Chicago, Client Results, Firm News, Johnson & Bell, Municipal Liability

Conspiracy Charges Dismissed Against Officers, Municipalities in Murder Case

August 6, 2019

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Joseph F. Spitzzeri, and Attorney, Michael J. Lizzadro, succeeded in getting conspiracy charges dismissed against their clients – a police officer and an Illinois municipality.  The plaintiff sued Johnson & Bell’s clients, along with several other municipalities and their respective officers, after being arrested and charged with a shooting murder in 2014.  Plaintiff served 17 months in prison before prosecutors dismissed the charges against plaintiff the day before trial, after witnesses recanted their testimony and/or refused to testify against him. The plaintiff proceeded to file a conspiracy action claiming that the defendant police officers conspired to frame him for murder which caused him to be arrested and imprisoned in violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment. In his 10-count complaint, the plaintiff named several municipalities as defendants and the individual police officers from these municipalities.  In its Motion to Dismiss, defense argued that probable cause existed for plaintiff’s arrest and detention. In addition, defense argued that police officers had reason to believe, based on eye witness statements, that the plaintiff was holding and perhaps shot a gun in the incident.  The police officers’ belief that plaintiff might be “the shooter” gave the officers probable cause to arrest and detain the plaintiff in connection with the incident.  The federal court agreed with defense’s arguments and dismissed all charges.

Following this ruling, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint.  The court denied the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice.

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Police Officers Vindicated in Arrest of Suspect

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