Decision Date03 January 2014
Docket NumberCase No. 10–cv–1019
Citation7 F.Supp.3d 805
PartiesAlan Beaman, Plaintiff, v. James Souk, Charles Reynard, Tim Freesmeyer, Rob Hospelhorn, Dave Warner, John Brown, Frank Zayas, McLean County Illinois, and Town of Normal Illinois, Defendants.
CourtNew York District Court


Motion granted. Jeffrey Urdangen, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Locke E. Bowman, David M. Shapiro, Alexa Van Brunt, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Thomas G. Dicianni, Lucy B. Bednarek, Ancel Glink Diamond Bush Dicianni & Krafthefer PC, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

JOE BILLY McDADE, United States Senior District Judge

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 109), filed by Defendants Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner, Frank Zayas, and Town of Normal, Illinois.1 Plaintiff has filed a Response (Doc. 127), and Defendants filed a Reply (Doc. 134). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion is granted.

Procedural History

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on January 26, 2010, containing allegations of various legal wrongs in connection with Plaintiff's recently-overturned 1995 conviction for the murder of Jennifer Lockmiller. Plaintiff raised both federal and state law claims against prosecutors, police officers, and two municipalities for their roles in the investigation and prosecution. Defendants' initial Motions to Dismiss were granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 48). Count I, a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to disclose exculpatory information, was dismissed as to Defendants Souk and Reynard on the basis of immunity, and the Court limited this count as to other Defendants in that Plaintiff could not claim that evidence of certain “bypass route” time trials, discussed in more detail below, was exculpatory evidence whose nondisclosure violated his rights. (Doc. 48 at 30). Plaintiff's respondeat superior claim against McLean County was also dismissed. (Doc. 48 at 30). The Court also dismissed other claims, but without prejudice, and Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 48 at 30–31). Plaintiff then filed his Amended Complaint (Doc. 50), and Defendants' second Motion to Dismiss was denied. (Doc. 68). However, two additional counts were dismissed as to Defendants Souk and Reynard, and the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint to remove previously dismissed claims for clarity. (Doc. 68 at 30).

Subsequently, Defendants Souk and Reynard were dismissed entirely from the case pursuant to an agreed motion. (Docket entries dated July 12, 2013). Defendants John Brown, Rob Hospelhorn, and McLean County, Illinois, were also dismissed pursuant to a voluntary dismissal. (Docket entries dated Aug. 27, 2013). Thus, only police officers Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner, and Frank Zayas, as well as their employer, the Town of Normal, Illinois, remain as Defendants in this case.2

The operative pleading, the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 69), raises eight claims. Count I is a claim brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that Defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by withholding exculpatory information from him, in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). Count II is a conspiracy claim, alleging that Defendants and others conspired to conceal the information, and Count III alleges liability for failure to intervene to correct these constitutional violations. Count IV is a state law malicious prosecution claim, Count V alleges a state law civil conspiracy claim, and Count VI states a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under state law. Each of these six claims is stated against the three remaining individual Defendants, Freesmeyer, Warner, and Zayas. Against the Town of Normal, Plaintiff alleges respondeat superior liability in Count VII, and state law indemnification of the officers' liability in Count VIII.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment shall be granted where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d 365, 368 (7th Cir.2009). All inferences drawn from the facts must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v. Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir.2011).

To survive summary judgment, the “nonmovant must show through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact remains on issues on which he bears the burden of proof at trial.” Warsco v. Preferred Technical Grp., 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir.2001) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). If the evidence on record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th Cir.1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249–50, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

Factual Background 3

Jennifer Lockmiller was found dead in her apartment in Normal, Illinois, on August 28, 1993. Lockmiller had been strangled with an alarm clock cord and stabbed in the chest with scissors. Strangulation was determined to be the cause of death. She and Plaintiff Alan Beaman had both been students at Illinois State University, and had been romantically involved in the past. After an investigation, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with murder. Plaintiff was convicted of this high-profile murder on April 1, 1995.

After his conviction, Plaintiff was sentenced to fifty years in prison. However, in 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court vacated Plaintiff's conviction on the basis of due process violations under Brady, because evidence concerning an alternative suspect, identified only as John Doe in the opinion but now identified as Larbi John Murray, was not disclosed to Plaintiff. People v. Beaman, 229 Ill.2d 56, 321 Ill.Dec. 778, 890 N.E.2d 500 (Ill.2008). Recently, on April 29, 2013, the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial District in Bloomington, Illinois awarded Plaintiff a Certificate of Innocence under a state law provision. Plaintiff now raises claims against certain individuals involved in the investigation and prosecution, alleging violations of his constitutional rights and state tort law.

Investigation Team

The primary investigators of the Lockmiller murder were officers of the Town of Normal Police Department (NPD), particularly those officers involved in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID).

Defendant Tim Freesmeyer was a detective in the CID during the investigation. He was the principal detective initially responsible for investigating Plaintiff. As early as October or November 1993, he took on a leadership role with the murder investigation, and eventually was the principal investigator for the entire case.

Defendant Dave Warner of the NPD worked as an evidence custodian during the investigation. This entailed preparing paperwork and taking evidence to and from the lab. He was also responsible for investigating one of the other suspects that was initially considered, Stacey “Bubba” Gates.

Defendant Frank Zayas was the lieutenant in charge of the CID during the investigation, until his retirement in November 1994.4 In this role, he supervised the detectives working on the case. One of his duties was ensuring the State's Attorneys' Office (SAO) received investigatory documents. He typically fulfilled this duty by giving documents to the NPD records section to be placed in the central file, and the records section would then send a copy to the SAO. This included documents such as police reports, polygraph reports, interview transcripts, and working files.

Tony Daniels, not a party to this lawsuit, was also a detective in the CID during the investigation, taking over as head of the CID after Zayas retired in November 1994. Daniels was initially the principal investigator for the murder, but he was removed and replaced by Freesmeyer as early as October or November 1993. Rob Hospelhorn, who has been dismissed as a Defendant, worked as a detective in the CID with Freesmeyer for a short time during the investigation. He was not involved in the investigation after early October 1993.

Charles Reynard was the elected State's Attorney for McLean County at the time of the investigation and prosecution. James Souk was the Chief of the Felony Division in the SAO and was the lead prosecutor of Plaintiff's criminal case. John Brown was an employee of McLean County and assisted the SAO with the investigation.

Investigative Process

The investigators collaborated in their efforts, and met periodically to discuss the investigation. Reports show at least nine investigators' meetings were held during the course of the investigation, the purpose of which, according to officers, was to share information and assignments and discuss progress. Additionally, most of the detectives worked in cubicles, which allowed for communication and information sharing. Officers were required to read reports from other officers to stay informed of the investigation.

Prosecutor Souk attended at least five of the investigators' meetings, including a four-and-a-half hour meeting the day after the body was found. There was “constant contact” between the investigators and prosecutors, with a “high level of collaboration,” and Freesmeyer and Souk consulted frequently prior to charging Plaintiff with the murder. (Doc. 133 at 52). Further, the State's Attorneys provided feedback on police reports. As described by Defendant Freesmeyer in deposition testimony, Souk had...

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