Williams v. Liberty, 71-1536.

Citation461 F.2d 325
Decision Date05 May 1972
Docket NumberNo. 71-1536.,71-1536.
PartiesWayne WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Gerald LIBERTY et al., Defendants-Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)

Wayne C. Williams, pro se.

Richard L. Curry, Edmund Hatfield, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees; William R. Quinlan, Asst. Corp. Counsel, of counsel.

Before KNOCH, Senior Circuit Judge, and KILEY and SPRECHER, Circuit Judges.

KILEY, Circuit Judge.

This is a civil rights action1 seeking damages against named and unnamed Chicago police officers growing out of the arrest and detention of plaintiff. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants. We reverse and remand.

The complaint alleges 1) that on December 12, 1969 defendant police officers arrested and handcuffed plaintiff, violently beat him about the face and body, and dragged him from a Chicago tavern; 2) that defendant police officers then took him to the police station where they again physically beat and kicked him; and 3) that defendants illegally detained him at the station for approximately twenty hours without allowing him to post bond upon any charge against him or allowing him to contact an attorney; and that they then caused him to be taken to Bridewell Hospital until the morning of December 14 when he was returned to the police station and again detained for another six hours without being able to post bond or call an attorney.

The complaint states that defendants' alleged official misconduct was under color of their statutory authority and deprived plaintiff of his constitutional rights2 to due process as a citizen.3

Defendants, relying upon the "affidavits4 and documents attached," moved for summary judgment under the doctrine of collateral estoppel. The "documents"5 allegedly pertain to two convictions of plaintiff by a jury on charges of resisting arrest and of subsequent battery against officer Liberty6 at the police station.

The purported court records are not authenticated in any way and the police reports are mere hearsay writings. And a brief in support of defendants' motion for summary judgment contains argument based upon statements from the hearsay reports that plaintiff refused to give his name or information; that he resisted fingerprinting; that he was too intoxicated to respond to attempts to awaken him; and that when he did awake he requested to be taken to the hospital.

The district court relied upon the documents for its determination that plaintiff's three claims of police misconduct were actually determined against him in the prior criminal proceedings, and that accordingly under the doctrine of collateral estoppel plaintiff was barred from relitigating them.

1. The district court found that the issue of excessive force incidental to plaintiff's arrest in the tavern was "necessarily" determined against plaintiff in the jury's finding that he had unlawfully resisted arrest. The court decided that plaintiff was collaterally estopped from relitigating that issue in the civil rights action.

It is established that a prior criminal conviction may work an estoppel in a subsequent civil proceeding. Emich Motors Corp. v. General Motors Corp., 340 U.S. 558, 568-569, 71 S.Ct. 408, 414, 95 L.Ed. 534 (1950); United States v. Wainer, 211 F.2d 669, 671-672 (7th Cir. 1954). The estoppel, however, extends only to questions "distinctly put in issue and directly determined" in the criminal prosecution. Id. In the case of a criminal conviction based on a verdict of guilty, issues which were essential to the verdict must be regarded as having been determined by the judgment. However, where a general verdict does not indicate exactly what matters were adjudicated in the antecedent suit, then the trial judge upon an examination of the record, including the pleadings, the evidence submitted and the jury instructions, should determine what issues were previously decided. 340 U.S. at 568-569, 71 S.Ct. 408, 414, 95 L.Ed. 534.

In the case before us, neither the pleadings, the evidence nor the jury instructions from the prior criminal proceedings were before the district judge. And lacking a certified copy of the transcript we are uninformed as to which of plaintiff's acts furnished the foundation for his convictions of resisting arrest and of battery. Basista v. Weir, 340 F.2d 74, 81-82 (3rd Cir. 1965). Nor can we determine which defenses, if any, were presented or waived. See also People v. Myers, 94 Ill.App.2d 340, 236 N.E.2d 786 (1968).

Furthermore, we think that the jury's return of a guilty verdict against plaintiff on the criminal charge of resisting arrest is not "necessarily" conclusive as to plaintiff's present claim of excessive force used by the police officers. A lawful arrest can be accompanied with excessive force. See Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961). The fact that the arrest was...

To continue reading

Request your trial
45 cases
  • Fernandez v. Trias Monge, No. 78-1066
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 28, 1978
    ......1974), Cert. denied, 421 U.S. 948, 95 S.Ct. 1678, 44 L.Ed.2d 101 (1975); Williams . Page 855 . v. Liberty, 461 F.2d 325 (7th Cir. 1972); Kauffman v. Moss, 420 F.2d 1270, 1274 (3d ......
  • 44 274 Ellis v. Dyson 8212 130
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1975
    ...27 L.Ed.2d 84 (1970); Shank v. Spruill, 406 F.2d 756 (CA5 1969); Coogan v. Cincinnati Bar Assn., 431 F.2d 1209 (CA6 1970); Williams v. Liberty, 461 F.2d 325 (CA7 1972); Jenson v. Olson, 353 F.2d 825 (CA8 1965); Scott v. California Supreme Court, 426 F.2d 300 (CA9 1970); Metros v. United Sta......
  • Meadows v. Evans
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 8, 1977
    ...denied, 414 U.S. 872, 94 S.Ct. 102, 38 L.Ed.2d 90 (1973); Sullivan v. Murphy, 156 U.S.App.D.C. 28, 478 F.2d 938 (1973); Williams v. Liberty, 461 F.2d 325 (7th Cir. 1972); Metros v. United States District Court, 441 F.2d 313, 316 (10th Cir. 1971); Kauffman v. Moss, 420 F.2d 1270 (3d Cir.), c......
  • Pyles v. Keane, 72 Civ. 382 (WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • March 11, 1976
    ...apply in such a case. Mastracchio v. Ricci, 498 F.2d 1257 (1st Cir. 1974); Thistlethwaite v. City of New York, supra; Williams v. Liberty, 461 F.2d 325 (7th Cir. 1972); Metros v. United States District Court, 441 F.2d 313 (10th Cir. 1971); Kauffman v. Moss, 420 F.2d 1270 (3d Cir.), cert. de......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT