253 F.2d 59 (7th Cir. 1958), 12151, Wakat v. Harlib

Docket Nº:12151.
Citation:253 F.2d 59
Party Name:Leslie George WAKAT, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Peter F. HARLIB, Irwin Haviland, Harold T. Thompsen, Thomas J. Murphy and Thomas V. Lyons, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:March 04, 1958
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 59

253 F.2d 59 (7th Cir. 1958)

Leslie George WAKAT, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Peter F. HARLIB, Irwin Haviland, Harold T. Thompsen, Thomas J. Murphy and Thomas V. Lyons, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 12151.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

March 4, 1958

Page 60

John C. Melaniphy, Corp. Counsel, Harry H. Pollack, Asst. Corp. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., (Sydney R. Drebin, Asst. Corp. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., of counsel) for appellant.

Peter B. Atwood, Eugene T. Devitt, Chicago, Ill., for appellee.

Before DUFFY, Chief Judge, and SCHNACKENBERG and HASTINGS, Circuit Judges.

SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judge.

A jury found defendants guilty as charged in count I of plaintiff's complaint and assessed his damages at $10, 000, and found them guilty as charged in count II of said complaint and assessed plaintiff's damages at $5, 000. Judgment was entered on the verdicts and this appeal followed.

Both counts are based upon alleged violations of the federal civil rights act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1981 et seq. Particularly count I relies upon 42 U.S.C.A. § 1985, which, in part, reads as follows:

'(2) * * * if two or more persons conspire for the purpose of impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating, in any manner, the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent to deny to any citizen the equal protection of the laws, or to injure him or his property for lawfully enforcing, or attempting to enforce, the right of any person, or class of persons, to the equal protection of the laws; * * * (-

Page 61

3) * * * in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages, occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.'

Count II relies on 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, which reads as follows:

'Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.'

The district court denied defendants' motions for a directed verdict, for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial.

The following is a statement of certain material facts which appear from the evidence (some of which is contradicted by defendants' evidence, which conflict was resolved by the jury's verdicts).

On September 15, 1946, when a burglary occurred at Lakeview Tool and Die Company, the defendant police officers of the City of Chicago, were assigned to Town Hall police station, where Lyons was captain and Murphy was a lieutenant. Harlib was put in charge of investigating the burglary. He went to the scene and found that, in addition to the burglary, there had been a fire. Previously there had been a similar burglary and fire at Atlas Tool and Die Company. At both of these places plaintiff had been employed. He was employed at Chicago Coil Company on September 21, 1946, when he was arrested at about 6 p.m. by Harlib and other policemen because he had a criminal record and had worked at both of the burglarized places.

When arrested plaintiff was placed in a cell and, on the next day, Sunday, he was questioned by Harlib, Haviland, and policeman Suckow, now deceased, about the Lakeview burglary, but denied knowledge of the same. On Monday he was further questioned by Harlib, Suckow, and policeman Schoeler, and given a lie detector test. Harlib, Suckow, and Schoeler went to Chicago Coil Company with plaintiff where his tool box and work bench were searched. From there they went back to Town Hall. When an attorney representing plaintiff called at the police station and stated that he represented plaintiff and wished to see him, defendant Murphy told him to 'get out, that he could not see him now.' Thereafter plaintiff was questioned by an assistant state's attorney and then taken to court where he was released on a writ of habeas corpus. On the same day, Thompsen, Haviland and another policeman rearrested him and took him to Town Hall. From there he was taken to Chicago Coil Company where he was questioned about some tools and struck by Harlib. He was then taken back to Town Hall and questioned in Murphy's office by Harlib, Murphy, Suckow and others and Murphy struck him and ordered that he be taken upstairs. He was taken upstairs to a gymnasium by Harlib, Haviland, Thompsen and others, and Harlib beat him with a club, Thompsen and Haviland with blackjacks, and Suckow with a...

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