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Derfus v. City of Chicago

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 20, 2014

DUANE DERFUS and STEVEN PETKIEWICZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., Defendants

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For Duane Derfus, Steven Petkiewicz, Plaintiffs: Thomas Gerard Morrissey, Thomas G. Morrissey, Chicago, IL; Patrick William Morrissey, Thomas G. Morrissey, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

For City of Chicago, Defendant: Andrew S. Mine, LEAD ATTORNEY, City of Chicago, Law Department, Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL; Mary Eileen Cunniff Wells, City Of Chicago, Department Of Law, Chicago, IL.

For Jerry Anderson, Ronald Jenkins, Patrick Loftus, Defendants: Mary Eileen Cunniff Wells, City Of Chicago, Department Of Law, Chicago, IL.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Robert M. Dow, Jr., United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs Duane Derfus and Steven Petkiewicz claim that Defendant City of Chicago has a policy that prohibits homeless people from registering pursuant to the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act (" SORA" ) as homeless and instead requires them to locate a homeless shelter and obtain a state identification card with the shelter's address in order to be registered. Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' injunctive claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and Plaintiffs' procedural due process and equal protection claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Defendants also urge the Court to dismiss the claims against the individual officer Defendants because they are entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss [18].

I. Background

Individuals who have been convicted of sexual crimes are required to register pursuant to the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act (" SORA" ). Under SORA, Plaintiffs must, among other things, register in person with the appropriate law enforcement agency where they live; pay an initial registration fee of $100; and provide a photograph and current address. 730 ILCS 150/3(a). SORA requires that any person who lacks a fixed residence must report weekly in person to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Compl. ¶ 5; 730 ILCS 150/3. Plaintiffs claim that the City has a policy that prohibits homeless people from registering as homeless and instead requires them to locate a homeless shelter and obtain a state identification card with the shelter's address in order to be registered.

Duane Derfus was convicted of a sex crime in March 2010 and released from the Illinois Department of Corrections on September 27, 2013. He was required by SORA to register with his local law enforcement agency within three days. Derfus attempted unsuccessfully to register at Chicago Police Department (" CPD" ) headquarters as a homeless person several times in September and October 2013. To register, Derfus was ordered to locate a shelter and provide proof of residency at such address in the form of a state identification card. On October 7, Derfus reported that he was staying overnight at a shelter located at 200 S. Sacramento; however Defendant Chicago Police Officer Jerry Anderson refused to register him without a state identification card reflecting that the shelter was his residence. After complying with the instructions, Derfus returned to the police department on October 10, but was refused registration because of a new municipal policy that no child sex offender, like Derfus, may stay overnight at the 200 S. Sacramento shelter. Because the City would not permit Derfus to register, he was in violation of SORA and labeled " non-complaint" on the Illinois State Police website, which exposed him to liability and incarceration. In his response brief, Derfus also alleges that he received a notice from the Illinois State Police that his registration requirement had been extended 10 years because he did not comply with SORA following his

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release from jail.[1] Following the October 18, 2013, temporary restraining order hearing in this Court, the City agreed to permit Derfus to register as a homeless person every seven days.

Steven Petkiewicz was convicted of a sex crime in 1993 that requires him to register and report every 90 days under SORA, assuming he has a fixed residence. Since his release for the underlying conviction, Petkiewicz has been convicted of three separate SORA registering and/or reporting violations, which resulted in substantial prison sentences. Petkiewicz was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections on his most recent failure to register charge on December 18, 2012. According to Petkiewicz, he attempted to register as homeless on December 20, 2012, but was refused registration because of the City's policy of not registering persons who lack a fixed place of abode. Because he was unable to comply with the City's policy within three days of his release from the Illinois Department of Corrections, he was unregistered and in violation of SORA. Petkiewicz subsequently obtained a state identification card listing the Sacramento shelter address and was registered on December 24, 2012, as permanently residing at the shelter. He was re-registered at the shelter address in March 2013 and June 2013, each time for 90 days. Petkiewicz attempted to register with CPD on September 17, 2013, using the shelter address, but Defendant Chicago Police Officer Patrick Loftus told Petkiewicz that this address was invalid and gave him 30 days to vacate the shelter. On September 30, Petkiewicz claims he went to CPD headquarters and requested to register weekly as a homeless person, but Defendant Chicago Police Officer Ronald Jenkins told him that homeless registration was not permitted. Following the October 18, 2013, hearing in this Court, the City permitted Derfus to register as a homeless person.

Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against the City and Officers Anderson, Loftus, and Jenkins, claiming that Defendants' failure to register Plaintiffs pursuant to SORA denies them procedural due process and equal protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also bring a state law claim. Plaintiffs seek prospective relief " to permit ...


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