occasions he was arrested and detained for violating the conditions of his mandatory supervised release without probable cause.

This Court's April 4, 2001 oral order held that Landreth, Steinkamp and Snyder lacked the requisite personal involvement in the alleged deprivations and dismissed Knox's claims against those defendants. That left Smith, Walker and DeTella, who have now filed a joint Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56 summary judgment motion, pursuant to which both sides have complied with this District Court's LR 56.1.*fn2

K. Mem. 7 n. 4 says Knox has decided not to pursue his claims against DeTella because discovery has revealed that DeTella also had no personal involvement in Knox's arrests (see Whitford v. Boglino, 63 F.3d 527, 530-31 (7th Cir. 1995) (per curiam)). Knox's claim against DeTella is therefore also dismissed. As for the joint Smith-Walker motion, for the reasons set out here it is granted in part and denied in part.

Summary Judgment Standards

Familiar Rule 56 principles impose on parties moving for summary judgment the burden of establishing the lack of a genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose this Court must "consider the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party . . . and draw all reasonable inferences in his favor" (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)). And Pugh v. City of Attica, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001) has echoed the teaching of Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)

A genuine issue of triable fact exists only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."

As with any summary judgment motion, this Court accepts nonmovant Knox's version of any disputed facts, but only so long as it is supported by record evidence. What follows in the Background section is culled from the parties' submissions in those terms.

Background

Over the past 20 years Knox has been in and out of Department custody for a variety of offenses, including a 1976 conviction for two counts of rape (S-W. St. ¶ 8). After Knox had completed the sentences for his earlier convictions, in 1999 he was serving a one year sentence for possession of controlled substances.*fn3 In the spring of 1999 plans were made to place him on mandatory supervised release (also called "parole") (id. ¶ 9; S-W. Ex. G) — a status that required him to remain under intensive supervision and to reside at a host site with his brother and ailing mother in Robbins, Illinois (S-W. St. ¶ 10).

On two separate occasions during the period of that parole arrangement, a warrant was issued and Knox was arrested for violating conditions of his release. Because Knox claims that both of those arrests violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure, this opinion examines each episode and its ensuing arrest in some detail.

On April 1 Knox signed a Parole or Mandatory Release Agreement ("Agreement") that, among other conditions, required that he comply with the instructions of his parole agent (S-W. St. ¶¶ 11-l2). Knox also signed a reporting instruction form stating that he was required to register as a sex offender, but he did not sign the Electronic Home Detention Rules form or the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act form (id. ¶ 13). On April 2 Knox was released on parole (id. ¶ 21).

That afternoon Smith, assigned as Knox's parole agent, met with Knox at the host site (S-W. St. ¶ 21). Because Knox was living in an apartment adjacent to his brother's apartment and did not have regular access to a telephone as required for home monitoring, Smith instructed him to call the toll free number for Automated Management Systems ("AMS")*fn4 from a nearby pay phone every two hours (id. ¶ 23). According to Smith, she also requested that he register as a sex offender and gave him a window of time within which to do so (id.). Knox disputes the latter, stating that Smith instructed him to remain home and gave him permission to leave only to use the pay phone to call AMS (K. St. ¶ 6).

During that host site visit Smith called AMS, and the AMS record reflects her instructions to Knox to call in. But neither the AMS record nor Smith's violation report mentions that she gave Knox permission to leave home to register (K. St. ¶ 7). Because Smith told AMS that Knox did not have access to a telephone, a technician was not sent to his home to hook up the electronic monitoring system (S-W. R. St. ¶ 14).

As recorded by AMS, Knox called in at 8:13 p.m. and 11 p.m. on April 2, but he did not check in again until 2:32 p.m. the following day (S-W. St. ¶ 25). During that morning lapse AMS paged Smith, who then requested that a warrant be issued for Knox as a parole violator (id. ¶¶ 26-28). Smith's violation report says that Knox committed the offense of unauthorized movement or absence, noting that he did not check in as directed and that he failed to register as a sex offender. Smith's supervisor Walker issued a parole violator warrant on April 3 (id. ¶ 29).

Unaware of that warrant, Knox continued to call AMS approximately every two to four hours (S-W. Ex. J) until April 9, when the warrant was executed and Knox was retaken into Department's physical custody (S-W. St. ¶¶ 29-30). On May 3 Knox was notified of the charges against him and waived his preliminary hearing (id. ¶¶ 31-32). After a full revocation hearing, a May 11 Prisoner Review Board order declared that Knox had violated his mandatory supervised release but ordered that plans should be made for his continued parole (id. ¶ 33; S-W. Ex. L).

On May 28 Knox was again released on parole to the same host site. Knox signed an Agreement with the Board that contained the same conditions as his prior release and that also specifically required him to comply with the Sexual Offender Registration Act ("Act," 730 ILCS 150/1 to 150/12) and to attend sex offender counseling (S-W. st. ¶¶ 35-39). Again Knox signed his reporting instructions requiring that he go directly to his host site and call AMS, but once more he failed to sign the Electronic Home Detention Rules (id. ¶ 39).

Upon arriving at his host site on the night of May 28, Knox called to check in with AMS. According to a call recorded by AMS, early the following morning a technician attempted to install the home monitoring electronic equipment at the host site, but Knox's mother and brother refused to allow the hookup because Knox would not be allowed access to that telephone (S-W. Ex. O at 25).

At 1 p.m. May 29 AMS paged Smith because Knox had not called in since the previous evening and attempts to reach him at the host site's telephone number had been rejected by Knox's brother, who said he did not know Knox's whereabouts (K. Reap. St. ΒΆ 46). Smith responded by asking AMS to page her supervisor to request that a warrant be issued on Knox (K. St. ...


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