Edmond v. Goldsmith, No. IP 98-1400-C-B/S.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of Indiana)
Writing for the CourtBarker
Citation38 F.Supp.2d 1016
PartiesJames EDMOND, Joell Palmer, on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of those similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Stephen GOLDSMITH, in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Unknown Members of the Indianapolis Police Department, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. IP 98-1400-C-B/S.
Decision Date18 November 1998
38 F.Supp.2d 1016
James EDMOND, Joell Palmer, on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Stephen GOLDSMITH, in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Unknown Members of the Indianapolis Police Department, Defendants.
No. IP 98-1400-C-B/S.
United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
November 18, 1998.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Kenneth J. Falk, Indiana Civil Liberties Union, Indianapolis, IN, for plaintiffs.

Thomas Satron, Chief Litigation Counsel, Office of Corporate Counsel, City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, for defendant.

ENTRY GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION AND DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

BARKER, Chief Judge.


This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction in which Plaintiffs seek to enjoin Defendants from conducting drug interdiction checkpoints, and Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification. While we GRANT Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification, we must DENY Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction because the City of Indianapolis' use of drug interdiction checkpoints does not violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I. BACKGROUND1

Since August of 1998, the Indianapolis Police Department (IPD), in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, has conducted at least six drug interdiction checkpoints at various locations in Indianapolis. The primary goal of the checkpoints is to interrupt the flow of illegal narcotics throughout Indianapolis.

The parties have agreed that for purposes of Plaintiffs' request for preliminary injunctive relief, it will be assumed that the checkpoints are being, and would continue to be, conducted in accordance with the IPD's written guidelines.2 Those guidelines are as follows:

DRUG CHECKPOINT CONTACT OFFICER DIRECTIVES BY ORDER OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE

1. Upon approaching vehicle, ask driver for license and registration. Advise the citizen that they are being stopped briefly at a drug checkpoint.

2. Look for signs of impairment, conduct open view examination of vehicle from outside vehicle.

3. If you have articulatable reasons to reasonably believe the person might be armed, you should ask the person to exit the vehicle where a pat-down in conformance to the rule of Terry v. Ohio should be performed in an attempt to locate a weapon.

4. If you have an articulatable reason to reasonably believe the person might be armed, you may also search the passenger compartment of the vehicle for a weapon.

5. A warrantless search of a vehicle is permitted if the person in control of the vehicle gives a valid consent to search. The officer may not overbear the will of the person consenting. A court will look at the totality of the circumstances to determine if the consent was given willingly and

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knowingly. If the person is in custody (beyond being stopped at the checkpoint), then Indiana law requires the person be warned of their right to counsel before giving consent to the police to search.

6. A warrantless search of a vehicle is also permitted if the officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle contains contraband, evidence or fruits of crimes. Probable cause is determined on the basis of whether a reasonable person would believe that seizable objects would be found in the vehicle. An indication from a trained drug detection dog would establish probable cause.

7. A vehicle in police custody which is to be towed may be inventoried pursuant to General Order 9.02. The towing of a vehicle must be "reasonable" before a court will permit an inventory to be conducted.

8. EVERY VEHICLE BEING STOPPED MUST BE EXAMINED IN THE SAME MANNER UNTIL PARTICULARIZED SUSPICION OR PROBABLE CAUSE DEVELOPS. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS! A DRUG DETECTION DOG WILL WALK AROUND AND EXAMINE EVERY VEHICLE STOPPED AT THE CHECKPOINT.

9. THERE WILL BE NO DISCRETION GIVEN TO ANY OFFICER TO STOP ANY VEHICLE OUT OF SEQUENCE. WHEN THE SEQUENCE OF VEHICLES HAVE (sic) BEEN TOTALLY DEALT WITH AND EITHER RELEASED OR SEIZED, THE VERY NEXT SEQUENCE OF VEHICLES WILL BE STOPPED. NO VEHICLES WILL BE PERMITTED TO PASS THE CHECKPOINT BEFORE ANOTHER SEQUENCE IS STOPPED AFTER ALL VEHICLES IN THE CURRENT SEQUENCE HAVE BEEN RELEASED OR SEIZED.

(Stipulation of the Parties, Attachment 1.)

Approximately thirty (30) Indianapolis Police Department officers are present at each checkpoint, along with patrol cars containing mobile date terminals. (Stipulation of the Parties at ¶ 7.) Not every vehicle encountering the checkpoint area is stopped. Rather, prior to the operation of the checkpoint, IPD supervisors determine how many vehicles will be stopped at a time. (Marshall Depew Affidavit at ¶ 3.) The checkpoints are begun by stopping the predetermined number of vehicles. (Id. at ¶ 4.) The rest of the traffic is allowed to proceed with no interruption until the stopped vehicles have all been initially processed and either allowed to proceed or diverted for further processing. (Id.) When the last of the initially stopped vehicles has left, then the next group (of the same predetermined number) of vehicles is stopped for processing. (Id.) These stops continue in this manner, with no discretion in the number of vehicles stopped or which vehicles are stopped. (Id.) "When drivers are stopped, the officers ask for [their driver's] license and [vehicle] registration. If the driver does not possess a valid license and registration, then the information is run through the mobile data terminal in the adjacent police car." (Stipulation of the Parties at ¶ 7.) A typical stop lasts 2 to 3 minutes. (Depew Aff. at ¶ 5.)

II. CLASS CERTIFICATION

Plaintiffs move for class certification for purposes of injunctive and declaratory relief.3 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1) directs district courts to rule on the issue of class certification "as soon as practicable." See Koch v. Stanard, 962

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F.2d 605, 607 (7th Cir.1992). Therefore, a court must resolve such issues before it addresses dispositive motions. See DeBruyne v. Equitable Life Assurance Society, 920 F.2d 457, 463 (7th Cir.1990); Bieneman v. City of Chicago, 838 F.2d 962 (7th Cir.1988); Hickey v. Duffy, 827 F.2d 234 (7th Cir.1987). Although Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is not dispositive, we feel compelled nevertheless to address the class certification question before resolving the issue of preliminary injunctive relief.4

The parties stipulate to a certification of the Plaintiffs' class, as follows:

any and all persons driving vehicles who have been stopped or [are] subject to being stopped in the future at the drug interdiction roadblocks maintained by the City of Indianapolis in an attempt to interdict and curtail unlawful drugs and unlawful drug use.

(Stipulation to Certify Cause as a Class Action.)

Although the parties stipulate to the certification, the court has a duty to evaluate independently the proposed class to ensure its compliance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 23. See Retired Chicago Police Assn. v. City of Chicago, 7 F.3d 584, 599 (7th Cir. 1993). Rule 23(a) sets forth the general prerequisites to a class action:

One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

In this case, Plaintiffs clearly meet these threshold requirements. First, the class probably exceeds one half million members and continues to grow each day, rendering joinder of all members of the class impracticable. Second, the legal issues surrounding the roadblocks are largely the same, with the principal dispute being their constitutionality. Third, the claims of the representative parties are typical of the claims of the class. Finally, the party representatives appear committed to this cause and their counsel is a very capable and skilled attorney, with extensive experience in similar matters.

Rule 23(b) contains additional requirements for class actions. First, separate actions must create a risk of inconsistent adjudications or adjudications that would be dispositive of the interest of other members not parties. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(1). Second, "the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole." See Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(2).5

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Both of these requirements are also easily satisfied here. Separate adjudications on this issue would certainly create the risk of inconsistent rulings, in addition to potentially disposing of the issue of the checkpoints' constitutionality without the involvement of all class members. Further, Defendants' actions impact all the proposed class members as a group, thereby making injunctive relief appropriate. Accordingly, we find that Plaintiffs satisfy all the conditions for a Rule 23(b)(2) class action, and we thus CERTIFY Plaintiffs' class.

III. PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

We now turn to the heart of this dispute — Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction. When evaluating a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, we must determine whether the party seeking relief has demonstrated that: (1) there is a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of its claim; (2) no adequate remedy at law exists; (3) irreparable harm will result if preliminary injunctive relief is denied; (4) the irreparable harm suffered without preliminary injunctive relief outweighs the irreparable harm the nonmoving...

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3 practice notes
  • City of Indianapolis v Edmond, 991030
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 28, 2000
    ...motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the checkpoint program did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (1998). A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the checkpoints contravened th......
  • Mills v. District of Columbia, Civil No. 08-1061 (RJL).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • October 30, 2008
    ...time. 11. Plaintiffs also argue that a similar factual predicate exists here as did before the district court in Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F.Supp.2d 1016 (S.D.Ind.1998), under which the Supreme Court eventually held the City of Indianapolis' drug interdiction checkpoints unconstitutional. Edm......
  • CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS ET AL. v. EDMOND ET AL.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 28, 2000
    ...motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the checkpoint program did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (1998). A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the checkpoints contravened th......
3 cases
  • City of Indianapolis v Edmond, 991030
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 28, 2000
    ...motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the checkpoint program did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (1998). A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the checkpoints contravened th......
  • Mills v. District of Columbia, Civil No. 08-1061 (RJL).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • October 30, 2008
    ...time. 11. Plaintiffs also argue that a similar factual predicate exists here as did before the district court in Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F.Supp.2d 1016 (S.D.Ind.1998), under which the Supreme Court eventually held the City of Indianapolis' drug interdiction checkpoints unconstitutional. Edm......
  • CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS ET AL. v. EDMOND ET AL.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 28, 2000
    ...motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the checkpoint program did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Edmond v. Goldsmith, 38 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (1998). A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the checkpoints contravened th......

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