535 F.3d 621 (7th Cir. 2008), 07-2804, Peals v. Terre Haute Police Dept.
|Citation:||535 F.3d 621|
|Party Name:||Robert L. PEALS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TERRE HAUTE POLICE DEPARTMENT, George A. Ralston III, Terre Haute Police Chief, in his official capacity, Trey Gilbert, Terre Haute Police Officer, et al., Defendants-Appellees.|
|Case Date:||July 25, 2008|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit|
Argued June 6, 2008.
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Michael T. Wallace (argued), Roberts & Bishop, Indianapolis, IN, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
William W. Drummy (argued), John C. Wall, Wilkinson, Goeller, Modesitt, Wilkinson & Drummy, Terre Haute, IN, for Defendants-Appellees.
Before BAUER, RIPPLE and MANION, Circuit Judges.
RIPPLE, Circuit Judge.
Robert Peals filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Terre Haute Police Department and several individual police officers. Mr. Peals alleged that the defendants had performed an unlawful search, falsely arrested him, initiated a retaliatory prosecution against him and used excessive force against him. Before trial, the district court granted the defendants' summary judgment motion with respect to Mr. Peals' unlawful search, false arrest and retaliatory prosecution claims. The court also dismissed his claims against all of the defendants except Officers Trey Gilbert and Curt Brinegar. The remaining excessive-force claim proceeded to trial, and the jury found in favor of the defendants. Mr. Peals timely appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment on two of his claims and two of the court's rulings at trial. For the reasons discussed in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.
On September 15, 2003, Mr. Peals was arrested in his garage by a number of Terre Haute police officers from the Street
Crimes Unit, a unit used to perform special tasks including high-risk arrests, narcotics arrests and narcotics information gathering. Among these officers were two K-9 officers who were detailed at that time to the Street Crimes Unit. The police officers had a warrant for Mr. Peals' arrest on charges of battery resulting in injury and invasion of privacy, but they did not possess a search warrant for his home. After the officers took Mr. Peals into custody, Mr. Peals observed Officer Brinegar, several other officers and the K-9 units looking around the garage “as if [they] were searching for something." R.77, Ex. C. In addition, Mr. Peals observed Officer Brinegar enter Mr. Peals' house.
In an unrelated incident, on January 15, 2005, Officer Gilbert arrested Mr. Peals in a restaurant parking lot pursuant to a bench warrant for failure to pay child support and failure to appear in court.1 On that evening, Officer Gilbert was providing police security at a restaurant and was wearing a t-shirt printed with a badge and the word “POLICE." When Mr. Peals entered the restaurant, he was stopped by Officer Gilbert, who recognized him from the Vigo County Sheriff's Department Active Warrant List. Officer Gilbert told Mr. Peals that there was a warrant for Mr. Peals' arrest. While Officer Gilbert called the police station to check the status of the warrant, Mr. Peals said that he did not believe that Officer Gilbert had a warrant and walked to the parking lot. Officer Gilbert pursued and arrested him there. As a result of this incident, Mr. Peals was charged with resisting arrest.
Following his 2005 arrest, Mr. Peals filed a section 1983 claim against the Terre Haute Police Department, the Police Chief in his individual capacity, and eight known and additional unknown officers. Alleging violations of his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the suit included four claims based on the 2003 and 2005 incidents: unlawful search, false arrest, initiation of a retaliatory prosecution and excessive force. The defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims. The district court granted the motion as to Mr. Peals' unlawful search, retaliatory prosecution and false arrest claims but denied the motion on his excessive force claims. Before trial, the district court also dismissed the claims against all of the defendants except Officers Brinegar and Gilbert.
Mr. Peals requested Officer Gilbert's and Officer Brinegar's personnel files. The district court examined the files in camera and determined that they did not contain information necessary to Mr. Peals' case and therefore would not be divulged. Mr. Peals did not object to the district court's determination; in response to the determination, his counsel simply replied, “Okay." Tr. at 15.
The district court also denied Mr. Peals' request to call Officer Peter Tanoos as a rebuttal witness. The court agreed with the defendants that Officer Tanoos' testimony would be improper rebuttal testimony because it should have been introduced during Mr. Peals' case in chief.
The jury found in favor of the officers on all claims. Mr. Peals timely appealed.
Mr. Peals contends that the district court improperly granted summary judgment on his claims of retaliatory prosecution and unlawful search. We review de novo the district court's decision to grant a motion for summary judgment and may affirm that decision on any ground found in the record. Hull v. Stoughton Trailers, LLC, 445 F.3d 949, 951 (7th Cir.2006). Summary judgment is appropriate if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Keck Garrett & Assocs. v. Nextel Commc'ns, Inc., 517 F.3d 476, 483 (7th Cir.2008); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
1. Retaliatory Prosecution
Mr. Peals contends that the district court improperly granted summary judgment on his claim that Officer Gilbert initiated a retaliatory prosecution against him. Mr. Peals submits that Officer Gilbert arrested him and then influenced the prosecutor into charging him with resisting arrest because of the complaint that he contends that he submitted against Officer Gilbert on January 4, 2005.
An individual may not be subject to criminal prosecution for exercising his right to free speech. Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250, 256, 126 S.Ct. 1695, 164 L.Ed.2d 441 (2006). If an individual is subjected to criminal prosecution in retaliation for constitutionally protected speech and “nonretaliatory grounds are in fact insufficient to provoke the adverse consequences," then instigation of the retaliatory prosecution “is subject to...
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