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Jerald Overton v. Schuwerk

May 14, 2012

JERALD OVERTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCHUWERK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Monday, 14 May, 2012 04:50:29 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, was incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center at the time he filed his complaint. He has since been released on parole. The case is before the Court for a merit review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id., quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56. However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGATIONS

On March 19, 2009, Plaintiff and his wife were pulled over by Illinois State Trooper Vahle while traveling on the highway. Vahle told Plaintiff that he was pulled over due to an obstructed of driver's view and other vehicle violations, but Plaintiff denies any vehicle violations existed. He maintains that Vahle pulled him over because Vahle was "racially profiling."

During the traffic stop, Plaintiff admitted to Vahle that Plaintiff may have an old, outstanding warrant for his arrest. Vahle verified that this was true and took Plaintiff into custody, placing him in the patrol car. Other officers arrived at the scene (Defendants Cook, Schuwerk, Douglas, and Roll).

Plaintiff refused Vahle's request for consent to search the vehicle. Officer Vahle ordered Plaintiff's wife to exit the vehicle. Defendants then searched Plaintiff's vehicle, without a warrant and without consent, damaging the vehicle and some property, and leaving the property in a disheveled state. A pistol was found in the glove compartment during the search. Plaintiff and his wife were then taken to jail.

Fearing for his wife, Plaintiff confessed to the charge of unlawful possession of a weapon. Despite his confession, Plaintiff's wife was still charged with unlawful possession and not allowed to leave until she had posted bond.

Officer Vahle allegedly applied for a search warrant to again search the vehicle. He allegedly made knowingly false statements on the affidavit in order to obtain the search warrant. Vahle was also reportedly seen driving Plaintiff's car about town.

The day after her arrest, Plaintiff's wife went to Allen's Tire Shop to pick up the vehicle. She paid the owners of the shop $125.00 for towing, even though she knew the car had not been towed. She noticed the gas tank had dwindled from 3/4 to 1/4 full. When she retrieved the vehicle, she ...


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