Plaintiff Could Not Maintain Malicious Prosecution Claim After Plea Bargain

October 30, 2019

The Honorable Colin S. Bruce in the Central District of Illinois granted a motion to dismiss on a federal civil rights lawsuit in favor of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department and their Chief Deputy in Diane Redwitz v. County of Kankakee, et al, Case No. 18-CV-02208 (C.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2019). Plaintiff, Diane Redwitz, was an employee of the Kankakee County Highway Department. Ms. Redwitz alleged that during the course of her employment, she felt harassed by some colleagues and began to record her interactions with them by leaving her phone on her desk as a recorder. She was advised to report the harassment to the Sheriff’s Department for an investigation, and provided her recordings as a part of that investigation. Due to the nature of the surreptitious recordings, she was charged with a felony for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping statute. In exchange for an amendment of the charge to a misdemeanor, she pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. In addition to suing the County and several County employees for harassment and discrimination, she filed suit against the Sheriff’s Department and Chief Deputy Ken McCabe for malicious prosecution and conspiracy.

The Sheriff’s Department moved to dismiss on the basis that Plaintiff could not establish a malicious prosecution claim as a matter of law. A malicious prosecution claim requires that a person’s criminal case must be resolved in a manner indicative of the person’s innocence. The Court found that because Redwitz resolved her case by way of a plea bargain, she could not maintain that the charges were resolved in a manner indicative of her innocence. The plea bargain constituted a compromise to benefit the Plaintiff. As a result, the Court dismissed the malicious prosecution claim. Further, because the conspiracy claim was predicated on the malicious prosecution allegation; this claim was dismissed as well. The Sheriff’s Department and Chief Deputy McCabe were represented by Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti.

Diane Redwitz v. County of Kankakee, et al, Case No. 18-CV-02208 (C.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2019).

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