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Chad Steven Tingley v. Martin Keim

August 20, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge:


Plaintiff Chad Steven Tingley, incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, Illinois has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced for conspiring to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, maintaining a residence for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine, and multiple firearms violations. See United States v. Tingley, No. 06-CR-40003-JPG (S.D.Ill. Feb. 16, 2007). He now sues members of the Marshall, Illinois Police Department in connection with the May 2005 affidavit used to secure the search warrant Plaintiff contends led to the federal indictment against him. According to Tingley, he learned in August 2009 that Defendant Officer Keim had resigned from the Police because he had been falsifying and altering police reports. Pursuant to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request, on October 2, 2009, Plaintiff received documentation regarding Keim's misconduct, leading Plaintiff to conclude that the search warrant in his case was falsified. Plaintiff sues Officer Keim, as well as former Police Chief Kyle Nave, and Unidentified Police Officers #1-3. See Doc. 1.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.


Procuring a search warrant through false statements where probable cause would not otherwise be found violates the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. Forman v. Richmond Police Dept., 104 F.3d 950, 963--64 (7th Cir. 1997). Section 1983 requires personal involvement in the alleged constitutional violation. Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Although there is no respondeat superior (supervisory) liability for constitutional torts, supervisors can violate the Constitution themselves if they "'know about the [unconstitutional] conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye for fear of what they might see.'" T.E. v. Grindle, 599 F.3d 583, 588 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F.2d 985 (7th Cir.1988)).

Based on those basic principles, Plaintiff has sufficiently stated claims against Officer Keim and Chief Nave and those claims shall proceed. However, Plaintiff only alleges that Unidentified Officers #1-3 participated in the execution of the search warrant, not that they were involved in any fraud in securing the warrant, or that they knew of its falsity when it was executed or when the decision was made to lodge a criminal complaint against Tingley. Therefore, all claims against Unidentified Officers #1-3 are DISMISSED without prejudice.*fn1


For the reasons stated, the claims against Defendants KEIM and NAVE shall PROCEED; the claims against Defendant UNKNOWN PARTIES ...

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