Federal Court Dismisses Due Process and Malicious Prosecution Claim against Police Sergeant for Alleged Breach of Cooperation Agreement

February 7, 2017

Cooperation agreements between criminal suspects and the police are commonplace. But, what happens when the police arrest the suspect allegedly in breach of the cooperation agreement? Does the suspect have any civil remedies? In People v. Stapinski, 40 N.E.3d 15 (Ill. 2015), a police sergeant had promised not to arrest and file charges against Stapinski for illegal possession of Ketamine if Stapinski supplied information that led to arrests of other offenders. When Stapinski failed to do so, he was arrested and indicted on the Ketamine charge. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of the indictment based on Stapinski’s claim that the sergeant had breached the cooperation agreement in violation of his due process rights. Stapinski then filed a federal civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin dismissed the complaint, finding that Stapinski’s federal claim accrued when he knew that his constitutional rights were violated. This occurred when the indictment was dismissed in March of 2012. Since he waited until September of 2016 to file his civil lawsuit, his suit was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. Judge Durkin also dismissed Stapinki’s state law malicious prosecution claim, because the dismissal of the indictment was not “indicative of his innocence” – an essential element of the claim. Indeed, Stapinski admitted in his suit that he had possessed illegal Ketamine. Therefore, he could not seek a claim for malicious prosecution. The sergeant was represented by HCB attorneys, Mike Bersani and Tony Fioretti.

Stapinski v. Materson 16-cv-9155

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