Beaman v. Freesmeyer, 4-16-0527

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation442 Ill.Dec. 848,2019 IL App (4th) 160527,160 N.E.3d 1028
Docket NumberNO. 4-16-0527,4-16-0527
Parties Alan BEAMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Tim FREESMEYER, Former Normal Police Detective; Dave Warner, Former Normal Police Detective; Frank Zayas, Former Normal Police Lieutenant; and the Town of Normal, Illinois, Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date17 December 2019

2019 IL App (4th) 160527
160 N.E.3d 1028
442 Ill.Dec.

Alan BEAMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Tim FREESMEYER, Former Normal Police Detective; Dave Warner, Former Normal Police Detective; Frank Zayas, Former Normal Police Lieutenant; and the Town of Normal, Illinois, Defendants-Appellees.

NO. 4-16-0527

Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District.

FILED December 17, 2019

David M. Shapiro and Locke E. Bowman, of Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, and Jeffrey Urdangen, of Bluhm Legal Clinic, both of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, of Chicago, for appellant.

Thomas G. DiCianni, of Ancel Glink P.C., of Chicago, for appellees.

Arthur Loevy, Jon Loevy, Steven Art, and Alison R. Leff, of Loevy & Loevy, of Chicago, for amici curiae former prosecutors Stuart Chanen et al.

Tamara L. Cummings, of Western Springs, Bruce Bialorucki, of Springfield, Dan Hassinger, of Decatur, and Pasquale A. Fioretto, of Baum Sigman Auerbach & Neuman, Ltd., of Chicago, for amici curiae Illinois FOP Labor Council et al.

Mark A. Flessner, Corporation Counsel, of Chicago (Benna Ruth Solomon, Myriam Zreczny Kasper, and Elizabeth Mary Tisher, Assistant Corporation Counsel, of counsel), for amici curiae City of Chicago et al.

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

160 N.E.3d 1032
442 Ill.Dec. 852

¶ 1 In 2008, the Supreme Court of Illinois overturned plaintiff's conviction for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Lockmiller, upon concluding the State violated his right to due process when it failed to disclose material and exculpatory information about an alternative suspect. People v. Beaman , 229 Ill. 2d 56, 321 Ill.Dec. 778, 890 N.E.2d 500 (2008). In April 2014, plaintiff initiated this action, alleging defendants, Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner, and Frank Zayas, former officers in the Normal Police Department, acted maliciously in investigating him and in aiding in his prosecution. Plaintiff asserted claims of malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy. Plaintiff requested damages from defendant, the Town of Normal, on theories of respondeat superior and indemnification.

¶ 2 In June 2016, the trial court, finding no genuine issue of material fact as to plaintiff's claims of malicious prosecution, granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed, arguing, in part, a reasonable jury could find in his favor on each of the elements of its malicious-prosecution claim. We affirmed, concluding the trial court properly found no genuine issue of material fact existed on the first element of malicious prosecution—the commencement or continuance of an original criminal or civil judicial proceeding by the defendants.

¶ 3 In February 2019, the Supreme Court of Illinois reversed our decision. The court concluded our review of the aforementioned element was improperly limited. The court remanded, directing this court to determine "whether the defendants' conduct or actions proximately caused the commencement or continuance of the original criminal proceeding by determining whether defendants played a significant role in [plaintiff's] prosecution." Beaman v. Freesmeyer , 2019 IL 122654, ¶ 47, 433 Ill.Dec. 130, 131 N.E.3d 488.

¶ 4 On remand, we have considered the "significant role" test as set forth in Beaman , 2019 IL 122654, ¶ 45, 433 Ill.Dec. 130, 131 N.E.3d 488, and affirm the summary judgment order.


¶ 6 Before summarizing the facts of this case, we note both sides of this dispute have hindered this court's ability to verify the facts set forth in the briefs. The parties, defendants more so, repeatedly failed to provide specific cites to the record to support their claims, thereby asking this court to perform appellate counsels' briefing

160 N.E.3d 1033
442 Ill.Dec. 853

duties. See Ill. S. Ct. R. 341(h)(6) (eff. May 25, 2018) (requiring the statement of facts contain "appropriate reference to the pages of the record on appeal"); see also Maun v. Department of Professional Regulation , 299 Ill. App. 3d 388, 399, 233 Ill.Dec. 726, 701 N.E.2d 791, 799 (1998) ("Strict adherence to the requirement of citing relevant pages of the record is necessary to expedite and facilitate the administration of justice."). In the appellee brief, defendants routinely cited the first page of a deposition, instead of the page on which the support for the alleged fact may be found. By doing so, defendants ask this court to review hundreds of pages of deposition testimony to find the one or two pages containing specific facts in support of their defense. Both sides cited their statements of material facts filed in the trial court without providing citations to the appellate record for this court to verify those facts.

¶ 7 In addition, plaintiff's statement of facts is rife with argument and conclusions in violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 341(h)(6) (eff. May 25, 2018) ("Statement of Facts * * * shall contain the facts necessary to an understanding of the case, stated accurately and fairly without argument or comment * * *."). For example, headings in plaintiff's statement of facts include "Freesmeyer Delivers the Indictment and Conviction," "Defendants Ignore a Witness who Exonerates Beaman," and "Warner Hides Evidence."

¶ 8 In our attempt to summarize the evidence in this case, we rely primarily on the facts provided in the published cases on this matter. We also include facts that are readily verifiable, but we have not fulfilled appellate counsels' duties by using judicial resources to search the voluminous record to find support for every alleged fact.

¶ 9 A. Lockmiller's Murder and the Investigation

¶ 10 On August 28, 1993, the body of Lockmiller, a 21-year-old student at Illinois State University, was found in her Normal, Illinois, apartment. Lockmiller's shirt was pulled up, exposing her breasts. Her shorts and underwear were down around one of her legs. The electrical cord of an alarm clock was around Lockmiller's throat. A pair of scissors protruded from her chest. A box fan had been placed over Lockmiller's face. A bag of trash, which may have been taken from a trash can, was found on the living room sofa. The kitchen sink was filled with dirty dishes. The book bags and purse found on a table appeared closed and undisturbed. The wallet contained $17.71 in cash. Both the air conditioner and television were on. The apartment showed no signs of forced entry. Lockmiller died from ligature strangulation with the cord of the alarm clock. The investigators found no one who had seen Lockmiller alive after her class ended at 11:50 a.m. on August 25, 1993.

¶ 11 A number of police officers from the Town of Normal Police Department (NPD) were involved in the investigation. These officers included defendants: Freesmeyer, a detective, Warner, a detective, and Zayas, a lieutenant. Early in the investigation, starting in October or November 1993, Freesmeyer served as the principal detective on the investigation. Warner's role included serving as an evidence custodian and investigating one of the suspects, Stacey Gates. Zayas supervised the detectives who worked on the investigation until he retired in November 1994. Other individuals involved in the investigation included Charles Reynard, the McLean County State's Attorney, and James Souk, assistant state's attorney. Souk acted as the lead prosecutor in plaintiff's criminal case.

160 N.E.3d 1034
442 Ill.Dec. 854

¶ 12 Police officers focused the investigation on plaintiff early in the case. Lockmiller's body was found by her friend, Morgan Keefe (now Hartman). Hartman attempted to contact Lockmiller for several days. Hartman went to Lockmiller's apartment. She called the police upon finding her body. Hartman told the police she knew "who did it." Hartman reported Lockmiller was afraid of plaintiff. She heard Lockmiller "say over and over and over again that she was afraid" of him. Lockmiller also reported to Hartman that plaintiff had broken down her door and threatened suicide if she broke up with him. Hartman "was aware" plaintiff "was possessive." Hartman stated Lockmiller usually kept her apartment tidy.

¶ 13 While investigating plaintiff, the officers learned plaintiff, a student at Illinois Wesleyan University, was residing with his parents in Rockford, Illinois, at the time of Lockmiller's murder. Rockford is approximately two hours from Normal by car. Detectives learned plaintiff occasionally sang and played guitar and saxophone for his church youth group while home from college. He was scheduled to rehearse on Wednesday, August 25, 1993, for the performance the following Sunday. Plaintiff and the youth pastor arranged that time as plaintiff's "parents were coming in."

¶ 14 Officers garnered information regarding plaintiff's and Lockmiller's relationship. Plaintiff and Lockmiller began a tumultuous relationship in July 1992. The two broke up and rekindled the relationship 17 to 18 times. The relationship ended about one month before the murder. Detectives learned of a history of loud arguments. One argument ended when...

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1 cases
  • Beaman v. Freesmeyer, Docket No. 125617
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • July 29, 2021
    ...the appellate court again affirmed the circuit court's entry of summary judgment for defendants. 2019 IL App (4th) 160527, ¶ 130, 442 Ill.Dec. 848, 160 N.E.3d 1028. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the appellate court's judgment and remand the cause to the circuit court for further p......

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