18 F.3d 421 (7th Cir. 1994), 92-4037, Hebron v. Touhy

Docket Nº:92-4037.
Citation:18 F.3d 421
Party Name:Susie HEBRON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Catherine TOUHY and Albert Parks, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:March 07, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 421

18 F.3d 421 (7th Cir. 1994)

Susie HEBRON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Catherine TOUHY and Albert Parks, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 92-4037.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 7, 1994

Argued Jan. 10, 1994.

Order Denying Rehearing March 28, 1994.

Page 422

Alan D. Lyons, Armand L. Andry (argued), Oak Park, IL, for plaintiff-appellant.

Lawrence Rosenthal, Deputy County Counsel, Frederick S. Rhine, Asst. County Counsel (argued), Benna R. Solomon, Susan S. Sher, Office of the Corp. Counsel, Appeals Div., Chicago, IL, for defendants-appellees.

Before POSNER, Chief Judge, and EASTERBROOK and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge.

Catherine Touhy and Albert Parks, patrol officers of the Chicago police, were dispatched to investigate a landlord-tenant dispute in July 1986. The tenants asserted that their landlords, the Hebrons, who were trying to evict them for non-payment of rent, had cut off their water and were refusing to permit them to use or remove their washer-dryer in the basement. Parks went to the apartment on the second floor; no water came out of the tap. Parks and Touhy then knocked on the Hebrons' first-floor door. Susie Hebron, 65 years old and toting a butcher knife, admitted the officers. After some discussion, Hebron put the knife down but otherwise was uncooperative. She denied that the tenants' water had been cut off but would not visit their apartment with the officers to check. She admitted that she would not allow the tenants to enter the basement where their washer-dryer was located. Everything relating to the tenants was her husband's responsibility, Hebron contended, but she conceded that she was a part owner of the building and refused to call her husband at work. Hebron also refused to call her lawyer. After the tenants signed formal complaints, the officers placed Hebron under arrest for depriving the tenants of utility services and their washer-dryer. She did not go quietly. First she sank her teeth into Touhy's torso; after three blows from the heel of Touhy's hand caused Hebron to release her grip, she bit into Touhy's forearm; two more blows followed, and Touhy grabbed Hebron by the hair to prevent further bites. Hebron refused to walk and had to be dragged to a paddy wagon. She posted a $100 bond and was released. After the prosecutor dismissed the criminal charges against her, Hebron sued the officers under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for false arrest and the use of excessive force in effecting the arrest.

In April 1988 the district judge granted summary judgment to the defendants on Hebron's claim that she had been arrested without probable cause. The tenants' complaint plus the officers' investigation, the judge concluded, supplied the necessary justification; Hebron's denial did not detract from the existence of probable cause to arrest. Four and a half years later, a jury determined that the officers had not used excessive force when arresting Hebron. (The lengthy intermission is a mystery.) Hebron now contends that the probable-cause question should have...

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