Court Rules that Deputy Had Probable Cause to Arrest Plaintiff for Obstruction When Plaintiff Refused to Accept Service of Protective Order

July 12, 2017

Judge Joe Billy McDade of the U.S. District Court of Central Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of Livingston County Deputy, Brian Hoffmeyer, in Stevenson v. Meredith, et al., No. 15-cv-1340. Pro se Plaintiff Timothy Stevenson claimed that he was arrested without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment by Deputy Hoffmeyer. On June 16, 2015, a state court judge entered an emergency order of protection, directing Plaintiff to stay away from Plaintiff’s ex-girlfriend and their minor children. Deputy Hoffmeyer served Plaintiff with the order of protection five days later at his residence. When Deputy Hoffmeyer arrived at Plaintiff’s residence, he knocked on the door and announced himself and his purpose several times.  However, Plaintiff repeatedly refused to open the door and even stated that he did not want “the civil papers.” While looking in an open window, Deputy Hoffmeyer noticed that there was a minor child in Plaintiff’s custody and confirmed that the minor was one of the protected persons as per the order of protection. When Plaintiff opened the back door of his residence, he was immediately arrested for violating the order of protection. Judge McDade found that Deputy Hoffmeyer had probable cause to arrest plaintiff for obstructing a peace officer by refusing to open the door. The court further held that Deputy Hoffmeyer was entitled to qualified immunity even if probable cause was lacking, because there was no case law existing at the time of the incident establishing beyond debate that an officer lacks probable cause to arrest for obstruction when a defendant intentionally and unambiguously refuses to accept service. HCB attorneys, Mike Bersani and Tara Grimm, represented Deputy Hoffmeyer.

Stevenson v. Meredith, et al.

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