Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., No. 04-3830.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtRiley
Citation447 F.3d 569
PartiesEllen Maria REASONOVER; Charmelle Bufford, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, Defendant/Appellee, City of St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis Police Department, Defendants, St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, and individual members of the board, Defendants/Appellees, Homer Sayad, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Charles Valier, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Robert Wintersmith, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Thomas Purcell, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Vince Schoemehl, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board, Defendants, Maurice Nutt, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Edward Roth, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Mark Smith, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Leslie Bond, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Francis Slay, in his official capacity as member of the Board, Defendants/Appellees, City of Dellwood, Missouri, Defendant, City of Jennings, Missouri, Defendant/Appellee, Daniel Chapman, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Dellwood, Missouri, Defendant, Dennis Welling, individually and in his official capacity as a police office for the County of St. Louis, Missouri; James Eichelberger, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis; Frank Banaszek, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis, Missouri; Kenneth Tillman, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis, Missouri; Richard Needham, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Jennings, Missouri; Robert Pruett, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Florissant, Missouri, Defendants/Appellees, David Doctor, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the County of St. Louis, Missouri, Defendant, Steven Goldman, individually and in his official capacity as a prosecutor for the County of St. Louis; John Tek Lum, individually, Defendants/Appellees.
Decision Date08 May 2006
Docket NumberNo. 04-3830.
447 F.3d 569
Ellen Maria REASONOVER; Charmelle Bufford, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, Defendant/Appellee,
City of St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis Police Department, Defendants,
St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, and individual members of the board, Defendants/Appellees,
Homer Sayad, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Charles Valier, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Robert Wintersmith, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Thomas Purcell, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Vince Schoemehl, individually and in his official capacity as a member of the Board, Defendants,

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Maurice Nutt, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Edward Roth, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Mark Smith, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Leslie Bond, in his official capacity as a member of the Board; Francis Slay, in his official capacity as member of the Board, Defendants/Appellees,
City of Dellwood, Missouri, Defendant,
City of Jennings, Missouri, Defendant/Appellee,
Daniel Chapman, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Dellwood, Missouri, Defendant,
Dennis Welling, individually and in his official capacity as a police office for the County of St. Louis, Missouri; James Eichelberger, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis; Frank Banaszek, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis, Missouri; Kenneth Tillman, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of St. Louis, Missouri; Richard Needham, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Jennings, Missouri; Robert Pruett, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Florissant, Missouri, Defendants/Appellees,
David Doctor, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the County of St. Louis, Missouri, Defendant,
Steven Goldman, individually and in his official capacity as a prosecutor for the County of St. Louis; John Tek Lum, individually, Defendants/Appellees.
No. 04-3830.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: October 10, 2005.
Filed: May 8, 2006.

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Cheryl Pilate, argued, Kansas City, MO, for appellant.

Christopher J. McCarthy, argued, Clayton, MO, for Appellees Goldman, Welling and St. Louis City.

John M. Roodhouse, Asst. Attorney General, argued, Jefferson City, MO, for Appellee St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.

Thomas J. Magee, argued, St. Louis, MO, for Appellees Needham and City of Jennings.

John M. Hessel, argued, St. Louis, MO, for Appellee Pruett.

Kevin F. O'Malley, argued, St. Louis, MO, for Appellee Tek Lum.

Before RILEY, HANSEN, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.

RILEY, Circuit Judge.


Ellen Maria Reasonover (Reasonover) was convicted in 1983 of killing James Buckley (Buckley). Reasonover served over 16 years in prison, and was released in 1999 after her petition for writ of habeas corpus was granted. The habeas court found, in light of new evidence discovered and disclosed after Reasonover's conviction, it was more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have found Reasonover guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonover v. Washington, 60 F.Supp.2d 937 (E.D.Mo.1999). Reasonover and her daughter, Charmelle Bufford (Bufford), now bring an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Missouri state law against many of the individuals and municipalities responsible for her conviction and incarceration. Their claims include (1) a section 1983 claim for malicious prosecution, false arrest, use of unreliable and fraudulent

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investigatory techniques, procurement of unreliable and fabricated evidence, and wrongful conviction and imprisonment; (2) a section 1983 claim for conspiracy; (3) a section 1983 claim for suppression of exculpatory evidence; (4) section 1983 claims against municipalities and counties for failure to train police officers; (5) a section 1983 claim for deprivation of associational rights and loss of family privacy; (6) a claim under Missouri state law for negligence resulting in wrongful incarceration and continued detention; (7) a state law claim for false arrest; (8) a state law claim for malicious prosecution; and (9) a state law claim for abuse of process. The district court1 granted all of the defendants' separate motions for summary judgment, and Reasonover and Bufford appeal. We affirm the district court.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 2, 1983, Buckley was shot to death at the Vickers gas station in Dellwood, Missouri, a northwest suburb of St. Louis. The City of Dellwood requested the assistance of the St. Louis Major Case Squad (MCS), which was operated as a consortium by a group of local police departments. The MCS assigned to the investigation more than two dozen officers from several police departments in the area, including the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, the City of Dellwood, and the City of Jennings, and then appointed as commander Dellwood Police Department Captain Dan Chapman (Captain Chapman).

The MCS publicly encouraged persons with information to come forward. On January 3, 1983, Reasonover, using a false name, contacted the police claiming she had been at the Vickers station around the time of the murder. The next day Reasonover spoke to Captain Chapman. Reasonover told him she had seen a car leaving the station, and she had seen a black man in the cashier's cage at the station. When she approached the cage, the black man took off his cap and went into the main part of the station. Reasonover also saw another light-complected black man at the station, and a third person sitting in the back seat of a car parked at the side of the building. The man from the cage got into the car and the car left the parking lot. Reasonover went to a nearby 7-Eleven store where again she saw the three men as she was exiting the store.

Reasonover agreed to come to the police station where she revealed her true identity. The police showed Reasonover about 250 photographs of black males, and she identified two men-Isaac Scott (Scott) and Herman Staples (Staples)-as the men she saw at the Vickers station. In a live lineup she identified Staples, but not Scott. The police later learned both Scott and Staples were in jail at the time of the murder. The police also discovered Reasonover had recently complained to the police about an ex-boyfriend, Stanley White (White), who had broken out her car windows, then driven away in a vehicle similar in description to the one she described as being at the Vickers station. The incident took place only a few days before the murder.

When police told Reasonover the men she identified could not have committed the murder, Reasonover agreed to try to get the name of the third man, whom she thought she and her friend had seen at parties. Reasonover called the police and

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identified the man as Willie Love (Love), and she later picked Love out of a lineup.

On January 6, the police arrested White. During his interview with the police, and on the Reasonover-White Tape, see infra, White stated he was with the Weston family the night Buckley was killed. Police officer Robert Pruett (Officer Pruett) interviewed the Westons, and wrote a report stating the Westons said they had not seen White for more than a week before the murder. Later, during Reasonover's habeas proceedings, two of the Westons stated Officer Pruett's report was incorrect.

On January 7, the police arrested Reasonover. Officers Frank Banaszek (Officer Banaszek) and Dennis Welling (Officer Welling) questioned Reasonover regarding her complaint about White and her activities from December 31, 1982, to January 3, 1983. Officer Banaszek's report of the interview stated Reasonover repeated a sequence of events at least six times, but only once mentioned she had been at the Vickers station on January 2. Reasonover now claims this report is false because it fails to include her numerous denials of involvement in Buckley's murder.

The police placed Reasonover in a cell next to White in the Dellwood jail. Reasonover and White could hear but not see each other. Reasonover and White engaged in what they thought was a fifty-six-minute private conversation, but the police had planted a recording device in the area between their cells. The taped conversation (Reasonover-White Tape), as Reasonover accurately states in her brief, "reflected that Reasonover and White were bewildered by their arrests, knew nothing about the crime, and were confident they would soon be released because police would realize they had made a mistake."

The Reasonover-White Tape was not transcribed, logged, or made the subject of any police report, and no officer has admitted making the recording or accepted responsibility for the tape. The state's prosecutor, Steve Goldman (Goldman), later admitted (1) he did not disclose the tape to Reasonover's counsel, claiming he did not know it was in existence after Reasonover was charged because police officers told him the conversation had been taped over; and (2) officers told him the tape contained nothing of substance. Also later, Officer Welling said he and several other officers listened to the tape. Officer Welling described the tape as a "wash," so he did not document the tape in a report. Detective James Eichelberger's (Detective Eichelberger) name and the date 1-7-83 appeared on the tape's label on the side of the Reasonover-White conversation. On the opposite side was recorded an interview with another witness, Valerie Clark, on January 9, 1983. On that side of the label were the names of Detective Kenneth Tillman...

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361 practice notes
  • Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa, No. C07-2066.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 27, 2008
    ...Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. "`Evidence, not contentions, avoids summary judgment.'" Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., 447 F.3d 569, 578 (8th Cir.2006) (quoting Mayer v. Nextel W. Corp., 318 F.3d 803, 809 (8th VI. DISCUSSION A. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgmen......
  • Green v. State , No. 4:06CV1667RWS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • August 17, 2010
    ...City of Omaha Employees Betterment Ass'n v. City of Omaha, 883 F.2d 650, 652 (8th Cir.1989); Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Missouri, 447 F.3d 569, 582 (8th Cir.2006). While those allegations may include circumstantial evidence, Green must point "to at least some facts that would suggest t......
  • Miller v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 19-2536
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 26, 2020
    ...because it took reasonable care to comply with the regulation. We need not address these issues. See Reasonover v. St. Louis Cty. , 447 F.3d 569, 578–79 (8th Cir. 2006) ("We may affirm summary judgment for any reason supported by the record, even if it differs from the rationale of the dist......
  • Watson v. United States, Case No. 4:20-cv-1729-PLC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • April 9, 2021
    ...do not save his claims. See id. at 427-28 (there is no fraud exception to prosecutorial immunity); Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., 447 F.3d 569, 580 (8th Cir. 2006) (A prosecutor is immune from suit even if she knowingly presents false, misleading, or perjured testimony, or withholds o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
361 cases
  • Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa, No. C07-2066.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 27, 2008
    ...Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. "`Evidence, not contentions, avoids summary judgment.'" Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., 447 F.3d 569, 578 (8th Cir.2006) (quoting Mayer v. Nextel W. Corp., 318 F.3d 803, 809 (8th VI. DISCUSSION A. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgmen......
  • Green v. State , No. 4:06CV1667RWS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • August 17, 2010
    ...City of Omaha Employees Betterment Ass'n v. City of Omaha, 883 F.2d 650, 652 (8th Cir.1989); Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Missouri, 447 F.3d 569, 582 (8th Cir.2006). While those allegations may include circumstantial evidence, Green must point "to at least some facts that would suggest t......
  • Miller v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 19-2536
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 26, 2020
    ...because it took reasonable care to comply with the regulation. We need not address these issues. See Reasonover v. St. Louis Cty. , 447 F.3d 569, 578–79 (8th Cir. 2006) ("We may affirm summary judgment for any reason supported by the record, even if it differs from the rationale of the dist......
  • Watson v. United States, Case No. 4:20-cv-1729-PLC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • April 9, 2021
    ...do not save his claims. See id. at 427-28 (there is no fraud exception to prosecutorial immunity); Reasonover v. St. Louis County, Mo., 447 F.3d 569, 580 (8th Cir. 2006) (A prosecutor is immune from suit even if she knowingly presents false, misleading, or perjured testimony, or withholds o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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