United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHN J. THARP, Jr., District Judge.
The plaintiff, former parolee Randy "Ruven" Stork, filed this civil rights lawsuit against parole agent Dennis Montgomery, alleging, as relevant here, a claim of false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Stork alleges that after he attended medical appointments with permission, Montgomery charged Stork with a parole violation and had him taken into custody without reasonable suspicion. Montgomery moves for summary judgment, arguing that, as a matter of law, he had reasonable suspicion to believe Stork violated his parole, or in the alternative, that he had arguable reasonable suspicion and is therefore entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
Stork is a registered sex offender residing in Illinois and a former parolee of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Stork served parole for the crime of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a minor that he committed in Arizona. From 2008 to 2011, Stork served his parole in Illinois pursuant to the Interstate Commission of Adult Offender Supervision's Interstate Compact Agreement. Under the terms of the Interstate Compact Agreement, Stork agreed to follow all terms and conditions set by both the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Corrections and, further, not to challenge any determination by the State of Illinois or Arizona to return him to Arizona to serve the remainder of his parole. The terms and conditions from the Arizona Department of Corrections that governed Stork's parole were set forth in a document entitled "Conditions of Supervised Release." The terms and conditions from the Illinois Department of Corrections that governed Stork's parole were set forth in Rule 15 of the Parole or Mandatory Supervised Release Instructions ("MSR-15"). A violation of any terms of parole can result in revocation of parole.
The defendant, Illinois parole agent Dennis Montgomery, was assigned to supervise Stork in late November 2010. Before that, Agent Paul Anderson supervised Stork as his parole officer. On or around December 8, 2010, Agent Montgomery conducted a site visit at Stork's residence. During the visit, Stork told Agent Montgomery that he recently injured his knee from a serious fall at work and was on worker's compensation. Also, Agent Montgomery informed Stork during the visit that "[t]he rules for parole for sex offenders remain the same as briefed by your previous agent, Agent Anderson. The only difference or change is your agent."
A. Terms of Stork's Parole
Under the Interstate Compact Agreement, Stork was on electronic Global Positioning System ("GPS") monitoring during the period of his parole in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Corrections has a contract with Automated Management System ("AMS") which monitors, records, and documents activities by parolees on electronic monitoring and pages parole agents about problems with parolees. AMS operators interact with parole agents from the Illinois Department of Corrections on a regular basis, and if AMS operators discover information indicating that a parolee has traveled to an unauthorized area, the parolee's agent is notified. Communications between AMS and parole agents are routine. Parole agents rely on AMS when investigating a parolee's movements that the agent may not have been aware of personally. A sex offender-parolee on electronic GPS monitoring can only obtain authorization for movement from the parole agent or through AMS. During Stork's parole, the GPS system monitoring Stork occasionally registered erroneous "drift points" that made it appear as though Stork was in a location he was not.
As another condition of parole under the Interstate Compact Agreement, Stork was not allowed to possess a cell phone with camera, text messaging, or email capabilities. Stork had asked Agent Anderson for permission to have a phone with camera and text messaging capabilities because there were no phones without any of the restricted capabilities available under Stork's cellular service plan, and Agent Anderson assented. According to Stork, Agent Montgomery knew before December 28, 2010 that he had a cellphone, and Montgomery did not complain that it was a violation of parole terms. Montgomery maintains that Agent Anderson never told Montgomery about any cell phone arrangement before his assignment to supervise Stork. Agents Anderson and Montgomery had only discussed Stork's prior parole violation report for unauthorized movement. Montgomery also maintains that he never saw Stork's cell phone before December 28, 2010 and that he did not know how long Stork had possessed the cellphone.
No sex offender on parole in Illinois may consume alcohol. But, neither Arizona's nor Illinois' parole conditions expressly prohibit the possession of alcohol. Agent Montgomery, however, attested that based on his 14 years of experience as a parole agent who supervises sex offenders, he believes that every sex offender-parolee is briefed at the start of parole that it is a violation of parole to possess alcohol.
B. December 28, 2010 and Surrounding Events
On December 20, 2010, an AMS operator was informed by an individual at the Lake County Health Department that Stork had a doctor's appointment scheduled for December 27, 2010 at 8:00 am. The AMS operator granted the request for movement with travel time included. On December 22, 2010, an AMS operator was informed by a caller from Edward Loew's office (Stork's physical therapist) that Stork had an appointment scheduled for December 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm. The AMS operator granted the request for movement with travel time included.
On December 27, 2010, Stork left his residence and arrived at the Lake County Health Department Office at 7:50 am for his 8:00 am appointment and then returned home. Then, shortly before 5:00 pm, Stork contacted AMS and requested his appointment at Edward Loew's office be moved an hour earlier and the request was granted. Stork left his residence and arrived at Edward Loew's office at 7:30 pm for his 8:00 pm appointment and then returned home. On December 28, 2010, Stork attended another physical therapy appointment.
On December 28, 2010, AMS operators notified Agent Montgomery by telephone that Stork had traveled to unauthorized areas on December 26 and 27, 2010, misusing authorized movements. Stork testified that on December 26, 2010, he did not leave his residence.
After receiving this report from AMS, Agent Montgomery came to Stork's residence on December 28, 2010, and immediately yelled at Stork that he "must be the stupidest parolee ever" and that he was going back to Arizona because he was misusing his authorized movements. Agent Montgomery was not specific as to where or when he was accusing Stork of misusing his authorized movement. Agent Montgomery then ...