United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Gettleman United States District Judge
Mark Maxson has brought a nine count complaint against
Chicago Police Department Officers James Dwyer, John Duffy,
William Marley, and Angelo Pesavento (the “individual
defendants”), and their employer, the City of Chicago,
claiming that he spent 24 years in prison as a result of a
wrongful conviction based on a coerced confession. Count I,
brought against the individual defendants under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleges deprivation of plaintiff's right to
a fair trial, and wrongful conviction; Count II, again
brought against the individual defendants, alleges a claim
for coercive interrogation; Count III, brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1985 and § 1986, asserts a claim against
the individual defendants for conspiring amongst themselves
and other unnamed and unsued police personnel, state's
attorneys, and mayors, to violate plaintiff's rights to
equal protection under the laws; Count IV is a claim against
the City brought pursuant to Monell v. Department of
Social Services for City of New York, 436 U.S. 658
(1978); Count V is a state law claim for malicious
prosecution; Count VI is a state law claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress (IIED); Count VII is a claim
for civil conspiracy under state law; and Counts VIII and IX
are brought against the City for respondeat superior
liability and indemnification under 745 ILCS 10/9-102.
have moved under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss Counts I
(wrongful conviction), III (federal conspiracy), VI (state
civil conspiracy), and VII (IIED) for failure to state a
claim. For the reasons described below, the motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
August 1992 six year-old Lindsey Murdock was murdered,
sexually assaulted, and left in an abandoned garage at 10730
S. State Street in Chicago. The body was discovered on August
30, 1992. Later that evening, defendant Pesavento learned
that plaintiff was being interviewed by local televison and
stating that he had seen the young boy earlier in the day.
Pesavento asked plaintiff if he had any information about the
boy and whether plaintiff would be willing to help the
police. Plaintiff was eager and willing to help and was
brought to the Area 2 police station. Plaintiff willingly
gave blood and hair samples.
station, Pesavento and Marley interrogated plaintiff numerous
times, leaving him in a locked room. Defendants Duffy and
Dwyer interviewed plaintiff four or five times. Duffy
threatened that he would “kick your ass” if
plaintiff did not cooperate. Duffy and Dwyer ignored
plaintiff's request for an attorney and proceeded with
their coercive interrogation. Dwyer repeatedly threatened
plaintiff, slapped him, kicked the wind out of him, and
ultimately coerced plaintiff into confessing to the crime by
pointing his handgun at plaintiff. All of the other
individual defendants were in close proximity to plaintiff
during the interrogations, but did nothing to prevent the
to trial, plaintiff moved to suppress his confession. He
testified about the abusive interrogation that led to his
confession. He also testified that he spent three days locked
in an interview room with only a steel bench and was told by
both Duffy and Dwyer that he could not leave. Duffy falsely
testified that plaintiff was never threatened with physical
beatings, and that plaintiff had never been kicked, slapped,
or threatened with a handgun. Pesavento also testified that
plaintiff was never threatened or struck before implicating
himself in the murder. Dwyer testified similarly, and also
falsely stated that plaintiff never requested to leave the
station. Duffy stated that plaintiff willingly spent three
nights in the interview room. None of the individual
defendants told the assistant state's attorneys for the
Felony Review Unit of the abuse they inflicted on plaintiff.
The motion to dismiss was denied.
trial, the only evidence linking plaintiff to the murder was
his coerced confession. The serologist witness testified that
none of the blood evidence found at the scene, including
blood that did not belong to the victim, matched
plaintiff's blood. Similarly, the state criminologist
witness testified that head and pubic hair samples taken from
the victim's clothing did not match either the victim or
plaintiff. Nonetheless, plaintiff was convicted and spent 24
years in prison.
DNA testing has revealed that the DNA of convicted murderer
Osborne Wade matched the DNA found on the victim's shirt.
On September 27, 2016, the Cook County State's
Attorney's Office moved to vacate plaintiff's
conviction and plaintiff was released. Wade has been indicted
for and confessed to murdering Lindsey Murdock.
complaint alleges that his case in not an isolated
occurrence, but rather that his interrogation and torture was
a part of a long-standing pattern and practice of racially
motivated torture at Area 2 Headquarters in Chicago,
including the use of electric shock, baggings, mock
executions, Russian roulette and beatings, dating back to the
early 1980s when Jon Burge was the commanding officer at Area
2 and began what plaintiff calls the “Burge Reign of
Terror.” According to the complaint, Burge engaged in a
pattern and practice of torture and brutality himself and
also supervised, encouraged, sanctioned, condoned, and
ratified brutality by other detectives and supervisors in
Area 2, including the individual defendants. In 2010 Burge
was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for
falsely denying that he participated in and was aware of and
supervised police torture.
complaint contains very detailed allegations about how
several high ranking personnel in the Chicago Police
Department, including successive Superintendents, and at
least one former mayor and Cook County State's Attorney,
concealed their knowledge of the ongoing systemic torture at
have moved to dismiss Counts I, III, VI and VII, for failure
to state a claim. A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Gibson v.
City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990).
The court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual
allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Roberts v. City of Chicago,
817 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016). The complaint must allege
sufficient facts that, if true, would raise a right to relief
above the speculative level, showing that the claim is
plausible on its face. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 549, 555 (2007). To be plausible on
its face the complaint must plead facts sufficient for the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the alleged misconduct. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).