United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY United States District Judge
January 30, 2014, Chicago police officer Steven Hefel
obtained a warrant to search a home at 5711 South Paulina
Street as well as the person of Andrew Williams. In his
affidavit submitted to obtain the warrant, Hefel stated that
on January 29, he had spoken with an informant with whom he
had been working for two months and who had supplied
information leading to four search warrants that resulted in
the seizure of contraband, narcotics, or firearms. The
informant told Hefel that on that date, he had gone to 5711
South Paulina to visit Williams. He said that Williams
unlocked the residence door with a key. According to the
informant, Williams removed a handgun from underneath a bed
in the basement and showed it to the informant. The informant
said he had visited Williams at that same location several
times in the previous month. Hefel further stated in the
affidavit that he had driven the informant past the address,
and the informant pointed it out as where Williams lives. He
also identified Williams from a photograph obtained from a
law enforcement database. Hefel also stated that a record
check showed that Williams had not registered any firearms
and that he was a convicted felon.
on the application, a Cook County judge issued a warrant on
January 30, 2014 authorizing Hefel to search both Williams
and the 5711 South Paulina residence and seize firearms,
ammunition, other contraband, and proof of residency. That
same evening, Hefel and his partner, officer Michael Laurie,
went to 5711 South Paulina to execute the warrant. They were
wearing plain clothes and made a forcible entry. Williams
alleges in his complaint in the present case that he and the
home's other occupants thought it was a home invasion and
attempted to flee. When he got outside, Williams saw police
officers and surrendered. He says that the police searched
the home and claimed to find narcotics, materials for
packaging narcotics, firearms, and ammunition (the firearms,
he says, were found in the attic). They arrested Williams and
charged him with possession of firearms and narcotics.
alleges that the information that Hefel offered to obtain the
warrant was false. He says that he did not ever live at 5711
South Paulina and that the 5711 residence was his
grandparents' home. He says that on January 30, he was
"attending a social gathering at my relatives [sic]
house" at 5711. Compl. ¶ 5. He alleges that the
information that Hefel said the information provided to
obtain the warrant was false and that the officers knew it.
Williams's state court criminal case, his counsel filed a
motion to suppress evidence under Franks v.
Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1976). Williams contended in the
motion that the search warrant was supported by false
information: he did not reside at 5711 South Paulina; there
was no bed in the basement; he did not have a key to the
residence; and that on January 29 (the date the informant
supposedly met with him), he was not at 5711 South Paulina
but rather was at his home at 7012 South May all day.
Williams supported the motion with several affidavits. The
state court trial judge heard argument and denied
Williams's motion on January 8, 2015. Williams filed a
motion to reconsider, but the trial judge denied that motion
as well, on March 5, 2015.
September 1, 2015, Williams, who by this time had elected to
represent himself, entered a guilty plea on two of the
charges against him: unlawful use of a weapon by a felon
(essentially a felon-in-possession charge) and possession of
a controlled substance with intent to deliver. In describing
the factual basis for the guilty plea, the prosecutor stated
that officer Hefel would testify that as he entered the 5711
South Paulina home to execute the search warrant, Williams
fled and threw to the ground 18 clear plastic baggies
containing a white powder. They searched the residence and
found a 9 millimeter handgun and 17 tin foil packets
containing a white powder. A forensic scientist would testify
that the substance in the baggies and tin foil packs
contained heroin. The prosecutor also offered a certified
copy of Williams' prior felony conviction. Williams
stipulated that this was the evidence that would be offered
at trial. The trial judge accepted Williams's guilty plea
and imposed the 5 year prison term agreed upon by the
parties. Williams did not seek to withdraw his guilty plea
and did not appeal.
filed his complaint in the present case in October 2014,
while his state court criminal case was still pending and
before the state trial judge had denied his motion to
suppress (indeed, before the motion had even been filed). In
his complaint, Williams alleged that the search warrant was
obtained through false statements; probable cause for his
arrest was lacking; and he was wrongfully prosecuted.
Court stayed proceedings in the present case pending
resolution of the state criminal case and lifted the stay
after Williams was sentenced following his guilty plea. Hefel
and Laurie then filed a motion to dismiss, ostensibly under
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
Defendants argued that Williams lacked standing to challenge
the search of the 5711 South Paulina home because he was
merely a guest; Williams could not challenge the warrant and
search because he litigated and lost the same issue in state
court; and his claims challenging his arrest and prosecution
were barred by his guilty plea.
supported their motion with numerous materials that were not
part of Williams's complaint, including documents related
to the issuance of the search warrant; motions filed in the
state court criminal case; transcripts of hearings in that
case; and other documents. It was readily apparent that the
motion was not a proper Rule 12(b)(6) motion: defendants
based it in large part not on the claimed insufficiency of
the complaint's allegations but rather on affirmative
defenses, and it was based on materials that the Court could
not properly consider on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.
Defendants' motion was also not a proper Rule 12(b)(1)
motion, because Fourth Amendment "standing" is not
a matter of subject matter jurisdiction but rather concerns
substantive Fourth Amendment law. See, e.g., United
States v. Nechy, 827 F.2d 1161, 1164-65 (7th Cir. 1987).
(In any event, Williams plainly had Article III standing to
challenge the warrant in a civil action, because it
authorized a search of his person and he suffered injury due
to the warrant's execution.)
these reasons, the Court converted defendants' motion to
a motion for summary judgment, explained to Williams in
detail at a status hearing what the Court was doing and what
it meant, and gave Williams an opportunity to respond to the
motion. Williams has now done so.
Court agrees with defendants' contention that
Williams' claim relating to the issuance of the search
warrant is barred by virtue of the fact that he litigated and
lost the same claim in the state court criminal proceeding.
See Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96 (1980);
Harris v. Kado, 391 F.App'x 560, 2010 WL
3069722, at *2-3 (7th Cir. Aug. 4, 2010). Having lost on the
exact same point in state court, Williams is not entitled to
relitigate it as an affirmative claim in his present lawsuit.
any state law malicious prosecution claim that Williams is
making is barred by the fact that the criminal case was not
concluded in his favor; rather, he pled guilty. See Swick
v. Liautaud, 169 Ill.2d 504, 512, 662 N.E.2d 1238, 1242
(1996) (malicious prosecution claim requires termination of
underlying criminal case in favor of civil case plaintiff).
Williams's false arrest claim is barred by his guilty
plea. A guilty plea does not always means that a plaintiff
cannot bring a civil claim under the Fourth Amendment, but a
civil claim that is inconsistent with a criminal conviction
that has not been overturned is barred under Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994). See, e.g.,
Okoro v. Callaghan, 324 F.3d 488, 490 (7th Cir. 2003).
In this case, the record reflects that Williams's state
court convictions were premised upon testimony proffered at
his guilty plea hearing that he was observed dropping plastic
baggies that were found to contain heroin. Because these same
events were the basis for ...