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Rivera v. Guevara

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

June 26, 2018

JACQUES RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
REYNALDO GUEVARA, et al., Defendants.

          Jon Loevy One of Plaintiff's Attorneys

          Hon. Joan B. Gottschall, District Judge

          ORDER

          Hon. Mary M. Rowland, Magistrate Judge

         JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

         PLAINTIFF'S RULE 50 MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

         Plaintiff, JACQUES RIVERA, by his attorneys, moves this Court for the entry of an order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 for judgment as a matter of law in his favor. In support of this motion, Plaintiff states:

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff brought a due process claim against defendants Guevara, Gawrys, McLaughlin, and Mingey for concealing exculpatory evidence or fabricating evidence against him in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Plaintiff has presented unrebutted evidence that Defendants violated his right to due process by concealing exculpatory evidence. Defendants have presented no evidence to support a defense to this claim. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law in his favor on this claim.

         A court should enter judgment under Rule 50 when the moving party has presented sufficient evidence such that, as a matter of law, a jury should find in his favor. Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). A court should enter judgment for Plaintiff under Rule 50 if a reasonable jury, when viewing all the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in Defendants' favor, could not find for Defendants. Clarett v. Roberts, 657 F.3d 664, 674 (7th Cir. 2011). Put differently, judgment under Rule 50 is appropriate here if Defendants have not presented sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find in their favor. James v. Milwaukee County, 956 F.2d 696, 698 (7th Cir. 1992).

         A claim under Brady is an independent ground for a jury to find a due process violation; therefore it is appropriate for disposition under Rule 50. See Fields v. City of Chicago, No. 10 C 1168, 2015 WL 13578989, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 7, 2015) (Brady claim is discrete ground for Rule 50 motion); Sykes v. Anderson, 625 F.3d 294, 305 (6th Cir. 2010) (same); Burgess v. Baltimore Police Dep't, 300 F.Supp.3d 696, 706 (D. Md. 2018) (same).

         ARGUMENT

         I. A Reasonable Jury Could Only Find that Defendants Violated His Right to Due Process

         Plaintiff contends that defendants Guevara, Gawrys, McLaughlin, and Mingey violated his constitutional right to due process of law by suppressing exculpatory and impeaching evidence. To succeed on this claim, Plaintiff must show that (a) Defendants concealed exculpatory or impeachment evidence; (b) that the evidence was material; and (c) that he was damaged as a result. See Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98 (1977); Lee v. Foster, 750 F.3d 687 (7th Cir. 2014); Holland v. City of Chicago, 643 F.3d 248, 255 (7th Cir. 2011); Carvajal v. Dominguez, 542 F.3d 561, 566-67 (7th Cir. 2008); Alexander v. City of South Bend, 433 F.3d 550 (7th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff has introduced unrebutted evidence satisfying each of these elements.

         In order to show that suppressed evidence is material, Plaintiff “must show only that the new evidence is sufficient to ‘undermine confidence' in the verdict.” Wearry v. Cain, 136 S.Ct. 1002, 1006 (2016) (citing Smith v. Cain, 132 S.Ct. 627, 629-31 (2012)); see also Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419, 434 (1995). Accordingly, whether evidence is material depends on the strength of the evidence presented in the criminal case against the defendant-where a criminal case is weak, it is more likely that suppressed evidence would be considered material. UnitedStates v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 113 (1976). Importantly, evidence that would impeach a key eyewitness is indisputably material, according to the Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit. Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 153-54 (1972); see also Smith, 565 U.S. at 75 (impeachment evidence regarding eyewitness material when eyewitness was the only evidence connecting defendant to the crime); Fields v. Wharrie, 672 F.3d 505, 517 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The constitutional violation occurs when the means by which the testimony was acquired are not disclosed at trial-or when other information that impeach the testimony's reliability are not shared with the defense.”); Newsome v. McCabe, 319 F.3d 301, 302-05 (7th Cir. 2003) (holding that “the ...


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