822 F.2d 697 (7th Cir. 1987), 86-2015, Patton v. Przybylski

Docket Nº86-2015.
Citation822 F.2d 697
Party NameAlexander PATTON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Raymond PRZYBYLSKI, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case DateJune 17, 1987
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)

Page 697

822 F.2d 697 (7th Cir. 1987)

Alexander PATTON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Raymond PRZYBYLSKI, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 86-2015.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 17, 1987

Argued Jan. 17, 1987.

Page 698

Karen A. Kerbis, Louis B. Garippo, Ltd., Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

James D. Egan, State's Atty. Office, William D. Fraizer, Illinois Atty. Gen. Office, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before WOOD, POSNER, and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

Alexander Patton brought suit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 against the Sheriff of Cook County and three policemen (two of them unknown to Patton), alleging that he had been arrested and jailed in violation of his right under the Fourteenth Amendment to due process of law. The district judge, on the authority of Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 99 S.Ct. 2689, 61 L.Ed.2d 433 (1979), dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). We must therefore take as true the facts stated in the complaint; of course, this doesn't mean they are true.

On June 5, 1984, Judge Crilly of the Circuit Court of Cook County, sitting in Chicago, issued a warrant for the arrest of "Alexander Patton," listing his address as 1534 West Marquette Road in Chicago, his race as black, and his date of birth as June 30, 1959. He is, in fact, a different Alexander Patton from the plaintiff. At 11 p.m. on October 31 defendant Raymond Przybylski, an Illinois state policeman, stopped the plaintiff on a highway in Illinois for an alleged traffic violation. Przybylski made a routine on-the-spot check for any warrants outstanding against the driver. The check turned up the warrant for the other Alexander Patton. The plaintiff is also black, but he had a Wisconsin driver's license which listed his residence as Milwaukee and his date of birth as July 27, 1959.

Przybylski arrested the plaintiff (despite his protest that he was the wrong man) and took him to the nearby police station in Schaumburg (a suburb of Chicago), in Cook County. Przybylski refused to take the plaintiff's fingerprints or photograph for comparison with the person sought in the warrant and also made insulting and racially derogatory remarks to the plaintiff. The plaintiff was held overnight in the jail of the police station. Late the next day, Thursday, 14 hours after his arrival at the station, he was taken by defendant John Doe (an unknown Schaumburg policeman) to the Cook County Jail in Chicago, where he was booked by defendant Richard Roe, an unknown Cook County sheriff's deputy. Not till the following Wednesday, November 7, was the plaintiff taken before a judicial officer (Tuesday was election day and the courts were closed)--Judge Crilly, who as soon as he saw him realized it was the wrong Patton and ordered him released.

Page 699

Patton claims that Przybylski violated his constitutional rights by arresting him and taking him to the Schaumburg police station. He is not specific about what constitutional right of his Przybylski violated, but he is charging constitutional false arrest and the relevant standard is therefore that of the Fourth Amendment. See McKinney v. George, 726 F.2d 1183, 1187 (7th Cir.1984); Olson v. Tyler, 771 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir.1985). The Fourth Amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, and Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25, 69 S.Ct. 1359, 93 L.Ed. 1782 (1949), held the Fourth Amendment applicable to the states by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although an arrest is a deprivation of liberty and could in principle therefore be challenged under the Fourteenth Amendment without reference to the Fourth Amendment, the latter is a more specific regulation of arrests and searches and a plaintiff who cannot make a case under the Fourth Amendment will not be heard if he appeals to the principles of due process instead. "If ... an arrest is upheld when reviewed under the detailed rules that the courts have developed for determining the lawfulness of an arrest under the Fourth Amendment, the arrested person will not succeed in challenging the lawfulness of the arrest by arguing that he should have gotten a hearing before he was arrested, or otherwise by recasting his challenge in the language of due process rather than search and seizure." McKinney v. George, supra, 726 F.2d at 1187. See also Gumz v. Morrissette, 772 F.2d 1395, 1404-05 (7th Cir.1985) (concurring opinion), and cases cited there. The majority in Gumz, it is true, analyzed a claim of excessive force in an arrest as a violation of the due process clause without reference to the standard of the Fourth Amendment. But since the court concluded that there was no violation of the clause, it did not have to decide whether conduct both regulated by the Fourth Amendment and reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment might nevertheless be held to violate due process. See id. at 1399-1400. Another distinction is that a false arrest is squarely within the scope of the Fourth Amendment, while the use of excessive force in making the arrest goes to the manner rather than to the basic propriety of the arrest.

Could Przybylski be found to have acted unreasonably in arresting the plaintiff and taking him to the Schaumburg police station? An affirmative answer is foreclosed not by Baker, as the district court thought, but by our decision in Johnson v. Miller, 680 F.2d 39 (7th Cir.1982). Baker holds that the policeman who executes an apparently valid arrest warrant is not liable merely because probable cause to arrest the person is lacking. The policeman can rely on the warrant--he doesn't have to cross-examine the judicial officer who issued it. In this case, however, the policeman executed the warrant against the wrong person, so Baker is distinguishable. But Johnson isn't. There a policeman executed the warrant against a different person with the same name. The two persons weren't even of the same race--and the plaintiff was rearrested after being released following the first arrest. Nevertheless we upheld dismissal of the complaint, emphasizing the practical dilemma facing a policeman directed to serve an arrest warrant that appears to designate (if imperfectly) the person whom he must decide whether to arrest. "If an officer executing an arrest warrant must do so at peril of damage liability under section 1983 if there is any discrepancy between the description in the warrant and the appearance of the person to be arrested, many a criminal will slip away while the officer anxiously compares the description in the warrant with the appearance of the person named in it and radios back any discrepancies to his headquarters for instructions." 680 F.2d at 41; see also Arnsberg v. United States, 757 F.2d 971, 981 (9th Cir.1985).

The dilemma facing the officer is even more acute in this case than it was in Johnson v. Miller. Patton was in an automobile rather than at home; if Przybylski had let him go it might have taken a long time to catch up with him again (if he was the "real" Patton). Had Przybylski studied the read-out on his car computer carefully,

Page 700

he would have noticed the discrepant address and birth date, but he would also have noticed that not only the name but the race and the year of birth were the same; and the person named in the warrant was a resident of Cook County and the person...

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234 practice notes
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...the plaintiffs contend were beyond the scope of the warrant. The defendants were entitled to rely on the warrant, Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 699 (7th Cir.1987); Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 277 (6th Cir.1989), which means they were required to interpret it. They were not obliged......
  • Parker v. Phelan, 040521 OHNDC, 4:21CV00233
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 5, 2021
    ...Williams v. Bramer, 180 F.3d 699, 706 (5th Cir.), clarified on rehearing, 186 F.3d 633 (5th Cir.1999)); Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 700 (7th Cir.1987); see also McClanahan v. Kelly, N.D.Ohio No. 1:13 CV 1440, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174028, at *11 (Dec. 12, [4......
  • Allen v. Tewalt, 100720 IDDC, 1:20-cv-00287-DCN
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit District of Idaho
    • October 7, 2020
    ...and that he would be sorry if he filed a class action suit were not actionable under § 1983); see Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 700 (7th Cir. 1987) (use of derogatory racial epithets does not violate Fourteenth Amendment); see Shabazz v. Cole, 69 F.Supp.2d 177......
  • Kelly v. Jones, 112415 PAEDC, 14-4317
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 3th Circuit United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • November 24, 2015
    ...shorter detention based on mistaken identity-a seven-day period-to present a possible constitutional violation in Patton v. Przyblski, 822 F.2d 697 (7th Cir. 1987). There, plaintiff had been arrested when a routine warrant check at a traffic stop revealed an outstanding warrant for a suspec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
234 cases
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...the plaintiffs contend were beyond the scope of the warrant. The defendants were entitled to rely on the warrant, Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 699 (7th Cir.1987); Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 277 (6th Cir.1989), which means they were required to interpret it. They were not obliged......
  • Parker v. Phelan, 040521 OHNDC, 4:21CV00233
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 5, 2021
    ...Williams v. Bramer, 180 F.3d 699, 706 (5th Cir.), clarified on rehearing, 186 F.3d 633 (5th Cir.1999)); Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 700 (7th Cir.1987); see also McClanahan v. Kelly, N.D.Ohio No. 1:13 CV 1440, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174028, at *11 (Dec. 12, [4......
  • Allen v. Tewalt, 100720 IDDC, 1:20-cv-00287-DCN
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit District of Idaho
    • October 7, 2020
    ...and that he would be sorry if he filed a class action suit were not actionable under § 1983); see Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 700 (7th Cir. 1987) (use of derogatory racial epithets does not violate Fourteenth Amendment); see Shabazz v. Cole, 69 F.Supp.2d 177......
  • Kelly v. Jones, 112415 PAEDC, 14-4317
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 3th Circuit United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • November 24, 2015
    ...shorter detention based on mistaken identity-a seven-day period-to present a possible constitutional violation in Patton v. Przyblski, 822 F.2d 697 (7th Cir. 1987). There, plaintiff had been arrested when a routine warrant check at a traffic stop revealed an outstanding warrant for a suspec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results