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Patterson v. Burge

September 27, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joan B. Gottschall United States District Court Judge

Judge Joan B. Gottschall


Currently before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants Peter Troy and William Lacy. Plaintiff has responded and the Defendants have replied. For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motions and dismisses the claims against Troy and Lacy.


In 1986, Plaintiff Aaron Patterson ("Plaintiff") was convicted of murdering Vincent and Rafaela Sanchez and was sentenced to death. In 1992, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence. One of Plaintiff's claims rejected on appeal was that his confession, which was introduced at trial, was not true and was the result of a physically coercive interrogation. Plaintiff alleged that officers at the Area 2 Headquarters of the Chicago Police Department had beaten and tortured Plaintiff.

In November of 1990, the Office of Professional Standards ("OPS") of the Chicago Police Department issued a report which found that, from 1973 to 1985, there was a pattern of abuse and torture of suspects in Area 2. It is not clear whether claims specifically about Plaintiff's abuse had yet been investigated at that time. On January 10, 2003, former Illinois Governor George Ryan pardoned Plaintiff and three other death row inmates allegedly tortured by Area 2 officers.

In June of 2003, Plaintiff initiated this suit against several Area 2 police officers and against former Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and Assistant State's Attorneys ("ASA") Peter Troy and William Lacy (who is now a Cook County Circuit Court Judge). Plaintiff has settled with all but four of the Defendants. Only Troy, Lacy, Devine, and the State's Attorney's Office remain in the case. All four of the Defendants have filed motions for summary judgment. This opinion addresses only the motions filed by Troy and Lacy. The motions by Devine and the State's Attorney's Office are addressed in a separate opinion.

The facts of this case are discussed in greater detail in the "Facts" section of this opinion. Briefly summarized, Plaintiff alleges the following. Area 2 officers beat and tortured him when interrogating him about the Sanchez murders. The officers coerced a false confession. Troy and Lacy were called to Area 2 to take Plaintiff's statement after he involuntarily agreed to confess. Troy prepared a false statement and asked Plaintiff to sign it. When Plaintiff refused to sign it, Troy attacked Plaintiff. Troy testified at Plaintiff's criminal trial that, even though Plaintiff refused to sign the statement, he had assented to the facts of the statement. With respect to Lacy, Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that he participated in the creation of the false statement, but Plaintiff now insists that Lacy was not present.

Based upon Troy and Lacy's alleged creation of a false statement, Troy's attacking Plaintiff when he refused to sign it, and Troy's testimony about the statement at Plaintiff's criminal trial, Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint asserts six counts: violation of his due process right to a fair trial (count I); coercive interrogation (count II); torture and physical abuse (count III); and state law claims of malicious prosecution (count V); intentional infliction of emotional stress (count VI); and conspiracy (count VII).*fn1 For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Troy and Lacy's summary judgment motions and dismisses the claims against them.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In determining the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, the court construes all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). When addressing a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255.

If the moving party meets its burden of showing that there are no issues of material fact, the nonmoving party has the burden "to go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact." Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if a reasonable finder of fact could return a decision for the nonmoving party based upon the record. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; Insolia v. Phillip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2000).

B. N.D. Ill. Local Rules 56.1 and 56.2

Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. The notice explains the consequences of failing to respond properly to a motion for summary judgment and to a statement of material facts. (R. 16, Defs.' Rule 56.2 Notice.)

The purpose of a Local Rule 56.1 Statement is to identify the relevant evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006). The parties' statements assist the court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Specifically, Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). The nonmoving party must then admit or deny every factual statement proffered by the moving party and concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005).

A litigant's failure to respond properly to a Rule 56.1 Statement results in the court considering the uncontroverted statement as true. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). No responses or "evasive denials" allow the court to assume that uncontested facts in a Rule 56.1 Statement are true. Bordelon v. Chicago School Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 528 (7th Cir. 2000). Moreover, a plaintiff's pro se status does not absolve him from complying with these Local Rules. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Greer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001).

With respect to Defendants Troy's and Lacy's motions for summary judgment, both Troy and Lacy filed Rule 56.1 Statements of Facts. (R. 1104, Troy Rule 56.1 Statement of Fact ("SOF"); R. 1106, Lacy SOF.) Plaintiff filed responses to both SOFs. (R. 1151, Pl. Resp. to Troy SOF; R. 1131, Pl. Resp. to Lacy SOF.) Plaintiff also filed his own Statement of Facts for both Troy's and Lacy's motions for summary judgment, (R. 1132 and 1152, Pl.'s SOFs), Troy and Lacy responded to both of Plaintiff's SOFs. (R. 1146, Lacy Resp.; R. 1165, Troy Resp.)

With the summary judgment standards set out above in mind, the Court now turns to the record in this case. This Court notes that several of Plaintiff's statements of fact state arguments and not facts, see generally (R. 1132 and 1152), and the Court need only consider Plaintiff's statements to the extent they comply with Local Rule 56.1. The Court also notes that Defendant Troy's and Lacy's SOFs do not provide all of the facts pertaining to the interrogation of Plaintiff. See generally (R. 1104 and 1106.) Given that the record must be viewed in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Court may look to Plaintiff's deposition and other evidence describing the Area 2 events for facts not specifically addressed by the parties.

III. Facts

The summary judgment evidence in this case shows the following. On April 19, 1986, Chicago police officers discovered the bodies of Vincent and Rafaela Sanchez in their home in Chicago, Illinois.

(R. 1104, Troy SOF ¶ 7; R. 1151, Pl.'s Resp. to Troy SOF ¶ 8.) According to Defendants Troy and Lacy, Marva Hall informed police officers that Plaintiff had admitted to killing the Sanchezes and had attempted to sell her a shotgun and a chainsaw taken from the Sanchez home. (R. 1104, Troy SOF ¶ 9; see also R. 1104, Exh. C, People v. Patterson, 154 Ill.2d 414, 429-30 (1992).) Contrary to Defendants' contention, Plaintiff submits affidavits from Marva Hall, in which recants her earlier testimony and states that she never told officers that Plaintiff confessed to the murders or that Plaintiff had attempted to sell her a shotgun after the Sanchez murders. (R.1151, Pl.'s Resp. to Troy SOF ¶¶ 8-9; see also R. 1151, Exh. D.) Plaintiff was found hiding in the attic of a building near the Sanchez home several days after the murders. (R. 1104, Troy SOF ¶ 11.) He was arrested on outstanding warrants for crimes unrelated to the murders and was taken to Area 2 for questioning about the Sanchez murders.

(R. 1104, Troy SOF ¶ 12; R. 1151, Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 12.)

According to Plaintiff, at Area 2, he was placed in a room and was handcuffed either to a bar on the wall or behind his back. (R. 1104, Exh. B, Pl.'s Depo. 291-92.) Several officers were in the room and asked him questions about the Sanchez murders. Plaintiff responded by telling officers that he was not involved and further told officers where he was and who he was with at the time of the murders. (Id. at 292-305.) Plaintiff testified in his deposition that no matter how many times he responded to the officers' questions, "it was going nowhere. . . . they didn't want to believe anything I was saying." (Id. at 305.) Plaintiff states that he was then beaten. Plaintiff recalls there being six to seven officers in the room. The light was turned off and one officer put a gray plastic bag (believed to be a typewriter cover) over Plaintiff's head and pressed the bag against Plaintiff's face. At the same time, other officers kicked and beat Plaintiff in the chest; another officer put his hands around Plaintiff's neck; and other officers began hitting him. During this beating, the officers repeatedly stated that Plaintiff was going to do what the officers wanted him to do. (Id. at 313-17; 326, 329.) When he refused to cooperate, the beating continued for a minute or so. (Id. at 311-12.) The light was turned on and officers stated that they would beat Plaintiff again if he did not do as they said. Plaintiff was beaten again, "this time it was a little bit longer." (Id. at 312.) When again asked if he was going to answer their questions and cooperate, Plaintiff replied, "Anything you say." (Id.) Plaintiff asked for water, but he was brought bourbon. Officers then told him that an ASA was coming and that Plaintiff was to tell him that he committed the murders. (Id.) When the officers left to get the ASA, Plaintiff took a paper clip from the table and scratched on the bench where he was sitting. (Id. at 360.) Plaintiff wrote:

I lie about murders. Police threaten me with violence. Slapped and suffocated me with plastic. No lawyer. No deal. No phone. Signed false statement to murders. . . .

(R. 693, Third Amended Complaint, ¶ 26.)

Plaintiff states that ASA Kip Owen entered the interrogation room with ...

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