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Beley v. City of Chicago

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

February 28, 2017

MICHAEL BELEY AND DOUGLAS MONTGOMERY, individually and for a class, Plaintiffs,


          John Robert Blakey United States District Judge.

         On December 6, 2012, Plaintiffs Michael Beley and Douglas Montgomery, homeless sex offenders residing in the City of Chicago, filed suit against the city on behalf of themselves and a putative class of other homeless sex offenders. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant's sex offender registration procedures, as applied to homeless offenders, violated: (1) procedural due process (Count I); (2) equal protection (Count II); (3) freedom of intimate association (Count III); and (4) the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act (Count IV). On February 17, 2015, the Court dismissed Counts II and III with prejudice. Mem. Op. and Order [112]. On December 7, 2015, the Court certified the following class:

All persons who attempted to register under the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act with the City of Chicago from December 6, 2010 to the date of entry of judgment and who were not permitted to register because they were homeless.

         Mem. Op. and Order [126] 15. The Court designated Plaintiffs Michael Beley and Douglas Montgomery as the class representatives. Id.

         On September 20, 2016, Defendant moved for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' two remaining claims. Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. [159]. On October 20, 2016, Plaintiffs cross-moved for partial summary judgment on Count I on the issue of liability. Pls.' Mot. Summ. J. [164]. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion [159] is granted; Plaintiffs' motion [164] is denied.

         I. Background

         A. The Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act

         In Illinois, individuals convicted of certain sexual crimes must comply with rigorous reporting requirements under the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act (“SORA”), 730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. Sex offenders must provide law enforcement comprehensive biographical information, including, inter alia:

current address, current place of employment . . . telephone number, including cellular telephone number, the employer's telephone number, school attended, all email addresses, instant messaging identities, chat room identities, and other Internet communications identities that the sex offender uses or plans to use, all Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) registered or used by the sex offender, all blogs and other Internet sites maintained by the sex offender or to which the sex offender has uploaded any content or posted any messages or information . . . a copy of the terms and conditions of parole or release signed by the sex offender and given to the sex offender by his or her supervising officer or aftercare specialist, the county of conviction, license plate numbers for every vehicle registered in the name of the sex offender, the age of the sex offender at the time of the commission of the offense, the age of the victim at the time of the commission of the offense, and any distinguishing marks located on the body of the sex offender.

         730 ILCS 150/3(a).

         Registration is made in person with the municipality in which the offender “resides or is temporarily domiciled for a period of time of 3 or more days.” Id. at 150/3(a)(1). At the time of registration, the offender must provide “positive identification” and “documentation that substantiates proof of residence at the registering address.” Id. at 150/3(c)(5). To register, an offender must also provide a current photograph, and may be required to provide fingerprint, blood, saliva, or tissue specimens. Id. at 150/8.

         Following an offender's initial registration, SORA further imposes extensive update requirements. If an offender is temporarily absent from his registered address for three or more days, for example, he must notify law enforcement and provide his travel itinerary. Id. Similarly, an offender must report, in person, within three days of beginning school, establishing a new residence, or obtaining or changing employment. Id. at 150/3(b), (d). If an offender starts attending an institution of higher education, he must not only register with the police department in the jurisdiction where the school is located, but also the school's public safety or security director. Id. at 150/3(a)(i)-(ii).

         Aside from these specific reporting events, an offender must reregister at least annually, and the registering law enforcement agency may require him to appear, upon request, up to four more times per year. Id. at 150/6. Additionally, the offender is required to pay a $100 initial registration fee and a $100 annual renewal fee (although the registering agency may waive the registration fee if it determines that the person is indigent and unable to pay). Id. at 150/3(c)(6).

         Penalties for violating SORA are severe. Failure to register constitutes a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years imprisonment. 730 ILCS at 150/10; 730 ILCS 5-4.5-40. Subsequent failures constitute Class 2 felonies punishable by three to seven years imprisonment. 730 ILCS 150/10; 730 ILCS 5-4.5-35. Moreover, in addition to any other penalty required by law, SORA mandates a minimum period of seven days' confinement in the local county jail and minimum fine of $500. 730 ILCS 150/10. Finally, a SORA violation will extend an offender's mandatory registration period by ten years. Id. at 150/7.

         B. Registration Within the City of Chicago[1], [2]

         All sex offender registrations for Chicago residents occur with the Criminal Registration Section (“CRS”) at the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) headquarters. DSOF [161] ¶ 6; PSOF [166] ¶ 1. When an offender arrives at CPD headquarters, a registering official-typically a CPD officer-determines whether the offender satisfies SORA's myriad requirements, including those related to positive identification, proof of residence, and registration fees. PSOF [166] ¶ 18. If an offender satisfies SORA's prerequisites, he is registered; if not, he is turned away. CRS maintains a daily “Criminal Registration Log” that documents each registration attempt. In cases where an offender is denied registration, the registering official memorializes the reason for denial on the Criminal Registration Log in a box labeled, “Reason For Being Turned Away.” See, e.g. PSOF [166] Ex. 2.

         C. SORA and Homelessness

         The word “homeless” does not appear in SORA's statutory text. Notwithstanding SORA's demand for an offender's “current address” (and supporting documentation thereof), however, the statute does allow registration of offenders without a “fixed residence.” 730 ILCS 150/3(a). “Fixed residence” is defined as any place that a sex offender resides for an aggregate period of time of five or more days in a calendar year. Id. at 150/2(I). Offenders without a “fixed residence” must report to their registering agency in person on a weekly basis. 730 ILCS 150/3(a). The registering agency must document each weekly registration, including each location where the person stayed during the past seven days. Id.

         Plaintiffs allege that, despite this statutory exception, Defendant improperly engaged in a policy or widespread practice of refusing to permit homeless offenders to register every seven days. Second Am. Compl. [46]. The evidence offered by Plaintiffs is detailed below.

         1. Class Representative Michael Beley

         Class representative Michael Beley, a resident of Chicago, was convicted of a sexual crime requiring him to register as a child sex offender under SORA. DSOF [161] ¶ 1. At his deposition, Beley testified to the following: on November 19, 2012, Beley was released from Taylorville Correctional Center and spent the night “on the streets” of Chicago. DSOF [161] ¶ 11; PSOF [166] ¶ 3. On the morning of November 20, 2012, Beley reported to CPD headquarters to complete his sex offender registration. DSOF [161] Ex. 6; PSOF [166] ¶ 3. Upon arrival, Beley was informed by Officer Christopher Meaders that he required “an ID with a fixed address” in order to register. DSOF [161] Ex. 2 at 39:14-15; PSOF [166] Ex. 5. Beley did not possess an identification card with a fixed address. DSOF [161] Ex. 2 at 39:21-40:20. As a result, Beley was not registered. Id. at 40:21-41:6. In the CRS Criminal Registration Log, Officer Meaders notated Plaintiff's “Reason For Being Turned Away” as “PROOF OF ADD.” DSOF [161] Ex. 6.

         Beley attempted to register again on November 23, 2012. PSOF [166] ¶ 5. Once again, Beley was denied, although Beley did not testify to the specific reason for his rejection. Id.; DSOF [161] Ex. 2. The parties agree, however, that CPD officers directed Beley to potential shelter options. PSOF [166] ΒΆ 5. The Criminal Registration Log for that day ...

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