495 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2007), 06-3647, Guzman v. Sheahan

Docket Nº:06-3647.
Citation:495 F.3d 852
Party Name:Ruben GUZMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Michael F. SHEAHAN, Sheriff, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:August 07, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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495 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2007)

Ruben GUZMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Michael F. SHEAHAN, Sheriff, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 06-3647.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

August 7, 2007

Argued May 3, 2007.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 04 C 1814-Martin C. Ashman, Magistrate Judge.

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Robert B. Patterson (argued), Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Paul W. Groah (argued), Office of the Cook County State's Attorney, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before Easterbrook, Chief Judge, and Flaum and Ripple, Circuit Judges.

Ripple, Circuit Judge.

Ruben Guzman was incarcerated as a pre-trial inmate at Cook County Jail. In this action, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he alleged that Cook County, various prison guards and law enforcement officials violated his right to due process of law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. [1 The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. [2] Mr. Guzman timely appealed. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.




Mr. Guzman was a pre-trial inmate at Cook County Jail. On January 21, 2003, Mr. Guzman saw a fellow detainee passing out papers and asked him what the papers contained. Another inmate, Willis Reese, told Mr. Guzman it was none of his business and, unprovoked, hit Mr. Guzman in the face. Reese threw many punches at Mr. Guzman and hit him on the left side of his face. Mr. Guzman punched Reese at least once. After this first exchange of

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punches, Reese paused for 15-20 seconds to catch his breath and then resumed punching Mr. Guzman. After three to six minutes, Reese hit Mr. Guzman on the left side of his face with a broom. The correctional officers entered the room just as Reese struck Mr. Guzman with the broom.

Officer Sandra White was the guard on duty when this altercation occurred. The on-duty guard sat in an office known as the "Interlock" which was separated from the main room by a window. Immediately after Reese hit Mr. Guzman the first time, Mr. Guzman saw Officer White talking into her radio. Officer White stated that she had placed a "10-10" call at this time to solicit help from other officers in order to break up the fight. As part of her training, Officer White had been instructed to make a "10-10" call to report inmates fighting, and she was also told to exercise her authority by giving verbal commands in an attempt to induce inmates to cease fighting. Officer White was required to stay in the Interlock at all times; she was instructed that she should wait for backup before leaving the Interlock. Although she contends that she did remain at her post, Mr. Guzman claims that she left the Interlock room for three to six minutes and then returned with other officers to aid in breaking up the fight.

Mr. Guzman was taken to Cermak Health Services and later to Cook County Hospital where an examination revealed that he had suffered a lacerated cornea and eyelid. He had surgery that day and a second surgery a week later. Mr. Guzman remains unable to see out of his left eye.

Mr. Guzman had not seen or spoken with Reese before the altercation; he had not complained to any of the guards about Reese. None of the officers at Cook County Jail knew of any prior difficulty between Mr. Guzman and Reese.

Mr. Guzman's complaint also alleged that the Illinois Department of Corrections had a policy and procedure for the classification of inmates that was designed to ensure that inmates were placed in the proper detention facilities. Section 710.70(c) of the Administrative Regulations promulgated by the Illinois Department of Corrections requires local detention facilities to reclassify all inmates every 60 days. General Order 13.6 of the Cook County Department of Corrections sets forth this requirement for the Cook County detention facilities. According to the Cook County regulations, an inmate is to be reclassified if the inmate returns from court with a mittimus, or warrant of commitment to prison, that lists a new or upgraded charge. An inmate also should be reclassified if his bond is changed or if his status otherwise changes for disciplinary reasons. Department of Corrections officials in the Cook County detention facilities are required to review every inmate for reclassification every 60 days.

The reclassification procedure in Cook County was supposed to be implemented in the following manner: Each night at midnight, Lt. Michael Maeweather received an alphabetical printout of those inmates due for reclassification the next day. He then gave this list to the reclassification personnel who would check the charges and bonds on the computer and ensure that all of the inmates were classified properly. Both parties acknowledge that, even though the jail employees were supposed to get through the entire list each day, this task was an impossible one because of the large number of inmates. Various law enforcement officials testified that, despite contrary regulations, inmates with different criminal histories were often housed together due to overcrowding.

Michael F. Sheahan served as the sheriff at the time these events transpired. Superintendent

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Daniel Brown, as the superintendent of all aspects of Division 5 operations in the Cook County facility, was charged with ensuring that classification and reclassification of inmates was performed in accordance with the Classification Operations Manual. Lt. Maeweather was the supervisor in Mr. Guzman's division and reported directly to Supt. Brown. He was charged with ensuring inmates were reclassified properly.

Mr. Guzman submits that Reese's classification was not changed when it should have been according to the reclassification procedure. He contends that this lapse was due to a de facto policy and procedure implemented by the defendant officers that tolerated a delay in the reclassification of inmates in the Cook County Jail. Both Reese and Mr. Guzman initially were classified as "Medium Security, " but Reese also had been categorized as a "serious violence threat." In addition, Reese's bail status also had changed. In Mr. Guzman's view, when the July 18, 2002 mittimus had been issued showing the addition of a murder charge, Reese should have been reclassified as Maximum Security.



The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary...

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