United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
KEITH W. LEFLORE, SR., Plaintiff,
AURORA POLICE DEPT., OFFICER JEREMIAH SHUFELT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
M. ROWLAND United States District Judge.
Keith W. Leflore, Sr., brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Jeremiah
Shufelt and the Aurora Police Department.Defendant Shufelt
has filed a motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant Shufelt's motion  is granted.
motion to dismiss stage, the Court accepts all well-pleaded
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draws all
inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Cole v. Milwaukee
Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir.
2011). According to Plaintiff's earlier state case, the
Aurora Police Department received a tip that Leflore was
committing burglaries on the west side of Aurora in April of
2009. People v. Leflore, 2015 IL 116799, 392
Ill.Dec. 467, 469 (2015). In response to the tip, Officer
Shufelt placed a GPS tracking devise on Leflore's
fiancé's car without a warrant. (Dkt. 12 at 4-5)
Tracking from the GPS device showed that Leflore's car
was parked near a gas station that was held up. People v.
Leflore, 2015 IL 116799, 392 Ill.Dec. 467, 468 (2015).
Officer Shufelt then came to Leflore's apartment without
a warrant and detained Plaintiff while searching his
apartment for evidence of earlier robberies. (Dkt. 12 at 4-5)
Officer Shufelt later arrested Plaintiff. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the arrest, he suffered
bruises and scars. (Id.)
was eventually charged with aggravated robbery, robbery and
burglary in the circuit court of Kane County. People v.
Leflore, 2015 IL 116799, 392 Ill.Dec. 467, 468 (2015).
Leflore “filed a motion to quash his arrest and
suppress evidence, arguing that it was solely through
information received through the GPS tracking device that
[Leflore] became a suspect in the robbery and therefore all
the evidence against him should be suppressed.”
Id. The trial court denied Leflore's motion,
finding that the use of the GPS device did not constitute a
search under either the federal or state constitutions.
Id. Leflore represented himself at his trial, and
the jury found him guilty of all charges. Id. at
470. The trial court sentenced Leflore to 20 years in prison.
appeal, Leflore argued that the trial court erred in denying
his motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, and
that the court erroneously allowed him to waive counsel
without properly admonishing him under Illinois Supreme Court
Rule 401(a). Id. While the case was pending on
appeal, the Supreme Court decided two cases. First, in
United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 132 S.Ct. 945
(2012), the Supreme Court held that attaching a GPS device to
a car, and the subsequent use of that device to monitor a
vehicle's movements, constitutes a search under the
Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court also decided Davis v.
United States, 564 U.S. 229, 131 S.Ct. 2419 (2011),
which held that the exclusionary rule does not apply
“when the police conduct a search in objectively
reasonable reliance on binding judicial precedent.” 564
U.S. at 239.
case eventually made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
People v. Leflore, 2015 IL 116799, 392 Ill.Dec. 467,
468 (2015). The Illinois Supreme Court held that the good
faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied because
“it was objectively reasonable for the police to rely
on [prior decisions] for the conclusion that warrantless
installation and monitoring of the GPS device was
legal.” Id. at 476. The Illinois Supreme
Court emphasized that it was “reasonable for Detective
Shufelt to rely upon the legal principles set forth by the
Supreme Court.” Id. However, the Illinois
Supreme Court remanded the case to the Circuit Court of Kane
County based on the Rule 401 issue.
March 28, 2016, Leflore entered into a plea
agreement. He was sentenced to 10 years and 3 months,
but with credit for his incarceration he effectively received
a time-served deal. (Dkt. 52 at 6) Although Plaintiff's
plea agreement stipulates that his plea “was
voluntarily arrived at, ” Plaintiff's Complaint
alleges that he was “forced to take a plea deal in
exchange for his freedom.” (Dkt. 49, Ex. 1; Dkt. 12 at
January 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit. Plaintiff
brought this action under § 1983 for false arrest,
excessive force, and unlawful search and
seizure. Defendant Shufelt moves to dismiss.
motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of a complaint, not
the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago,
910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). “To survive a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must
provide enough factual information to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face and raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Haywood v. Massage
Envy Franchising, LLC, 887 F.3d 329, 333 (7th Cir. 2018)
(quotations and citation omitted); see also Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (requiring a complaint to contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.”). A court deciding
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion accepts plaintiff's well-pleaded
factual allegations as true and draws all permissible
inferences in plaintiff's favor. Fortres Grand
Corp., 763 F.3d at 700.
plaintiff need not plead “detailed factual
allegations”, but “still must provide more than
mere labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action for her complaint to be
considered adequate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8.” Bell v. City of Chi., 835 F.3d 736, 738
(7th Cir. 2016) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper
“when the allegations in a complaint, however true,
could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 1966 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009).
Shufelt moves to dismiss the excessive force claim under the
statute of limitations, asserts a qualified immunity defense
for Plaintiff's illegal search and seizure claim, and
finally asserts that Plaintiff's illegal search claims
are barred by Heck v. Humphrey and the principles of
issue preclusion. 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364 (1994).
Defendant is not moving to dismiss the false arrest claim at
this time, but reserves the right to do so in the
future. Plaintiff responds that Defendant conceded
that the statute of limitations does not apply, that the
defense of qualified immunity is not appropriate at the
motion to dismiss stage, and that it would be
“unfair” to bar Leflore's claims under