758 F.2d 181 (6th Cir. 1985), 83-1001, Marchese v. Lucas

Docket Nº:83-1001.
Citation:758 F.2d 181
Party Name:Salvatore MARCHESE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. William LUCAS, Individually and as Sheriff of Wayne County, Michigan, and The County of Wayne, Jointly and severally, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:April 03, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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758 F.2d 181 (6th Cir. 1985)

Salvatore MARCHESE, Plaintiff-Appellee,


William LUCAS, Individually and as Sheriff of Wayne County,

Michigan, and The County of Wayne, Jointly and

severally, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 83-1001.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 3, 1985

Argued Dec. 7, 1984.

As Amended on Denial of Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc July 3, 1985.

William B. McIntyre, Jr., George H. Cross, Richard Kudla, argued, Detroit, Mich., for defendants-appellants.

Deborah Gordon, argued, Detroit, Mich., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before EDWARDS [*] and KRUPANSKY, Circuit Judges, and PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.


This is an appeal from a judgment for $125,000 entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Julian A. Cook, Jr., presiding, based upon a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff Marchese against William Lucas in his official capacity as Sheriff of Wayne County, and against the County of Wayne. The suit was based upon 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. The cases in the United States Supreme Court which appear to establish decisional principles on the issues of this case are Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978) and Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561

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(1976). Directly applicable to this case is a very recent decision in Brandon v. Holt, --- U.S. ----, 105 S.Ct. 873, 83 L.Ed.2d 878 (1985). See also: Black v. Stevens, 662 F.2d 181, 191 (3rd Cir.1981), and Leite v. City of Providence, 463 F.Supp. 585, 590-91 (D.R.I.1978).

The first issue presented by this case is whether or not Sec. 1983 creates an action for damages on the part of a prisoner lawfully arrested and in custody when, as this jury found on substantial evidence, he was twice beaten severely while in the custody and complete control of sheriff's officers. The second important question is, assuming an affirmative answer to the first, does such liability extend to the Sheriff, the commanding officer of the law enforcement unit involved here in his official capacity either because of the Sheriff's prior failure to train and discipline his force or because of ratification of the illegal acts found by the jury through failure to investigate and determine and punish the individual officers concerned, thus ratifying their acts. The third issue concerns whether, as found below, Wayne County could be held to be jointly liable with the Sheriff as the unit of local government which finances the Sheriff's Department and/or because the Sheriff makes police policy for the County. In this opinion we answer all three of the questions in the affirmative. Our holding as to County liability is based upon the fact that under the Michigan Constitution, the Sheriff makes police policy for the County.

The facts in this case are dramatic no matter which party is reciting them. Plaintiff was apparently a dope addict. After injecting heroin, he was arrested in a Wayne County park by a deputy sheriff named Swamba. When the deputy ordered him out of the car he was seated in, Marchese reached under the car seat and brought up a gun which he pointed at Deputy Swamba. 1 Swamba dove for the gun and secured it. With the assistance of another deputy named Siemienski who had arrived on the scene and a passing civilian with a golf club, Marchese was seized, handcuffed, and placed in a squad car.

There is no doubt that Marchese was injured to some degree in the encounter with the two deputies (and the civilian who went to their aid) while they were engaged in the initial arrest. We emphasize, however, that the facts, which led to the jury award, do not include those which have just been recited.

The two episodes upon which plaintiff asserts and the jury found liability, are as follows:

Deputies Swamba and Siemienski took Marchese to the Wayne County Sheriff's Department Road Patrol Station on Henry Ruff Road in Westland, Michigan. At the entrance to the station, Marchese was greeted by a group of angry deputies with shouts of "cop killer." Marchese's testimony indicates that he was frightened and, although handcuffed, attempted to flee. He was quickly recaptured and thereafter, he asserts, was beaten by various officers as he was taken into the station house.

Marchese was booked and locked in a cell in the station house. He was allowed to see a lawyer named Mogill.

The second episode occurred that night. Marchese's testimony is that, after he had been locked in a cell at some time close to midnight, a deputy having possession of the key to his cell opened the door and admitted to the cell someone who attacked him, beating him violently with some hard object. His testimony was as follows:

Q Mr. Mogill left; would that be correct?

A Oh, yes. It was later on in the afternoon.

Q What happened next?

A After I was in my cell, I laid down for awhile, just sat there. I was trying

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to figure out what was going on, what was happening to me. Every once in a while I'd just hear laughter and someone yelling at me or taunting me, threatening me.

I laid there until late--until it got dark.

After it started getting dark, I heard the jingle of some keys coming down the hallway.

Q Were you sleeping at that time or had you been at all?

A I was trying to sleep, but I was just laying there.

Q How long had it been dark at that time, approximately?

A A few hours.

Q Would this be late at night, then?

A Yes. It would have been late at night.

Q What was the first thing you heard?

A I just heard the jingling of keys was the first thing I heard. Then I heard my door open.

Q The door to your cell?

A To my cell.

Q Did you hear any voices?

A No. I didn't hear any voices at all.

Q Did you hear any other sound?

A Just the keys and the door opening.

Q Okay. You were alone in your cell at that time?

A That's correct.

Q Okay. What was the next thing that occurred?

A Well, this deputy let somebody into my cell. The guy that he let in just dragged me in off the bench and started hitting me with something in the face, in the chest, started hitting me repeatedly, and I started yelling to find out what was going on.

I thought they didn't know what was happening. This guy just kept hitting me with something in his hand. He didn't say nothing. He kept punching and punching and hitting me with something in his hand and I started yelling, and I heard laughter coming from outside the corridor.

Q What did you do other than yell?

A That's all I could do. My wrists were sore from earlier. I was pretty exhausted from the whole day.

Q Did you resist the beating?

A I resisted as much as I could, which wasn't too much by that time. Whatever he hit me with in the face the first time just took a lot of the fight right out of me.

Q About how long did the beating go on?

A Quite a few minutes.

Q What was the next thing that occurred?

A The deputy came back and took the other person in the cell out of the cell and they both walked away and all I heard was some chuckling.

Q What was your physical condition at that time?

A Exhausted, sore and a lot of pain. My head was throbbing. My wrists were sore. My groin was sore, and I had just--I just about passed out. As a matter of fact, I think I did pass out.

Q Were you bloody at that time, did you notice?

A I didn't notice if I was bloody or not. There was no light. I couldn't see where there--there was no lights on where I was, so I couldn't see anything.

Q So the cell area was completely dark at that time?

A Yes, it was.

Q Okay. You said you passed out?

A Yes, I did.

The testimony presented by defendants concerning Marchese's accusations of being beaten at the entrance to the...

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