The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Waleska Victoria Castillo Crespo ("Castillo") has sued
Defendant Randy Railey, Illinois Secretary of State ("SOS")
Investigator, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that
Defendant violated her civil rights by arresting her without probable
cause. Defendant has moved for summary judgment. For the reasons set
forth below, Defendant's motion is granted.
Plaintiff was born in Cook County, Illinois and lived in Puerto Rico
until August of 2002. She lived in Illinois until the age of three, when
her family moved to Puerto Rico. School District U46 held a recruiting
session in Puerto Rico. to recruit teachers to work in the United States.
Castillo accepted a teaching position with the District. She thereafter
signed a contract with the District to teach at Larkin High School in
Elgin, Illinois during the Fall 2002/Spring 2003 school year.
Defendant Randy Railey is employed by the Illinois SOS Police
Department as an investigator. He has over 21 years experience in law
enforcement, and has worked with the SOS police since April of 2000. His duties include making traffic stops,
conducting criminal investigations and testifying in court. The SOS
trained Railey in dealing with false documents and identifying fraudulent
identification cards. Before August 16, 2002, Officer Railey had reviewed
documents brought to him by SOS employees on 50-100 occasions, and had
arrested an estimated 75 to 100 people for having fraudulent documents.
In 2002, Officer Railey worked both from an office and from his squad
car. He also used the SOS facility in Elgin as a substation to complete
paperwork. When working in the SOS office building, one of Railey's
responsibilities is to advise the clerical staff of the validity of
identification documents. When Officer Railey questions the validity of
documents submitted to the SOS, he normally takes the person into
custody, creating a detention situation, until he conducts further
On August 16, 2002, Castillo went to the SOS's office in Elgin,
Illinois to apply for an Illinois driver's license. Castillo presented
three forms of identification to Sherry Soderberg, an SOS employee, at
the Elgin license facility: an original, laminated social security card;
a Cook County, Illinois birth certificate; and a driver's license from
Puerto Rico. Some of the numbers on her driver's license were not fully
printed and hard to read. Soderberg took Castillo's forms of
identification to Officer Railey for review because she thought
Castillo's driver's license had been altered. After reviewing the
identification forms, Officer Railey arrested Castillo for making a false
application for a driver's license. He had never seen the Puerto Rican
driver's license format submitted by Castillo, the numbers on her license
were not fully printed, and he observed a pen and ink change on the
social security card. Railey arrested Castillo at the counter, handcuffed
her hands behind her back, and took her into custody. Railey took
Castillo to his office, removed her hands from behind her back, removed one cuff
and attached it to the wall. Castillo sat in a chair.
Officer Railey then verified Castillo's social security number,
reviewed other identification documents in Castillo's purse, including
her credit cards and voter registration card, and reviewed a book in his
vehicle which contained a picture of a Puerto Rico. license that matched
Castillo's license format. Officer Railey released Castillo and she
received her Illinois driver's license. The entire incident with Officer
Railey lasted approximately 25 minutes.
Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). 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." Pugh v. City of Attica, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir.
2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986)). "Only disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude
the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at
2510. The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986). A party will
successfully oppose summary judgment only if it presents "definite,
competent evidence to rebut the motion." Equal Employment Opportunity
Comm'n v. Roebuck & Co., 233 F.3d 432, 437 (7th Cir. 2000). The Court "considers the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party, and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor."
Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002).
II. Railey Had Probable Cause to Arrest Castillo
"It is well settled that the actual existence of probable cause to
arrest precludes a § 1983 suit for false arrest." Juriss v. McGowan,
957 F.2d 345, 349 n. 1 (7th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). Indeed, "a
person arrested with probable cause cannot cry false arrest" Id. Thus, if
Defendant had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff, her Section 1983 claim
"In order to have probable cause for an arrest, law enforcement agents
must reasonably believe, in light of the facts and circumstances within
their knowledge at the time of the arrest, that the suspect had committed
or was committing an offense." Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 775 (7th
Cir. 2003), citing United States v. Hayes, 236 F.3d 891, 894 (7th Cir.
2001). "The test is an objective one and evaluates whether probable cause
existed on the facts as they appeared to a reasonable police officer,
even if the reasonable belief of that officer is ultimately found to be
incorrect." Id. Probable cause is an appropriate determination for
summary judgment "when there is no room for a difference of opinion
concerning the facts or the reasonable inferences to be drawn from them."
Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467, 473 (7th Cir. 1997)