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Hargarten v. Dart

January 15, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer


Plaintiff Allan Hargarten was stopped by Chicago police for atraffic offense and detained on an outstanding DuPage County warrant. In this action, he claims that Defendant Cook County officers overstated the bond amount set in the DuPage warrant, with the result that he was held in custody for eight days; had Defendants disclosed truthful information concerning the bond, Hargarten asserts, he would have been able to post the bond and would have been released promptly. Hargarten claims violations of his due process rights. Named as Defendants are Thomas Dart, the Sheriff of Cook County, and Salvador Godinez, Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections ("CCDOC") in their official capacities. In an earlier ruling, the court dismissed a state law claim as time-barred and a claim against the County as redundant of Plaintiff's claims against County officials, but otherwise denied Defendants' motion to dismiss. See Hargarten v. Sheahan, No. 05 C 6006, 2006 WL 3087108, at *1(N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2006). Defendants now seek summary judgment on the remaining claims. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.


The following facts have been taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses, and are not in dispute, unless otherwise indicated. Where a party's response to a Local Rule 56.1 statement of fact does not directly contradict the fact in question and the underlying support for the fact is sound, the court deems that fact admitted.*fn1

At some point prior to April 11, 1996, Plaintiff was charged with driving on a suspended license and fined $230. On April 11, 1996, DuPage County officials issued a bench warrant for Plaintiff's arrest as a result of his failure to appear in court on the suspended license charge. (Pl.'s. 56.1 ¶ 1; Intrastate Hold Affidavit, Ex. E to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J.) Bond on the warrant was a $3,000 D-Bond*fn2, which required the posting of cash in the amount of 10 percent of the total bond, in this case, $300. (Id.)

On November 6, 2003, Officer James F. Ciannella of the Chicago Police Department (hereinafter "CPD") arrested Plaintiff for running a stop sign. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 1.) Officer Ciannella told Plaintiff that DuPage County had issued a warrant for his arrest with a bond amount of $30,000.

(Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 2; Hargarten Dep. 11:14-12:14, Ex. A to Defs.' 56.1.) Plaintiff assumed the warrant must be for a traffic offense, but did not believe the bond amount could be as high as $30,000. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 4.) Plaintiff testified in his deposition that he asked Officer Cianella to confirm that the bond amount was in fact $30,000, but could not recall Officer Cianella's response. (Hargarten Dep. 15:9-18, Ex. A to Defs.' 56.1.) Officer Cianella took Plaintiff into custody, and CPD booked him and held him overnight. (Pl.'s 56.1 Reply ¶ 5.) Plaintiff testified that he had just under $300 on his person when he was arrested. (Hargarten Dep. 78:14-16, Ex. 4B to Pl.'s Mem. in Supp. of His Mot. for Summ. J.)

The following morning, November 7, 2003, Plaintiff was transported from CPD to an area of Cook County Jail known as "the bridge,"*fn3 where he was processed by Deputy Jennifer Bailey and Deputy Jason Dugger of the Cook County Sheriff's Department. (Defs.'56.1 ¶ 17; Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 2.) Before Cook County accepts custody of an inmate, CPD must supply the following paperwork to the deputy sheriffs at "the bridge": a transmittal form, "ICU" background,*fn4 the arrest report, any tickets and/or any misdemeanor or felony complaints, any out-of-county warrants, and a "goldenrod" (presumably a reference to its color)-a cover sheet stating the arrestee's name, date of birth, hair and eye color, weight, and a brief summary of his arrest. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 3.) If there is also an outof-county warrant for the inmate, the CPD must submit an "intrastate hold affidavit," apparently what happened in this case. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 4; Intrastate Hold Affidavit: CCDOC copy, Ex. E to Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Their Mot. for Summ. J. (hereinafter "Defs.' Mem.").) An intrastate hold affidavit sets forth the information in the out-of-county warrant, including the amount of bond set in the warrant. (Intrastate Hold Affidavit: CCDOC copy, Ex. E to Defs.' Mem.; DuPage County Warrant, Ex. F to Defs.' Mem.) Cook County Sheriff's Department procedure calls for deputy sheriffs on "the bridge" to check the information contained in the CPD inmate's paperwork against the information on the transmittal form before taking the arrestee into custody. (Pl.'s SOAF¶ 3.) If any of the required paperwork is missing or not in proper order, Sheriff's Department procedure requires the deputy clerk to refuse to accept custody of the inmate. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 24.) Sheriff's Department policy also dictates that the deputy clerk prepare two copies of the inmate's paperwork, one for the Circuit Court clerk's office and the other for the CCDOC LEADS (Law Enforcement Acquisition Data System) department. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 5.) The Sheriff's Department personnel deposit the paperwork for the court in the courtroom clerk's basket, and courtroom clerks then assemble an arrestee's permanent court file from those documents. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 11.) In addition, a Sheriff's deputy creates a "call sheet," a document listing the names and jail identification numbers of people in custody who have cases on the day's court call; the courtroom deputy refers to the "call sheet" throughout the daily court call. (Defs.' 56.1 SOMF ¶ 8.)

Defendants admit that there were two different versions of Plaintiff's intrastate hold affidavit: the version filed in the courtroom clerk's basket, which eventually became part of the court's permanent file, stated that bond was set at $3,000, and another version, the one in the CCDOC's LEADS file, stated that bond was set at $30,000. (Defs.' Resp. ¶ 7.) Defendants further admit that the courtroom clerk's office did not prepare any of the information contained on the intrastate hold affidavit sent to the courtroom clerk's basket. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 12, 13; Defs.' 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 6, 13.) If the deputy clerk became aware of any incorrect information in the intrastate hold affidavit or other paperwork, Sheriff's Department policy required that she notify the court clerk or the judge. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 23.) No one in the Sheriff's office had access to the court copies of the paperwork after they were delivered to the court clerk. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶ 6.)

After Cook County accepted custody of Plaintiff on November 7, a public defender was appointed to represent him, and he appeared before Judge Kevin Sheehan in a hearing to set bond on the traffic charges as well as the outstanding DuPage County warrant. (Defs.'56.1 ¶ 6-7, 19.) During the hearing, Shawn McGee, a deputy clerk of the court, notified Judge Sheehan that Plaintiff had no criminal background other than the traffic violation before the court and the outstanding warrant in DuPage County. Deputy McGee told the court that the DuPage County warrant was issued for failure to appear in a seven-year-old traffic case for driving with a suspended license, and that the bond on that warrant was set at $30,000. (Id. ¶ 7.) Deputy McGee's source for this information was the call sheet prepared by a Sheriff's deputy, which identified an outstanding warrant for Plaintiff, noted as "DuPage 30K 96TR001360." (Id. ¶ 8.)Deputy McGee testified that it was his practice during bond hearings to consult only the call sheet, and that on November 7, he adhered to that practice; that is, he consulted Plaintiff's call sheet only and did not look at the paperwork in the court clerk's file. (McGee Dep. 19:17-20:11, 27:17-28:11, Ex. B to Defs.' Mem.) In his deposition, Plaintiff stated that at this time he tried to make the court aware that the bond amount on the DuPage County warrant was incorrect, but the judge interrupted him. (Hargarten Dep. 23:21-24:11, 25:11-18, Ex. 4A to Pl.'s Am. Resp. to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Am. Resp.").) Plaintiff also told his public defender about the incorrect bond amount; the record does not reveal whether the attorney attempted to inform the judge of the mistake. (Hargarten Dep.25:5-10, Ex. 4A to Pl.'s Am. Resp.) According to Plaintiff, the court did ask Deputy McGee again to confirm the bond amount on the DuPage County warrant, and Deputy McGee, referring to the call sheet, again announced that the bond was set at $30,000. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 44.) Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the Cook County traffic charge. (Id. ¶ 11.) Judge Sheehan remanded Plaintiff on the DuPage County warrant and ordered the bond to stand at $30,000, thus requiring Plaintiff to post $3,000 bail for his release from custody on the DuPage charge. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 11.)

After the hearing, Plaintiff remained in Cook County Jail for seven days, until November 13, 2003, when he was retrieved by DuPage County officers. (Id. ¶¶ 12-14.) During that time, Plaintiff made numerous attempts to bring the error in the bond amount to the attention of the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Plaintiff's first three attempts occurred while he was in line during medical processing. First, Plaintiff approached a deputy at a medical checkpoint after the hearing. Plaintiff explained his situation and asked the deputy to whom he could speak about the false bond; the deputy did not respond. (Pl.'s SOAF ¶¶ 16-17.) Next, Plaintiff tried to speak with another Sheriff's Department employee while waiting in line during the medical process. When he leaned across the employee's desk to speak with her, "she pushed him off the desk and told him to shut up and get back in line." (Id. ¶ 18.) Finally, Plaintiff stepped out of line during a strip search to speak with a deputy, and another deputy "threw [Plaintiff] up against the wall for stepping out of line." (Id. ¶ 19.)

Later during his incarceration at CCDOC, Plaintiff made two more attempts to speak with Sheriff's Department employees. (Id. ¶ 20.) When an officer brought his first meal, Plaintiff told the officer that he was being wrongly held on a $30,000 bond for a traffic offense. (Id. ¶ 21.) According to Plaintiff, the officer said he could do nothing personally for Plaintiff, but offered to try to arrange for a chaplain to speak with him. (Id. ¶ 21.) The following day, Plaintiff spoke with another officer, who promised to discuss the situation with his own superior. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff testified that he received no response to these inquiries. (Id. ¶ 23.)

Plaintiff remained in Cook County custody until November 13, 2003, when officers of the DuPage County Sheriff's Department transported him to DuPage County Jail at around 1:30 p.m.*fn5 (Id. ¶ 36.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff appeared before a judge who reduced his bond to $1,000, requiring Plaintiff to post $100. (Id. ¶ 33.) A friend posted that amount for the bond, and Plaintiff was released from DuPage County custody at approximately 3:24 p.m. on November 13. (Id. ¶ 36.)

At the time of Plaintiff's incarceration, the Records Division of CCDOC was responsible for contacting outside agencies when inmates held on out-of-county warrants were ready for pickup. (Defs.' Resp. ¶ 29.) In 2003, the Records Division was staffed seven days a week, including holidays. (Defs.' Resp. ¶ 34.) Lieutenant Desaree Zeno-Johnson, the Records Division Unit Commander in November 2003, testified that, since at least 1991, CCDOC has had a policy of promptly notifying outside agencies and counties of any detainees being held on outstanding warrants; specifically, the policy calls for notice no later than the morning after the detainee is taken into custody and his or her paperwork is received. (Zeno-Johnson Dep. 31:5-32:21, Ex. F to Defs.' SOMF.) According to Lieutenant Zeno-Johnson, in 2003 the CCDOC notified outside agencies by phone when an inmate was ready for pickup but did not maintain a record of this initial notification to the outside agency. (Zeno-Johnson Dep. 22:12-19, Ex. 9 [Dkt. 133] to Pl.'s Am. Resp.) There is in fact no written record of CCDOC's initial contact with DuPage County to arrange for pick-up of Plaintiff. (Zeno-Johnson Dep. 81:6-13, Ex. 9 to Pl.'s Am. Resp.) Janet Tyner, an administrative assistant in the CCDOC Records Division, testified that in 2003, the policy was not always adhered to; it was common for the Records Division to take more than a day to notify an outside agency and "one to three days" was typical. (Tyner Dep. 19:5-13, Ex. 5A [Dkt. 24] to Pl.'s Am. Resp.) Even so, according to Ms. Tyner, CCDOC policy did call ...

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