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.

Hughes v. Krause

March 31, 2008

LADELL HUGHES, BY HIS MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND, MARGARET HUGHES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY SUZANNE KRAUSE, ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY GEORGE CANELLIS, UNKNOWN ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEYS, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE J. EGAN, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE EDWARD CARROLL, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE JAMES PRUGAR, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE CARL LOEFFLER, CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER K. LEAHY, THE CITY OF CHICAGO, THE OFFICE OF THE COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY, AND THE COUNTY OF COOK DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wayne R. Andersen District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Ladell Hughes ("Hughes" or "Plaintiff") has sued various defendants, including two Illinois Assistant State's Attorneys (the "SAO Defendants" or, for purposes of this order, "Defendants"), for claims arising out of a criminal investigation that targeted Hughes. The SAO Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), claiming: 1) they are entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity, 2) the Eleventh Amendment prevents Plaintiff from suing them in their official capacities, and 3) sovereign immunity prevents this court from adjudicating Plaintiff's claims. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

The Court takes the following factual contentions from the Complaint. On or around June 25, 2003, a woman named Tammy Rogers was assaulted in the City of Chicago. Ladell Hughes, then a fifteen-year-old boy with "dramatic and obvious" mental disabilities, was in the vicinity of the crime when it occurred . Though Hughes had done nothing to suggest he was guilty of assaulting Ms. Rogers, and though no evidence linked Hughes to the crime, Chicago Police Officer K. Leahy (a defendant in this case) detained Hughes and took him to Chicago's Area 4 Police Headquarters.

The precise nature and sequence of the events that transpired at Area 4 are not clear from the Complaint, but allegedly, some time after Hughes was taken to Area 4, four Chicago police detectives (who are also defendants in this suit) were assigned to the investigation and began to interrogate Hughes. At some point, Assistant State's Attorney Suzanne Krause joined the interrogation. Together, the five interrogators allegedly used "a number of improper and coercive interrogation tactics" and inflicted "physical abuse" upon Hughes. After allegedly subjecting Hughes to this abusive behavior, Krause and one of the detectives allegedly fabricated a confession and coerced Hughes into signing it.

As the criminal case against Hughes developed, evidence exonerating him came to light, including an audiotape and the results of a DNA test. Allegedly, despite being aware of this exculpatory evidence, the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney-along with Assistant State's Attorney George Canellis continued to prosecute the case. Hughes remained in jail during this time, and spent a total of over two years there.

In 2006, Hughes decided to sue various defendants: the police officers involved in the case, the City of Chicago, Cook County, the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney, various unknown Assistant State's Attorneys, and Assistant State's Attorneys Krause and Canellis. In the Complaint, which contains a total of twelve counts, Hughes claims that he is entitled to monetary relief under both Illinois and federal law, including 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In response to the Complaint, the SAO Defendants-Krause and Canellis-have filed a motion to dismiss.

The following counts of the Complaint apply to the SAO Defendants and are being challenged by the SAO Defendants in their motion to dismiss: Counts I-V (claims under §1983 for violations of due process); Count VII (an Illinois state law claim for false imprisonment); Count VIII (an Illinois state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress); Count IX (an Illinois state law claim for malicious prosecution); and Count X (another § 1983 claim). For the reasons set forth below, the SAO Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

DISCUSSION

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must assume that all facts alleged in the complaint are true and must draw reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See, e.g., Singer v. Pierce & Assocs., P.C., 383 F.3d 596, 597 (7th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). The court must then determine whether the complaint satisfies "two easy-to-clear hurdles." E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). First, the complaint's factual allegations must give the defendant adequate notice of the plaintiff's claims, and second, the complaint must raise the possibility that the plaintiff has a right to relief above the speculative level. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 & 1973 n. 14 (2007)).

I. Prosecutorial Immunity

Despite broad language in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeming to impose liability on all state officials regardless of title or function, the Supreme Court has preserved the common law defense of absolute immunity for prosecutors faced with § 1983 suits. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 417, 424 (1976); see also Smith v. Power, 346 F.3d 740, 742 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Imbler, 424 U.S. at 430). Illinois also recognizes some form of prosecutorial immunity, though the Illinois version appears to be slightly different from its federal counterpart. See, e.g., Aboufariss v. City of De Kalb, 713 N.E.2d 804, 812 (Ill. App. Ct. 1999); cf. White v. City of Chicago, 861 N.E.2d 1083, 1088-90 (Ill. App. Ct. 2006). Because Plaintiff raises claims under both § 1983 and state law, the SAO Defendants' absolute immunity defenses must be analyzed under both the federal and Illinois doctrines of prosecutorial immunity. See, e.g., Aboufariss, 713 N.E.2d at 812 (conducting a separate analysis for state prosecutorial immunity).

A. Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity and the § 1983 Claims

With regard to the § 1983 claims, Plaintiff argues that ruling on the immunity issue at this stage of the litigation would "essentially create a heightened pleading standard." This argument might be persuasive in the context of qualified immunity. See Jacobs v. City of Chicago, 215 F.3d 758, 765 n.3 (7th Cir. 2000) ("in many cases, the existence of qualified immunity will depend on the particular facts of a given case") (emphasis supplied). However, Imbler established absolute rather than qualified immunity for prosecutors, 424 U.S. at 424-25, and it is absolute immunity which is being invoked by the SAO Defendants in their Motion to Dismiss. The distinction between absolute and qualified immunity is important from a procedural standpoint; the Imbler Court noted that "absolute immunity defeats a suit at the outset, so long as the official's actions were within the scope of the immunity," whereas qualified immunity must be evaluated in light of facts not necessarily present in the pleadings. Imbler, 424 U.S. at 419 n. 13; see also Scheuer ...


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.