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Chachere v. City of Chicago

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

February 28, 2018




         In this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law against the City of Chicago and two of its police officers, Danielle Deering and Cory Junious, Michael Chachere alleges that his home was unlawfully searched, that he was unlawfully arrested, detained, and prosecuted on groundless charges, and that personal property seized upon his arrest was unlawfully destroyed. Doc. 1. The court has dismissed the property destruction claims. Docs. 39-40 (reported at 2017 WL 372306 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 26, 2017)). Defendants now move for summary judgment on the remaining claims. Doc. 67. The motion is granted in part and denied in part.


         The following facts are set forth as favorably to Chachere as the record and Local Rule 56.1 permit. See Hanners v. Trent, 674 F.3d 683, 691 (7th Cir. 2012). On summary judgment, the court must assume the truth of those facts, but does not vouch for them. See Arroyo v. Volvo Grp. N. Am., LLC, 805 F.3d 278, 281 (7th Cir. 2015).

         On October 14, 2014, Sheila Shannon, a real estate agent, contacted the police because she believed that intruders had entered a home, located at 7646 South Perry Avenue in Chicago, that she was responsible for selling. Doc. 71 at ¶¶ 12-13, 16. Officers Deering and Junious were dispatched to investigate. Id. at ¶¶ 5-6. Upon arriving, they saw two people who matched a description of the intruders. Id. at ¶ 7. One of the individuals ran inside the house and shut the door. Id. at ¶ 8. The officers tried to follow him in, but the door was locked. Ibid.

         At some point, Deering spoke with Shannon. Id. at ¶¶ 11-12, 19. The parties dispute the content and even the existence of the conversation. Defendants assert that Deering called Shannon after noticing her number on a “For Sale” sign outside the home and that Shannon gave the officers permission to search the home. Ibid. In support, Defendants cite Shannon's deposition testimony that she “authorized a search of the house.” Doc. 69-3 at 8. Chachere asserts that because Shannon cannot recall having received a call from the police, no conversation occurred. Doc. 71 at ¶ 11. However, Shannon and the officers testified that they spoke, and Shannon testified that she called the police at some point on October 14, id. at ¶¶ 11, 19; Doc. 69-3 at 6, so the record establishes that a conversation did take place.

         Chachere asserts that the officers, during their depositions, identified only the home's owner, and not Shannon, as the source of their consent to search the home. Doc. 71 at ¶¶ 11, 19. It is true that Junious mentioned only the home's owner as the source of the consent. Id. at pp. 227-228. But Deering testified that she spoke with Shannon, who told her (Deering) that she (Shannon) “wanted [the officers] to remove [any intruders] … .” Id. at p. 281. Deering's testimony favors Defendants, but it does no more than create a genuine dispute as to whether Shannon consented to a broad search of the home (as she testified) or merely told the officers to remove any intruders (as Deering testified). This dispute must be resolved in Chachere's favor, so for purposes of summary judgment, Shannon told Deering that the officers could enter the home to search for intruders, but did not give them permission to conduct a broader search.

         The home's owner, in a call with Deering, also gave the officers permission to enter and remove any individuals who were inside. Id. at ¶¶ 20-21; see id. at pp. 278-279. Chachere asserts that the owner authorized the officers only to remove intruders, while Defendants assert that the officers were given “permission to investigate and to search the residence.” Id. at ¶ 21. This dispute is resolved in Chachere's favor. Junious testified that he believed that the owner had consented to a search of her home, but that information was relayed to him by Deering. Id. at p. 228. And Deering testified that the owner had told her only that “she didn't want anyone in the house. If anyone was there … they needed to be removed from the house.” Doc. 69-2 at 6. For purposes of summary judgment, then, the owner authorized the officers only to remove intruders from the home.

         Some time later, the intruder who had entered the home came outside. Doc. 71 at ¶ 22; Doc. 77 at ¶ 6. He was detained along with the other individual the officers observed when they arrived. Doc. 77 at ¶¶ 6, 9. Both men stated that they lived at the home. Id. at ¶ 9. The officers then decided to enter the home without a search warrant. Doc. 71 at ¶ 26; Doc. 77 at ¶¶ 6-7.

         Before entering, the officers learned that there might be guns in the home. Doc. 71 at ¶ 18. (That fact is supported by this testimony from Junious: “The way it was related to me from the phone calls was that no one was supposed to be there. And that-whoever is there, there might be guns in the house. So from that, we wanted to search the house.” Doc. 69-1 at 12. Chachere provides no reason to doubt his testimony.) The officers also were told that Chachere was the only person permitted in the home. Doc. 71 at ¶ 17. (Citing the officers' testimony, Defendants assert that they were told that Chachere's girlfriend might be staying with him, but that there should not be any “young people staying at the residence.” Ibid. Chachere counters with Shannon's testimony that she informed the police that “no one is supposed to be [in the house] except the guy Michael.” Ibid. (citing Doc. 71 at p. 42). On summary judgment, this dispute is resolved in Chachere's favor.)

         Upon entering the home, which has four bedrooms and is “pretty big, ” the officers conducted an initial search to see if anybody was present. Id. at ¶ 26; Doc. 77 at ¶¶ 11, 25-26. “[A]fter determining no one else was in the home, ” they conducted a broader search for evidence of a crime. Doc. 71 at ¶¶ 26-27. During that search, the officers found two firearms. Id. at ¶ 28. They also found ammunition in an upstairs bedroom, spent casings and a bulletproof vest in the basement, and mail linking Chachere to the residence. Id. at ¶¶ 29-30.

         Chachere returned home after the searches had been completed. Id. at ¶ 31. He provided the officers with his identification, which listed his as 7646 South Perry Avenue. Id. at ¶¶ 32-33. Chachere told the officers that the two detained individuals were his girlfriend's children and that they lived at the home. Doc. 77 at ¶ 10. One of the officers ran Chachere's name and learned he was a convicted felon. Doc. 71 at ¶ 34.

         The officers arrested Chachere because, as a convicted felon, he could not legally possess firearms. Id. at ¶ 38. The officers then “created official police reports containing the false claims that [Chachere] ‘spontaneously uttered upon his arrival “I'm a security guard and the guns are mine, ”' that [Chachere] was given Miranda warnings, and that [Chachere] then stated again, ‘I'm a security guard and the guns are mine.'” Doc. 77 at ¶ 15. Chachere did not, in fact, say those things. Id. at ¶¶ 13-15.

         Chachere was charged with two counts of being an armed habitual criminal and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Doc. 71 at ¶ 39. He spent some four months in pretrial detention at Cook County Jail. Doc. 77 at ¶ 30. The state trial court granted Chachere's motion to quash and suppress evidence on the ground that any exigent circumstances that could have justified the officers' warrantless search of the home had dissipated by the time they entered. Doc. 71 at ¶ 39. ...

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