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Taylor v. Hughes

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

March 29, 2017

Robert A. Taylor, Plaintiff,
v.
Ricky A. Hughes, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Manish S. Shah United States District Judge

         After an informant told Chicago police officer Ricky Hughes that plaintiff Robert Taylor, a convicted felon, had a gun in Taylor's apartment, Hughes procured a warrant to search Taylor and the apartment located at 645 West 62nd Street, Apartment 1S. But the address of Taylor's apartment, and the one that police actually searched, was 643 West 62nd Street, Apartment 1N. After officers searched the apartment and found a gun, an investigative alert was issued for Taylor. He was later arrested, held in custody for several months, and tried for the crime of unlawful use of a weapon. The judge made note of the incorrect address on the search warrant, quashed the arrest, and found Taylor not guilty. A few months later, police officers detained Taylor again, acting on the same investigative alert as before, and it took about an hour to clear up the confusion and release him. Taylor believes his constitutional rights were violated due to the search, arrest, prosecution, and detention. He brought claims against Hughes and other officers involved, and both sides move for summary judgment.

         I. Legal Standards

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A court must “construe all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck, & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013). On cross-motions for summary judgment, a court must draw inferences “in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration was made.” McKinney v. Cadleway Props., Inc., 548 F.3d 496, 500 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Bloodworth v. Vill. of Greendale, 475 Fed.Appx. 92, 95 (7th Cir. 2012) (“Cross-motions must be evaluated together, and the court may not grant summary judgment for either side unless the admissible evidence as a whole-from both motions-establishes that no material facts are in dispute.”).

         II. Background

         A. The Warrant

         Officer Ricky Hughes worked for the Chicago Police Department on the narcotics team. [200] ¶ 13.[1] On June 21, 2011, Hughes met with an informant, referred to by the parties as “John Doe, ” who said that he had been in Taylor's apartment two days earlier, and that Taylor had shown him a gun. [200] ¶ 14. John Doe told Hughes that Taylor went into a bedroom and emerged with a black .38 revolver. [200] ¶ 14. Hughes reviewed Taylor's criminal history, which revealed felony convictions for cannabis delivery and strong-armed robbery. [200] ¶¶ 15-16; [225] ¶ 4. Hughes did not know if Taylor's robbery offense involved a gun. [204] ¶ 51. Hughes put together a photo array consisting of Taylor and other individuals of the same race, gender, and age-group, and John Doe identified Taylor from that array. [200] ¶¶ 17-18; [225] ¶ 5. Hughes did not believe John Doe was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he saw no other reason to doubt John Doe's story. [200] ¶ 19. From their discussion, Hughes gained the impression that John Doe had some degree of familiarity with Taylor. [200] ¶ 20. But John Doe did not tell Hughes why Taylor retrieved the gun from the bedroom, which bedroom he went to, how many bedrooms were in the apartment, or details concerning other occupants of the apartment. [204] ¶ 35.

         According to Hughes, John Doe could not tell him Taylor's address, but gave him an approximate location. [200] ¶ 23; [204] ¶ 36. Hughes, John Doe, and another officer drove to that area, and John Doe directed them to Taylor's apartment building. [200] ¶¶ 22, 24; [204] ¶ 37. From outside the building, John Doe identified as Taylor's apartment a front-facing apartment on the first floor. [200] ¶ 25. He also pointed out the door on front of the west side of the building closest to Taylor's apartment. [200] ¶ 28. According to Hughes, John Doe gave him specific instructions to get to Taylor's apartment: enter the building through that door, take the stairs inside to the first floor, walk down the hall, and look for the first door on the left. [200] ¶ 29. A sign on the building read “643-45, ” and Hughes decided that Taylor's address was 645 West 62nd Street, rather than 643, because the windows of Taylor's apartment were closer to the “45” than to the “643.” [204] ¶ 44. Hughes thought that Taylor's apartment number was 1S, because the building was on the south side of the street. [200] ¶¶ 26-27. According to Hughes, in general, conducting further research into the layout, ownership, or exact address of an apartment takes too much time to prove useful. [200] ¶ 31.

         Hughes then drafted a search warrant and complaint, identifying as targets Taylor and “645 W. 62nd Street #1S, a multi-unit building, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.” [200] ¶¶ 32, 35. The warrant described the items to be seized as: “Unlawful use of weapon and any documents showing residency, any paraphernalia used in the weighing, cutting or mixing of illegal drugs. Any money, any records detailing illegal drug transactions.” [200] ¶ 33. Though John Doe did not mention any drug activity at Taylor's apartment, Hughes included drugs in the warrant because “using guns and drugs go hand in hand.” [200] ¶ 34; [204] ¶ 49. Hughes included in the complaint his meeting with John Doe, the drive-by, and his review of Taylor's criminal history. [183-2]. The complaint also stated that Hughes presented John Doe, along with Doe's criminal history, to the issuing judge for further questioning. [183-2] at 2. But it did not include a description of the apartment's windows or its location in the building, aside from the address. [204] ¶¶ 57, 59. Hughes read the complaint he had drafted to John Doe for verification. [200] ¶ 37.

         Hughes, John Doe, and the other officer drove to meet with Judge Nicholas Ford. [200] ¶ 38; [204] ¶¶ 37, 60. Their meeting and conversation took place inside the car. [204] ¶ 60. Judge Ford put Hughes and John Doe under oath, and he read the warrant and complaint. [200] ¶¶ 39, 41; [225] ¶ 13. Although it is not mentioned in the complaint, Hughes told Judge Ford that Taylor had been arrested for strong-armed robbery, but did not tell him that the arrest was in 1992, that it resulted in a conviction, or whether a gun was involved. [204] ¶ 64. Hughes provided Judge Ford with John Doe's criminal history. [200] ¶ 40; [204] ¶ 62. Hughes recalls that John Doe spoke to Judge Ford, but does not remember details of that conversation. [200] ¶ 42; [204] ¶ 63. John Doe signed the search warrant and complaint, and Judge Ford signed the warrant. [200] ¶¶ 43, 45.

         B. The Search

         In June 2011, Taylor lived in a two-bedroom apartment in an L-shaped, 12-unit apartment building located at 643-645 West 62nd Street. [200] ¶ 8; [204] ¶¶ 3- 4. One section of the building abutted 62nd street and extended south. [204] ¶ 4. The street address for that section was 643 West 62nd Street. [204] ¶ 4. Behind that section (at its southern end), the building protruded to the west. [204] ¶ 4. That part of the building had the street address 645 West 62nd Street. [204] ¶ 4. Each section of the building housed six apartments: 1N, 1S, 2N, 2S, 3N, and 3S. [204] ¶ 6. The front of the building displayed the numbers, 643-45, and the structure had separate entrances for 643 and for 645. [200] ¶¶ 10-11. In June 2011, neither entrance was labeled. [200] ¶ 11. Taylor's address was 643 West 62nd Street, Apartment 1N. [200] ¶¶ 9, 12; [204] ¶ 3. His apartment was on the north end of the building, with windows facing West 62nd Street. [200] ¶ 9. Apartment 1S of 645 West 62nd Street was a different unit, at the south end of the building in the other section. [204] ¶ 46.

         On June 22, 2011, Hughes arranged a pre-execution meeting of the search team, consisting of Hughes and defendants Kevin R. Johnson, Russell E. White, Jr., Kenneth J. Yakes, Shawn J. Pickett, Richard E. Peck, Jr., Thomas B. Lieber, Scott M. McWilliams, and Yolanda R. Collier. [204] ¶ 67; [217] ¶ 14. Johnson, a sergeant who acted as search team supervisor, read the warrant and complaint in support of the warrant, and was responsible for ensuring that the team was familiar with the location of the search. [204] ¶ 69. Hughes conveyed to the team the directions he had received from John Doe. [204] ¶ 72. Following those directions, the team conducted a forced entry into the apartment, and found five people in one bedroom: Taylor's niece, Barbara, Mario Barnes, who identified himself as Taylor's nephew, and three children. [204] ¶ 74; [217] ¶ 15. Also in the bedroom was an unlocked safe containing a blue semi-automatic gun, a magazine, and some ammunition. [200] ¶ 51; [204] ¶ 75. What Barnes said about the gun is in dispute-Hughes testified that Barnes denied owning the gun and said Taylor had guns, but Barnes denies this.[2] [200] ¶ 52.

         In the second bedroom, officers found Taylor's employee identification badge and a utility bill in his name. [200] ¶ 53. They may also have found a live round of ammunition on the floor, but the parties dispute this based on conflicting information in the police records documenting the search. [200] ¶ 53. The utility bill listed the address as 643 West 62nd Street, Apartment 1N, leading Hughes to realize that the address in the search warrant was incorrect. [200] ¶ 54. But by that time, the search was already complete. [204] ¶ 55. Taylor was not in the apartment during the search. [204] ¶ 74.

         C. The Arrests

         After the police left, Taylor's niece called Taylor and told him that the police wanted to talk to him. [204] ¶ 89. He did so six days later. [204] ¶ 90. In the meantime, according to defendant Detective Joshua Weitzman, Hughes asked him to enter an investigative alert for Taylor into the Chicago police database, signaling probable cause to arrest Taylor, though Hughes does not remember this. [200] ¶ 56; [204] ¶¶ 86-87. When Taylor went to the police station on June 28, 2011, he was taken into custody on the basis of the investigative alert. [204] ¶ 90. Hughes was notified of this, met with Taylor, and charged him in a felony complaint with unauthorized use of a weapon. [204] ¶ 94. Taylor remained in custody for 128 days until a combined hearing on a motion to quash the arrest and a bench trial on November 3, 2011. [204] ¶ 95. Hughes admitted at that hearing that the search warrant misstated Taylor's address, which Hughes had documented in his police report, and the court quashed Taylor's arrest and found him not guilty. [204] ¶ 95. But the following month, on December 23, 2011, Taylor was arrested again after a traffic stop, based on the same investigative alert. [204] ¶ 96. This time, he remained in custody for over an hour until the arresting officers, who are not parties to this case, realized he had already been arrested and processed for that alert and let him go. [200] ¶ 61; [204] ¶ 97.

         Taylor brings a Fourth Amendment claim against every defendant officer (except Weitzman) for procuring a warrant through misrepresentation (Count I), unconstitutional execution of a warrant and entry of a home (Count II), and unconstitutional search of a home (Count III). In the alternative to Counts II and III, Taylor alleges liability for Officer Johnson under a theory of supervisory liability (Count VI). He also complains that his constitutional rights were violated by every defendant officer due to his arrest on June 28, 2011 (Count IV), and the following detention, incarceration, and prosecution (Count V), as well as the December 23, 2011 seizure and detention (Count VII). Count V alleges a malicious- prosecution claim under Illinois law, as well.[3] Taylor ...


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