94 F.3d 1052 (7th Cir. 1996), 95-3688, Booker v. Ward

Docket Nº:95-3688.
Citation:94 F.3d 1052
Party Name:Charles BOOKER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. James WARD and Thomas Kelly, Chicago Police Detectives, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:August 29, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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94 F.3d 1052 (7th Cir. 1996)

Charles BOOKER, Plaintiff-Appellant,


James WARD and Thomas Kelly, Chicago Police Detectives,


No. 95-3688.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 29, 1996

Argued June 6, 1996.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Cecile Singer, Kenneth N. Flaxman (argued), Chicago, IL, H. Patrick Morris, Kevin J. Greenwood, Paul A. Tanzillo, Johnson & Bell, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Kelly R. Welsh, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL, Lawrence Rosenthal, John F. McGuire, Thaddeus Machnik, Benna R. Solomon, Patricia J. Kendall (argued), Susan S. Sher, Michael P. Monahan, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Appeals Division, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before BAUER, ROVNER, and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Circuit Judge.

On August 7, 1987, the defendants arrested Charles Booker for the murder of his fiancee, Lucy Williams. Booker confessed shortly after his arrest, and a jury convicted him of first degree murder. The Illinois Appellate Court found that probable cause did not exist to arrest Booker, reversed the conviction, and remanded the case for a hearing on the admissibility of Booker's confession. People v. Booker, 209 Ill.App.3d 384, 393, 395, 154 Ill.Dec. 211, 218, 219, 568 N.E.2d 211, 218, 219 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.1991) ("Booker I "). After the trial court found the confession sufficiently attenuated from the arrest to be admissible, the Appellate Court again reversed, holding that Booker's confession was the product of an unlawful arrest. People v. Booker, No. 92-0956, unpublished (Ill.App. 1 Dist.1994). The trial court then dismissed the charges upon the prosecution's motion for a nolle prosequi order.

Despite his confession, in August 1990 Booker filed an unlawful arrest claim in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages from Chicago Police Detectives Thomas Kelly and James Ward for his allegedly unlawful arrest and imprisonment "for crimes these defendants know plaintiff did not commit." In February 1992, the district court dismissed the case with leave to reinstate within 60 days after disposition of the state court proceedings. The court reinstated the case in November 1994. In February 1995, Booker filed his amended complaint naming Owens and Lewis as defendants in his unlawful arrest claim. 1 The district court granted Owens' and Lewis' motion to dismiss because Booker had not added them as defendants within the two-year statutory limitations period for § 1983 claims. The district court also granted Kelly's and Ward's motion for summary judgment, holding that probable cause existed for them to arrest Booker and that even if it did not, they were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. We affirm.


On the morning of August 7, 1987, Lucy Williams' partially clothed body was discovered in a parking lot behind her apartment building. She had been bludgeoned to death between 4:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., the time she usually left for work. Williams' pants and underpants lay around her ankles. A rubber floor mat from Williams' car covered her groin area. Williams had no bruises in her genital area, nor was any semen found.

Kelly and Ward arrived at the scene at 8:45 a.m. Based on their experience and the physical evidence, the detectives concluded that the killer likely knew Williams. The "overkill" evident from the numerous head wounds, and the lack of bruising and semen in the genital area, indicated that the attack was not a sexual assault, but instead was an act of rage against Williams. A random killer likely would not have placed the car mat over Williams' groin to prevent the exposure of her genital area. A piece of metal protruding from the flat front left tire of Williams' car indicated that the killer may have planned the attack and wished to prevent Williams from leaving the area. This

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evidence of premeditation suggested that the killer knew Williams' work schedule.

Ward and Kelly interviewed a number of people at the crime scene. Williams' son Curtis told the detectives that his mother had returned from a date the previous evening between 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Curtis last saw his mother alone in her bed at around 10:30 p.m. A neighbor told Ward and Kelly that she heard a scream between 4:00 and 4:30 that morning, the time Williams usually left for work.

That morning, Booker received a telephone call at about 8:30 a.m. from a person at Williams' workplace inquiring about her absence. Booker telephoned Williams' apartment and "learned" she had been killed. Booker then went to her apartment, where he met Detectives Lewis and Owens. Owens contacted Kelly, who requested that Owens ask Booker if he voluntarily would accompany Owens and Lewis to the Area One headquarters to help with the investigation. Booker agreed, saying that he wanted to help in any way he could.

On the way to the station, they stopped for soft drinks and cigarettes. The three men arrived at the station between 11:30 a.m. and...

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