884 F.2d 271 (6th Cir. 1989), 88-1708, Hill v. McIntyre

Docket Nº88-1708.
Citation884 F.2d 271
Party NameEarnestine HILL, Individually, Alicia Hill, Individually, and Earnestine Hill, as Next Friend of Christopher Hill, a Minor, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Robert McINTYRE, Individually, John Ronan, Dennis Barton, Larry Hottum, John Campbell, Robert Feld, Kay Lehman, Kenneth Bluew, Gerald Raycraft, Donna Mistele, Dennis Baaki, Gary Cassity, Robert Kurpie
Case DateSeptember 08, 1989
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 271

884 F.2d 271 (6th Cir. 1989)

Earnestine HILL, Individually, Alicia Hill, Individually,

and Earnestine Hill, as Next Friend of Christopher

Hill, a Minor, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

Robert McINTYRE, Individually, John Ronan, Dennis Barton,

Larry Hottum, John Campbell, Robert Feld, Kay Lehman,

Kenneth Bluew, Gerald Raycraft, Donna Mistele, Dennis Baaki,

Gary Cassity, Robert Kurpiel, and Maxey Lumbard, Police

Officers of the City of Detroit, and City of Detroit, a

Municipal Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 88-1708.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

September 8, 1989

Argued July 24, 1989.

Rehearing Denied Oct. 23, 1989.

Page 272

Thomas B. Calcatera (argued), Bernstein & Bernstein, Southfield, Mich., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Thomas W. Deinek and Joanne D. Stafford (argued), Detroit, Mich., for defendants-appellees.

Before MERRITT and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and BROWN, Senior Circuit Judge.

MERRITT, Circuit Judge.

On September 17, 1985, police officers for the City of Detroit broke into the wrong house and conducted a thorough search for drugs, detaining two minor children who lived there, one of them at gunpoint. This civil litigation arises from that search. Earnestine Hill, acting individually and as next friend of her son Christopher Hill, and Mrs. Hill's daughter Alicia Hill seek damages for a claimed violation of their constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. The defendants are the City of Detroit, Robert McIntyre (the officer who obtained the warrant and who is sued here as an individual), and thirteen officers who conducted the search. On appeal the Hills assert that they were improperly denied the opportunity to litigate various claims under state law. They also appeal from the District Court's ruling granting all of the defendants a directed verdict on all Sec. 1983 claims at the close of the Hill's case in chief.

FACTS

The underlying facts of this case appear to be as follows. Late in the afternoon on September 17, 1985, the Detroit Police Department obtained information that a large quantity of cocaine was stored in a certain home in Detroit from an agent of the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau. The ATF had obtained the information from an unnamed informant in Houston who, in his turn, had obtained it from Johnnie Slaughter. Slaughter was to be the object of a "reverse sting" in Houston that night. Both Slaughter and the informant, the ATF agent informed McIntyre, were familiar with the house to be searched.

The information was, it seems, correctly relayed: the problem of identifying the correct house to search arose not because the information became distorted along this chain of narrators, but because the informant in Houston gave a visual description of the house which turned out to be ambiguous. He was unable to give a precise street address or the last name of any resident of the drug house. He told the ATF agent (1) that the drug house was located south of East Jefferson Street on Philip Street; (2) that its entry door was on the left side of the front facade; that there were (3) four windows (4) to the right of the front door; (5) that the front windows and doors were covered by grates; (6) that the house had three gray pillars; and (7) that it had no garage. He also told the ATF agent that the utility bills were in the name of a black woman named Amy. Hindsight has made it clear to all parties to this litigation that the house identified by the Houston informant was 256 Philip Street--not 258 Philip Street, the Hills' residence.

No one disputes that a mistake was made, though there is some disagreement as to how it was made. Defendant McIntyre drove to Philip Street, identified a house as the one to be searched, and sought a search warrant. Though in his pretrial deposition he stated that the house number entered on his affidavit might have been entered as 258 rather than 256 by a

Page 273

typographical error, he testified at trial that, after the deposition, he drove out to Philip Street with the defendants' attorney and corrected his memory. Tr. IV-389-92. At trial McIntyre testified that, when he swore out the affidavit, he had meant to identify 258 Philip Street (the Hills' residence) as the house to be searched because he believed it was the one that the informant had described. The Hills' residence has its front door to the right, four windows to the left and no window or door grates. At trial he suggested that he identified the Hills' house because he understood the drug informant to have described the house from the perspective of a person standing on the porch looking out to the street: from that point of view, the door was to the left and the windows were to the right. Tr. IV-394-95.

Aside from the wrangle over the orientation of the description, the record indicates that the Hills' residence conforms to the informant's description in that it has three gray pillars and no garage; it differs from it in that it lacks window and door grates. Trial testimony also indicated that the house at 256 Philip Street conformed to the informant's description in that it was south of East Jefferson, and several first-floor windows to the right of the front door, and had grates on the windows; it differed from the description in that it had three rather than four first-floor windows, lacked gray pillars and had a garage.

McIntyre obtained a search warrant by applying in person to a judge of the Michigan District Court. Plaintiff's Exhibit 29; JA II.18. McIntyre's affidavit, incorporated in the warrant, indicated that the ATF agent had called McIntyre from Houston on September 17, 1985 and had passed on information from the confidential agent, whom McIntyre deemed to be reliable. The affidavit recited the general scheme of the "reverse sting" planned for that night in Houston, and stated that Slaughter had told the informant that Slaughter had stashed several kilos of cocaine at "Amy's place on Philip Street" in Detroit. These are the particulars included in the affidavit about the identity of the dope house:

The address on Philip is not to the [confidential informant] [sic ] but the [confidential informant] described the Philip Street location as being south of E. Jefferson, with the entry door on the left side of the front of the dwelling, four windows to the right of the door, grates covering both the windows & doors, three grey pillars at the front of the house, with no garage on the grounds. The affiant went to Philip Street & found that the only house south of E. Jefferson on Philip bore the address of 258 Philip. Further information from [the ATF agent and the confidential informant] is that all utilities & bills to 258 Philip are in the name of a B/F known as "Amy" & that surveillance in Houston, Texas has a B/F identified as Amy in company w/Johnnie Slaughter.

The affidavit went on to say that the sting operation would take place at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and that the Philip Street search must take place about then too for the safety of the Houston officers.

Other officers, by the authority of this warrant, went to the Hills' home on the evening of September 17, 1985. The leader of the search team, Sergeant Ronan, testified that he knocked, announced that he came to search the house pursuant to a warrant, waited briefly for a response, and then broke open the door. He had stated in his deposition that he had heard running after his knock, but on the stand his memory on that point was shaky. Tr. V-504-506. It is undisputed that the only residents home at the time were Christopher Hill, then 11 years of age, and Alicia Hill, then 17 years of age. Alicia Hill testified that she was on her bed reading when she heard a loud noise (which she did not identify as, but which must have been, Ronan's knocking). Tr. II-126-27. Christopher Hill testified that he was asleep in his bedroom and that the officers' entry into his room woke him up. Tr. II-196. Officers told Christopher to stay in his bedroom.

Sergeant Ronan testified that, as soon as he entered the Hills' home, he sensed that it was not a place from which drugs were dealt. Tr. V-501. The search nevertheless

Page 274

continued. An officer commanded Alicia, at the point of a gun, to stand in the dining room. She was handcuffed. Though she was wearing only a sheer nightshirt, there was some delay before a female officer provided her with more clothing. In the meantime, officers broke open numerous packing boxes in the various rooms of the house, spilled out dry goods, poured food on the floor, and generally scared the living daylights out of the two children.

It appears clear that as soon as the officers had completed their search they became convinced that they were not in a drug house and discontinued the search. Alicia Hill testified that, after the officers had searched for some time, she told them that, if they were looking for a drug house, they wanted 256 Philip Street. Tr. II-132. Ronan testified that, as soon as he realized that he had made a mistake, he called off the search. Tr. V-511.

ISSUES ON REVIEW

The District Judge made two separate rulings that are attacked in this appeal. First, he ruled that the complaint involved no state law claims. Second, at the close of the plaintiffs' case in chief, he granted all the defendants a directed verdict on the Sec. 1983 claims. Tr. VI-604, JA 231 (directed verdict for City of Detroit); Tr. VI-617, JA 244 (directed verdict for McIntyre); Tr. VI-628, JA 255 (directed verdict for remaining defendant officers).

DIRECTED VERDICT

This Circuit has clearly enunciated the standard of review to be applied in an appeal from a ruling on a motion for a directed verdict pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a):

The standard to be applied in determining the propriety of a grant or denial of a directed verdict is whether the evidence is such, without...

To continue reading

Request your trial
222 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
    ...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 to interpret it narrowly, and they would have been ......
  • O'Daniel v. Sapp, 061314 KYCA, 2012-CA-001961-MR
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • June 13, 2014
    ...an innocent person is of course patently unconstitutional and has been so long before the defendants arrested Hinchman. Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 275 (6th Cir.1989) ("[O]nly if a false statement was made knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth and if......
  • 749 F.Supp.2d 542 (E.D.Ky. 2010), C. A. 5:02-571, Static Control Components, Inc. v. Lexmark Intern., Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • October 28, 2010
    ..." [o]nly when it is clear that reasonable people could come to but one conclusion from the evidence...." Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 274 (6th Cir.1989) (citation omitted). Clearly, this is a more stringent standard than evaluating whether the verdict was against the weight of ......
  • Bearing false witness: perjured affidavits and the Fourth Amendment.
    • United States
    • Suffolk University Law Review Vol. 41 Nbr. 3, June 2008
    • June 22, 2008
    ...n.1 (2d Cir. 1994) (explaining magistrate must have found probable cause based on truthful information to be valid); Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 275-76 (6th Cir. 1989) (noting jury determines whether false statement determinative in issuance of warrant); see also Clanton v. Cooper, 129 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
219 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
    ...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 to interpret it narrowly, and they would have been ......
  • O'Daniel v. Sapp, 061314 KYCA, 2012-CA-001961-MR
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • June 13, 2014
    ...an innocent person is of course patently unconstitutional and has been so long before the defendants arrested Hinchman. Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 275 (6th Cir.1989) ("[O]nly if a false statement was made knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth and if......
  • 749 F.Supp.2d 542 (E.D.Ky. 2010), C. A. 5:02-571, Static Control Components, Inc. v. Lexmark Intern., Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • October 28, 2010
    ..." [o]nly when it is clear that reasonable people could come to but one conclusion from the evidence...." Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 274 (6th Cir.1989) (citation omitted). Clearly, this is a more stringent standard than evaluating whether the verdict was against the weight of ......
  • Static Control Components, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., 102810 KYEDC, 5:02-571
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • October 28, 2010
    ..."[o]nly when it is clear that reasonable people could come to but one conclusion from the evidence...." Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 274 (6th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). Clearly, this is a more stringent standard than evaluating whether the verdict was against the weight of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Bearing false witness: perjured affidavits and the Fourth Amendment.
    • United States
    • Suffolk University Law Review Vol. 41 Nbr. 3, June 2008
    • June 22, 2008
    ...n.1 (2d Cir. 1994) (explaining magistrate must have found probable cause based on truthful information to be valid); Hill v. McIntyre, 884 F.2d 271, 275-76 (6th Cir. 1989) (noting jury determines whether false statement determinative in issuance of warrant); see also Clanton v. Cooper, 129 ......