United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
ENTERED MICHAEL M. MIHM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pretrial detainee, proceeding pro se, filed an
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Urbana City Police
Officer King, Champaign County State's Attorney Julia
Rietz and Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark. The
case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing the Complaint, the Court
accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing
them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour,
729 F.3d 645, 649-51 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to “state a claim for relief that is plausible
on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721
F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). While the pleading standard does not require
“detailed factual allegations”, it requires
“more than an unadorned,
Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx. 588, 589 (7th Cir.
2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
alleges that on March 19, 2019, but he was on a
Champaign/Urbana city bus with LaTisha Parks, the mother of
his child. Plaintiff apparently engaged in some verbal abuse
of Ms. Parks as he admitted “cussing” at her. A
woman who was riding the bus and whom Plaintiff describes as
intoxicated, tried to intervene. Plaintiff advised the woman
to mind her own business and she subsequently called the
police. Plaintiff exited the bus and noted that the bus was
stopped by the Urbana City Police at the next corner.
Officer King subsequently located and contacted Plaintiff,
telling him that he would be locked up. On an unidentified
date, Plaintiff turned himself at the police station where he
was arrested on unspecified charges. Plaintiff asserts that
at the time of the filing of the complaint, he had been
wrongfully held 74 days in the Urbana City Jail. Plaintiff
claims, without preamble, that Ms. Parks denied that he had
choked her. As a result, he believes that Defendant King
wrongfully arrested him and that Champaign County State's
Attorney Reitz and Assistant State's Attorney Clark
wrongfully charged him.
Plaintiff asserts an unspecified Eighth Amendment claim, it
appears that he is actually alleging that he was arrested and
held without probable cause, a claim which arises under the
Fourth Amendment. Probable cause exists when “the facts
and circumstances within [the officer's] knowledge and of
which they have reasonably trustworthy information are
sufficient to warrant a prudent person in believing that the
suspect had committed an offense…The probable cause
standard requires that the officer's belief be
reasonable, not that it be correct.” Huff v.
Reichert, 744 F.3d 99, 1007 (7th Cir. 2014)(internal
by eyewitnesses supply probable cause when the statements, if
true, show that a crime has occurred. It does not
matter…whether the accused person denies the
allegations. Police need not conduct an investigation but may
arrest and let prosecutors and courts determine who is
telling the truth.” Askew v. City of Chicago,
440 F.3d 894, 895 (7th Cir. 2006) citing Gramenos v.
Jewel Companies, Inc., 797 F.2d 432 (7th Cir.1986). This
is so, unless the police have reason to know that the witness
may harbor a grudge against the accused. Askew, 440
F.3d at 895.
Plaintiff alleges that a third-party eyewitness tried to
intervene while he cussed at Ms. Parks on a public bus and,
when this proved ineffective, called the police. Plaintiff
does not claim that the witness knew him or held a grudge
against him so as to have been motivated to falsely accuse
him. While Ms. Parks allegedly denied that Plaintiff had
choked her, Plaintiff admittedly engaged in verbal
harassment, an illegal activity.
been recognized that “police often encounter competing
and inconsistent stories… police on the scene must act
yet lack the tools to determine immediately where the truth
lies. The Constitution permits them to initiate the criminal
process and leave the sifting of competing claims and
inferences to detectives, prosecutors, judges, and juries in
the criminal prosecution.” Id. at 896. The
facts as pled, fail to support that Plaintiff was wrongfully
arrested without probable cause.
Defendants Reitz and Clark, they are both prosecutors who
have absolute immunity from suit for actions taken in their
prosecutorial capacities. See Van de Kamp v.
Goldstein, 555 U.S. 335 (2009). “Prosecutors are
absolutely immune from liability in § 1983 suits brought
against prosecutorial actions that are ‘intimately
associated with the judicial phase of the criminal
process…” See also, Villars
v.Kubiatowski, No. 12-4586, 2014 WL 1795631 *22 (N.D.
Ill. May 5, 2014). “Prosecutorial immunity extends
to… ‘acts taken in preparing for the initiation
of judicial proceedings or for trial'”; Ramsey
v. Christ, No. 14-00351 *4 (S.D. Ill. April 15,
2014)(dismissing § 1983 case at merit review where
Plaintiff alleged action against prosecutor who enjoyed
absolute immunity from suit).
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. Any amendment to the Complaint would be futile because
Plaintiff cannot plead a constitutional claim under this set
of facts, and as two of the defendants enjoy absolute
immunity from suit. This case is therefore closed. The clerk
is directed to enter a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 58.
All pending Motions are rendered MOOT. All internal deadlines
dismissal shall count as one of the plaintiff's three
allotted “strikes” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section
1915(g). The Clerk of the Court is directed to record
Plaintiff's strike in the three-strike log.
Plaintiff must still pay the full docketing fee of $350 even
though his case has been dismissed. The agency having custody
of Plaintiff shall continue to make monthly payments to the
Clerk of Court, as directed in the Court's prior order.
Plaintiff wishes to appeal this dismissal, he must file a
notice of appeal with this Court within 30 days of the entry
of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave to
appeal in forma pauperis should set forth the issues
Plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(1)(C). If Plaintiff does choose to appeal, ...