The opinion of the court was delivered by: MATTHEW KENNELLY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Angel Rodriguez has sued Chicago police detectives Jon Woodall
and Ernest Halvorsen under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they
violated his right to a fair trial. He alleges that Woodall and
Halvorsen coerced a witness to falsely identify him as a murderer
and withheld this information from the prosecution at his trial.
Rodriguez has also sued the City of Chicago for indemnification
pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102. The defendants have moved for
summary judgment. For the reasons outlined below, the Court
denies the defendants' motion.
On March 10, 1998, a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County
convicted Rodriguez of murder, and a judge sentenced him to sixty
years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for entering a
grocery store and shooting Ibrahim Zayed, the owner of the store.
The Illinois Appellate Court reversed the conviction on March 31,
2000 because of the lack of reliable evidence against Rodriguez.
On June 6, 2003, Rodriguez filed this suit against Woodall and Halvorsen, two of the detectives involved in the murder
investigation, alleging that they wrongfully pressured a witness
into falsely identifying him as the shooter and failed to inform
prosecutors of this.
Halvorsen evidently first became involved with the murder
investigation on January 15, 1997, when he was asked to locate
Andrew Bolton, a seventeen year old who was working with Zayed at
the time of the shooting, to show him a photo array of possible
suspects. Defs' 56.1 Stmt. at ¶ 11. Halvorsen showed Bolton six
photos, but he failed to identify anyone. But Halvorsen did not
stop there; in an affidavit, Bolton claims that Halvorsen
repeatedly came to his house and showed him photographs. Bolton
Aff. ¶ 10. In March 1997, Halvorsen showed Bolton an array of six
photos that included a picture of Rodriguez. Bolton selected
Rodriguez's picture. Id. at ¶ 20; Bolton Dep. at 10-12.
Rodriguez contends that Halvorsen coerced Bolton to identify
Rodriguez by repeatedly showing Bolton photo arrays that always
included Rodriguez's picture and by threatening Bolton. Pl's 2d
Am. Compl. ¶ 44. As evidence of this misconduct, Rodriguez
directs the Court's attention to Bolton's affidavit. In that
affidavit, Bolton stated that Halvorsen "repeatedly" came to his
house and showed him photographs and asked if Bolton could
identify the killer from the photographs. Bolton Aff. ¶ 10.
Bolton said that Halvorsen "suggested to me that I had something
to do with" the murder, which made Bolton scared he could be
charged. Id. ¶ 11. Bolton stated that he ultimately chose
Rodriguez from the photo array "only because his photograph was
always included with other photographs that were shown to me,"
which suggested to Bolton that the police wanted him to select
Rodriguez. Id. ¶ 14.
Halvorsen acknowledges that he presented photo arrays to Bolton
on two separate occasions, but he claims that he "did not pick out, point to or
suggest that Bolton choose plaintiff's photograph in any way."
Defs' 56.1 Stmt. at ¶ 21. As evidence that he conducted the photo
arrays properly, Halvorsen refers the Court to Bolton's testimony
during his deposition that the police did not suggest that he
select Rodriguez's picture and that paragraph 18 of his affidavit
is inaccurate in that regard. Bolton Dep. at 11-12, 26. Bolton
also testified at the criminal trial that he truthfully picked
out Rodriguez from the photo array. Crim. Trial Tr. at 88.
Detective Woodall's only involvement with the Zayed murder
investigation occurred in March 1997, when he conducted a line-up
for Bolton and Tyrone Reaves, the two witnesses to the murder.
Reaves was just outside the store after the shooting and saw the
suspect fleeing down the sidewalk. During the line-up, Bolton
purportedly identified Rodriguez as the shooter. Crim. Trial Tr.
at 133. Rodriguez, however, contends that this identification was
coerced by Woodall.
Rodriguez alleges that Woodall pressured Bolton to select
Rodriguez as the shooter by pointing at Rodriguez during the
line-up and making comments about his criminal record and
background. Specifically, Bolton stated in his April 23, 2003
affidavit that despite the fact that he knew Rodriguez was not
the shooter, he selected Rodriguez out of the line-up due to
pressure from Woodall who was "constantly saying, `this got to be
the guy he is from around the area and is known.'" Bolton Aff. at
¶ 16. Similarly, when asked during his deposition in this case
whether the officer told him to pick out a certain person, Bolton
answered that before he picked anyone, the officer pointed at
Rodriguez and said "Look at this guy. His background, it's messed
up. He the only one around the neighborhood be robbing and
stealing, doing you know, doing a lot of crimes." Bolton Dep. at 14.*fn1
Bolton further testified that the officer at the line-up
suggested that he, Bolton, might have been involved in the Zayed
murder and threatened that if he did not pick someone out of the
line-up, the police might start questioning him. Id. at 36-38.
Somewhat inconsistently, however, Bolton later seemed to say that
he had already picked Rodriguez out of the line-up when the
officer made this statement. Id. But a jury reasonably could
understand Bolton to be saying that this threat was made before
the identification; arguably nothing else makes sense.
Reaves corroborates key aspects of Bolton's testimony in his
own affidavit. He states that although Bolton initially told the
officer that none of the suspects in the line-up were the
shooter, the officer then asked if he was sure it was not number
three, because "[h]e fits the description." Reaves Aff. at ¶¶
23-24. Reaves testified that Bolton at that point acknowledged
that Rodriguez looked like the shooter and became positive that
he was the shooter after the officer continued to make references
to Rodriguez's background and neighborhood. Id. at ¶¶ 25-27.
Woodall contends, however, that the evidence submitted by
Rodriguez contradicts Bolton's sworn testimony at the trial and
his deposition in this case. During Rodriguez's criminal trial,
Bolton testified that he picked out Rodriguez from the line-up.
Defs' 56.1 Stmt. at ¶ 35. Later, in his May 17, 2004 deposition,
Bolton confirmed that he had testified truthfully at the trial
when he said that Rodriguez had killed Zayed, id. ¶ 43, and
also admitted that at the time of the line-up, he was sure that Rodriguez was the shooter and
that he had told the truth when he picked him out. Id. at ¶¶
41-42; Pl's 56.1 Resp. at ¶¶ 41-42. Woodall likewise points out
that despite the fact that Reaves denied in his affidavit himself
picked Rodriguez out of the line-up, this was at odds with his
testimony before the grand jury that he did pick Rodriguez out of
the line-up as Zayed's murderer. Reaves Aff. at ¶ 22; Grand Jury
Tr. at 16. Finally, the defendants highlight the fact that Bolton
testified that he did not read the affidavit before he signed it
and that it was not notarized in his presence. Bolton Dep. at
22-23. (Bolton testified at his deposition, however, that only
two paragraphs of the affidavit were inaccurate paragraphs 15
and 18. See id. at 23-28.)
Summary judgment is appropriate where "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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R. Civ. P.
56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In
determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the
Court must construe all facts and draw all reasonable and