Frederickson v. County of Will et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment 207 , is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to the claims against Scarpetta, and Counts I, II, IV, and V against Landeros. It is denied as to Count III against Landeros. A status hearing is set for March 21, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., at which time the parties should be prepared to set a trial date. Defendants' motion for summary judgment 181 , is moot in light of stipulations 248 252 , and related minute orders 249 252 . Status hearing set for 3/21/2018 at 09:00 AM. Signed by the Honorable Thomas M. Durkin on 3/7/2018:Mailed notice(srn, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
REX ALLEN FREDERICKSON,
No. 11 C 3484
Judge Thomas M. Durkin
DETECTIVE TIZOC LANDEROS AND
DETECTIVE JAMES SCARPETTA,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Rex Frederickson alleges that he was prevented from registering as a sex
offender by Detectives Tizoc Landeros and James Scarpetta of the Joliet Police
Department in violation of rights provided by the Due Process and Equal Protection
Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants have moved for summary
judgment. R. 207. For the following reasons, that motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322-23 (1986). The Court considers the entire evidentiary record and must view all
of the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences from that evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmovant. Ball v. Kotter, 723 F.3d 813, 821 (7th Cir. 2013).
To defeat summary judgment, a nonmovant must produce more than “a mere
scintilla of evidence” and come forward with “specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Harris N.A. v. Hershey, 711 F.3d 794, 798 (7th Cir. 2013).
Ultimately, summary judgment is warranted only if a reasonable jury could not
return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
Frederickson is a convicted sex offender. R. 217 ¶ 38. Sex offenders in Illinois
are required to register pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”),
730 ILCS 150. 1 Frederickson was also homeless during the time period relevant to
this motion. R. 217 ¶ 4.
SORA requires sex offenders to personally register with the relevant law
enforcement agency for the jurisdiction in which they reside. 730 ILCS 150/3.
Registration requires the offender to provide certain information, including
residential and work addresses. Id. Offenders with a fixed address are required to
register only once a year, while homeless offenders must register weekly and report
each place they have stayed during the prior seven days. 730 ILCS 150/6. Any
offender who violates “any” provision of SORA is guilty of a felony, and will be
SORA applies to two classes of convicted felons: the general class “sex offenders”
and the subset “sexual predators.” Frederickson’s precise classification under the
statute is “sexual predator.” Frederickson’s particular classification is irrelevant to
this motion, so the Court will use the more generic terms “sex offender” or
“required to serve a minimum period of 7 days confinement in the local county jail.”
730 ILCS 150/10.
Law enforcement agencies record SORA registration information in the Law
Enforcement Agency Data System (“LEADS”), which is a statewide information
database. R. 208 at 6 n.3. The jurisdiction where a sex offender is registered is said
to have “ownership” of the offender’s LEADS file. R. 217 ¶ 19. Only the jurisdiction
that has “ownership” of a LEADS file can update the LEADS file. See R. 209-1 at 21
(77:20-22); R. 196 at 23 (82:20–83:2), at 23-24 (85:10–86:2).
SORA contemplates that offenders can have both “residences” and
“temporary domiciles,” and that offenders must register in both jurisdictions. 2
“[T]he place of residence or temporary domicile is defined as any and all places
where the sex offender resides for an aggregate period of time of 3 or more days
during any calendar year.” 730 ILCS 150/3 (emphasis added). Any offender who
plans to be away from his registered residence for more than three days must report
that absence to the law enforcement agency where he resides within three days. 3
The offender must also report to register with the relevant law enforcement agency
in the location he is visiting within three days. See footnote 2 above. Since the
statute requires registration in more than one jurisdiction when an offender has a
“The sex offender . . . shall register . . . with the chief of police in the municipality
[or sheriff in the county] in which he or she resides or is temporarily domiciled for a
period of time of 3 or more days.” 730 ILCS 150/3.
“A sex offender or sexual predator who is temporarily absent from his or her
current address of registration for 3 or more days shall notify the law enforcement
agency having jurisdiction of his or her current registration, including the itinerary
for travel, in the manner provided in Section 6 of this Act for notification to the law
enforcement agency having jurisdiction of change of address.” 730 ILCS 150/3.
“temporary domicile” in addition to a “residence,” but a LEADS file is only ever
“owned” by one jurisdiction, it is unclear how a “temporary domicile” should be
recorded in LEADS.
An offender who plans to permanently move his residence must report this to
both his old and new jurisdictions of residence within three days of the move. 4
However, Bolingbrook’s records clerk and Bolingbrook Detective Talbot testified
that the requirement to report a move to an offender’s old jurisdiction is often not
enforced. R. 246 ¶¶ 26, 28. Rather, the new jurisdiction simply calls the old
jurisdiction to report that an offender has moved into their jurisdiction and the old
jurisdiction transfers ownership of the LEADS file to the new jurisdiction. Id.
Law enforcement agencies responsible for recording SORA information are
also responsible for verifying that information “at least once per year.” 730 ILCS
150/8-5. The statute provides assistance to law enforcement agencies to “locate and
apprehend” offenders “who fail to respond to address-verification attempts or who
otherwise abscond from registration.” Id.
Frederickson began registering as a sex offender in Joliet in 2004. R. 246 ¶ 1.
At that time, Detective Moises Avila was responsible for taking SORA registrations
“[I]f the offender leaves the last jurisdiction of residence, he or she, must within 3
days after leaving register in person with the new agency of jurisdiction. If any
other person required to register under this Article changes his or her residence
address, place of employment, [etc.] . . . he or she shall report in person, to the law
enforcement agency with whom he or she last registered, his or her new address,
change in employment, [etc.] . . . within the time period specified in Section 3.” 730
in Joliet. Id. ¶ 2. Frederickson never had a conflict with Detective Avila. Id.
Detective Avila never refused an update Frederickson reported to his SORA
information. Id. ¶ 3.
In 2006, Detective Landeros took charge of taking SORA registrations for
Joliet. R. 217 ¶ 8. Beginning in 2008, Frederickson began asking Landeros to
correct the name of his employer in his SORA registration from “Greg’s Auto Body”
to “Greg’s Body Shop,” and to have the registration reflect the fact that he was
employed as a contractor. R. 246 ¶ 5. Detective Landeros did not make these
changes to Frederickson’s registration. See R. 209-1 at 52-53 (201:12–204:4).
Frederickson testified that sometime in late 2007 or early 2008 he also
informed Detective Landeros that he planned to leave Joliet. According to
Frederickson, Landeros responded by threatening to arrest him. See R. 209-4 at 24
On May 15, 2008, Landeros arrested Frederickson and charged him with
failure to register. R. 246 ¶ 10. On June 1, 2009, Frederickson was acquitted of this
On November 23, 2010, when Frederickson entered the police station to
register, Detective Landeros arrested Frederickson on a charge of driving on a
suspended license, based on Detective Landeros witnessing Frederickson driving a
week earlier. R. 246 ¶¶ 11-12. Detective Avila and another Joliet police officer
deposed in this case testified that, although they had made more than 100 arrets for
driving on a suspended license, they had never made such an arrest when the
person charged was not actually driving a car at the time of the arrest. See R. 209-8
at 32-33 (121:21–122:4);R. 216-5 at 18 (216:3-11).
Frederickson testified that on January 26, 2011, he again told Detective
Landeros he planned to leave Joliet and move to Bolingbrook. According to
Frederickson, Detective Landeros responded by again threatening to arrest
Frederickson. R. 209-4 at 23 (297:1–298:19). Frederickson testified that on February
2, 2011, he wrote “all rights reserved” on his Joliet registration because Detective
Landeros had told him that he would be arrested if he attempted to register in any
other jurisdiction. R. 209-3 at 17 (59:8-24).
On February 8, 2011, Frederickson applied for a job in Bolingbrook. R. 246 ¶
18. The next day, he attempted to register at the Bolingbrook Police Department. R.
246 ¶ 19. Bolingbrook accepted his registration form. Id. ¶ 20.
Upon receipt of Frederickson’s registration form, the Bolingbrook records
clerk contacted the Joliet Police Department to request release of Frederickson’s
LEADS file. R. 246 ¶ 21. Although the records clerk does not remember who she
spoke with, her notes indicate that she spoke with Detective Landeros. R. 246 ¶ 22.
The records clerk testified that the person she spoke to from Joliet told her that
“they knew [Frederickson] was still living in Joliet,” and his residence was “under
investigation.” R. 196 at 18-19 (65:19– 66:1), 38 (145:5-9). The records clerk testified
further that Joliet refused to transfer Frederickson’s LEADS file to Bolingbrook. R.
196 at 18-19 (65:17–66:1). The Bolingbrook records clerk testified that prior to
Frederickson’s case she had encountered about 20 instances of the LEADS file for
an offender registered in Bolingbrook being owned by a different jurisdiction, and in
every instance the jurisdiction transferred the LEADS file upon request. R. 246 ¶
26. A Bolingbrook detective and another Bolingbrook administrator responsible for
LEADS files also testified that they could not recall a single instance of a
jurisdiction refusing to transfer a LEADS file. R. 246 ¶ 28.
Detective Landeros also spoke to a Bolingbrook detective about Frederickson
during the time period Frederickson was working in Bolingbrook and attempting to
register there. R. 246 ¶ 30. Detective Landeros testified that he “advised
Bolingbrook that [Frederickson] was a homeless sex offender employed in Joliet,
and . . . his LEADS file belonged to the Joliet Police Department.” R. 246 ¶ 24. The
Bolingbrook detective testified that Detective Landeros told him that Frederickson
was not actually residing in Bolingbrook and was trying to “pull the wool over
[Bolingbrook’s] eyes,” and that Detective Landeros was investigating the situation.
R. 246 ¶ 31.
Yet, Detective Landeros also testified that he had no reason to believe that
Frederickson was not residing in Bolingbrook, see R. 209-1 at 55 (210:15-19); 5 R.
209-2 at 5 (228:23–229:5), 6 and that he could not think of a reason to prevent a
Did you have any reason to believe that Mr. Frederickson wasn’t
homeless in Bolingbrook?
No, I don’t.
And you didn’t have any reason at the time?
You previously testified on the first day of this deposition that you had
no reason to believe Mr. Frederickson was not homeless in
[Objection made: “I don’t believe he’s ever said that.”]
LEADS file from being placed into moving status, see R. 209-2 at 5 (226:24–227:5). 7
He also testified that he registers homeless offenders “regardless” of whether the
information they provide is accurate. R. 209-1 at 32 (121:5-14). 8
After the Bolingbrook detective’s conversation with Detective Landeros, an
email was circulated among the Bolingbrook Police Department stating that
Bolingbrook should “not take [Frederickson’s] registration due to the fact he lives in
Joliet he is not homeless.” R. 246 ¶ 34. The email also claimed that “[Joliet Police
Department] has alerted us to the fact that this guy doesn’t want to pay their
mandatory fee so he is going to try and scam us into doing it.” Id.
Between February 9 and 16, 2011, Frederickson worked in Bolingbrook on
three or four different days and was in the process of moving his belongings from
Joliet to Bolingbrook. Id. ¶ 36. On February 16, Frederickson was in Joliet picking
up some of his tools. Id. ¶ 37. He was unsure whether he would be able to get a ride
back to Bolingbrook that day, so he registered at the Joliet Police Department that
morning. Id. ¶ 37. When he was able to get a ride to Bolingbrook that afternoon,
Have you ever prevented a LEADS file from being placed into a moving
And there’s no reason that you would do that, correct?
Yeah, I can’t think of one.
And if the information they provided on where they had been the
previous week was accurate you would register them?
I would register them regardless, it’s just whether they’re getting
arrested for giving the false information.
Okay. So you would always register them, but if they provided false
information you would arrest them?
Frederickson also reported to the Bolingbrook Police Department to register. Id. ¶
38. Bolingbrook refused to register Frederickson and ordered him to return to Joliet.
Id. ¶ 40. Despite Bolingbrook’s refusal to register him, Frederickson resided in
Bolingbrook from February 16 through 23, living in a truck parked there. Id. ¶ 43.
Frederickson again attempted to register in Bolingbrook on February 23. Id.
¶ 44. Bolingbrook demanded that Frederickson provide the locations he planned to
stay, even though its regulations do not require such information. Id. ¶¶ 44-45.
When Frederickson declined to provide this information, he was refused
registration and told to return to Joliet. Id. ¶ 46. Frederickson attempted to file a
complaint at Bolingbrook Village Hall. Id. ¶ 47. The Clerk refused to accept the
complaint and Frederickson was escorted out of the building by Bolingbrook police
officers. Id. ¶ 49. Frederickson is the only person Bolingbrook has ever refused to
register. Id. ¶ 41.
Since he was unable to register in Bolingbrook, Frederickson quit his job
there. Id. ¶ 50. He testified that he then attempted to register in Joliet on February
28, March 1, 2, and 3. Defendants contend that Frederickson appeared at the Joliet
Police Department on those days but refused to register. See R. 217 ¶¶ 99-102. On
March 3, Frederickson was arrested for failing to register. Id. ¶ 102. He was
convicted on this charge and his conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id. ¶¶ 104-05.
As an initial matter, summary judgment is granted in favor of Detective
Scarpetta. Frederickson claims he was prevented from registering as a sex offender
in Bolingbrook, which eventually led to his arrest when he returned to Joliet. The
only allegations against Detective Scarpetta are that he received a grievance from
Frederickson about Detective Landeros’s conduct during the relevant time period,
and that Detective Scarpetta failed to adequately investigate Frederickson’s
grievance. Even assuming that Detective Scarpetta failed to properly investigate
Frederickson’s grievance, the Court cannot see how this failure proximately caused
the injury at issue in this case, i.e., that Frederickson was prevented from
registering in Bolingbrook.
Frederickson’s causation theory might be that if Detective Scarpetta had
conducted a proper investigation, Detective Landeros might have been prevented
from thwarting Frederickson’s attempt to register in Bolingbrook. But there is no
evidence that Detective Scarpetta intended to prevent Frederickson from
registering in Bolingbrook, or that he conspired with Detective Landeros to do so.
His failure to conduct an adequate investigation (to the extent that allegation is
true) is insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Detective Scarpetta
had such intent. To the extent an inadequate investigation may have contributed to
Landeros’s ability to violate Frederickson’s constitutional rights, that connection is
too attenuated for a reasonable jury to find that Detective Scarpetta has any
liability in this case.
Frederickson also alleges that Detective Scarpetta was the person who
refused his registration when he first returned from Bolingbrook to register in Joliet
on February 28. To the extent Frederickson claims that this alleged refusal violated
his due process and equal protection rights, that claim is foreclosed by
Frederickson’s criminal conviction for failure to register during that particular time
period, and his conviction’s affirmance on appeal. A finding that Detective Scarpetta
improperly refused Frederickson’s registration attempt on February 28 would
undermine Frederickson’s criminal conviction that he was responsible for his failure
to register, and such a claim is not cognizable under the doctrine of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Therefore, the remaining question in this case is
whether a reasonable jury could find that Detective Landeros improperly stymied
Frederickson’s attempt to register in Bolingbrook in violation of the Due Process or
Equal Protection Clauses.
Frederickson alleges that Detective Landeros’s conduct violated (1) his
substantive due process right to intrastate travel; (2) his procedural due process
right to register under SORA; and (3) his right to equal protection of the laws. The
Court finds that Detective Landeros is entitled to qualified immunity on
Frederickson’s substantive and procedural due process claims, so we start there.
Due Process (Counts I & II)
“The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials from
liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would
have known.” Kemp v. Liebel, 877 F.3d 346, 350 (7th Cir. 2017). In other words, “[a]
state official is protected by qualified immunity unless the plaintiff shows: (1) that
the official violated a statutory or constitutional right, and (2) that the right was
‘clearly established’ at the time of the challenged conduct.” Id.
The Seventh Circuit recently reviewed the standard for determining whether
a right is clearly established:
“To be clearly established at the time of the challenged
conduct, the right’s contours must be sufficiently clear
that every reasonable official would have understood that
what he is doing violates that right . . . .” Gustafson v.
Adkins, 803 F.3d 883, 891 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Rabin
v. Flynn, 725 F.3d 628, 632 (7th Cir. 2013)). “[T]he crucial
question [is] whether the official acted reasonably in the
particular circumstances that he or she faced.” Plumhoff
v. Rickard, 134 S. Ct. 2012, 2023 (2014).
Plaintiffs need not point to an identical case finding
the alleged violation unlawful, “but existing precedent
must have placed the statutory or constitutional question
beyond debate.” Mullenix v. Luna, 136 S. Ct. 305, 308,
(2015) (per curiam) (quoting al-Kidd, 563 U.S. at 741).
“[W]e look first to controlling Supreme Court precedent
and our own circuit decisions on the issue.” Jacobs v. City
of Chicago, 215 F.3d 758, 767 (7th Cir. 2000). If no
controlling precedent exists, “we broaden our survey to
include all relevant caselaw in order to determine
‘whether there was such a clear trend in the caselaw that
we can say with fair assurance that the recognition of the
right by a controlling precedent was merely a question of
time.’” Id. (quoting Cleveland-Perdue v. Brutsche, 881
F.2d 427, 431 (7th Cir. 1989)). In the absence of
controlling or persuasive authority, plaintiffs can
demonstrate clearly established law by proving that the
defendant’s conduct was “so egregious and unreasonable
that . . . no reasonable [official] could have thought he was
acting lawfully.” Abbott v. Sangamon County, Illinois, 705
F.3d 706, 724 (7th Cir. 2013); see also Jacobs, 215 F.3d at
767 (“In some rare cases, where the constitutional
violation is patently obvious, the plaintiffs may not be
required to present the court with any analogous
cases . . . .”).
Before we can determine if the law was clearly
established, “the right allegedly violated must be defined
at the appropriate level of specificity.” Wilson v. Layne,
526 U.S. 603, 615 (1999). “The Supreme Court has
‘repeatedly told courts . . . not to define clearly established
law at a high level of generality.’” Volkman v. Ryker, 736
F.3d 1084, 1090 (7th Cir. 2013) (alteration in original)
(quoting al-Kidd, 563 U.S. at 742); see, e.g., White v.
Pauly, 137 S. Ct. 548, 552 (2017) (per curiam); Mullenix,
136 S. Ct. at 308; City & County of San Francisco v.
Sheehan, 135 S.Ct. 1765, 1775-76 (2015). Instead, “[t]he
dispositive question is ‘whether the violative nature of
particular conduct is clearly established.’” Mullenix, 136
S. Ct. at 308 (quoting al-Kidd, 563 U.S. at 742). In other
words, “the clearly established law must be
‘particularized’ to the facts of the case.” White, 137 S. Ct.
at 552 (quoting Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640
(1987)); see also Volkman, 736 F.3d at 1090 (“[T]he
Seventh Circuit has long held that ‘the test for immunity
should be whether the law was clear in relation to the
specific facts confronting the public official when he
acted.’” (quoting Colaizzi v. Walker, 812 F.2d 304, 308
(7th Cir. 1987))).
Kemp, 877 F.3d at 351-52.
Substantive Due Process (Count I)
With regard to Frederickson’s substantive due process claim, the right to
intrastate travel is not clearly established. Although the right to interstate travel is
well known, neither the Supreme Court nor the Seventh Circuit have addressed
whether intrastate travel is a fundamental right, see Mem. Hosp. v. Maricopa Cty.,
415 U.S. 250, 255-56 (1974); Schor v. City of Chicago, 576 F.3d 775, 780 (7th Cir.
2009), and at least one circuit court has held that it is not. See Wright v. City of
Jackson, 506 F.2d 900, 901-03 (5th Cir. 1975). More recently, some circuits have
held that there is such a right. See Johnson v. City of Cincinnati, 310 F.3d 484, 498
(6th Cir. 2002) (noting that the right to intrastate travel is “an everyday right, a
right we depend on to carry out our daily life activities. It is, at its core, a right of
function”); Spencer v. Casavilla, 903 F.2d 171, 174 (2d Cir. 1990) (“Though the
Supreme Court has dealt only with the right to travel between states, our Court has
held that the Constitution also protects the right to travel freely within a single
state.”). And the Seventh Circuit has cited at least one these cases with implicit
approval. See Doe v. City of Lafayette, 377 F.3d 757, 771 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing
Johnson). This authority is sufficiently varied and uncertain that the Court cannot
find there was an established right to intrastate travel during the relevant time
period. Therefore, the Court finds that Detective Landeros has qualified immunity
on Frederickson’s substantive due process claim, and the Court grants summary
judgment to Detective Landeros on Count I.
Procedural Due Process (Count II)
To prevail on a procedural due process claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate a
protected liberty or property interest. Frederickson argues that he has a liberty
interest in registering under SORA. Detective Landeros does not dispute this, but
argues that Frederickson did not have “a right to register where he wanted to
register . . . without having to first ‘register out’ of Joliet.” R. 208 at 12. While SORA
does impose a requirement to “register out,” as Defendants put it, there is evidence
that this requirement is not enforced as long as the offender reports for registration
in his new jurisdiction. The testimony in the case shows that law enforcement
agencies in an offender’s old jurisdiction always comply with a request from the law
enforcement agency in the new jurisdiction to transfer the LEADS file even when
the offender failed to “register out.” Moreover, SORA provides a three-day grace
period to “register out,” and there is genuine question of fact as to whether the three
days were up when Detective Landeros convinced Bolingbrook to block
Frederickson’s registration. There is also a genuine question of fact as to whether
Frederickson attempted to “register out,” as he testified that he told Detective
Landeros he planned to move out of Joliet, to which Detective Landeros responded
with a threat of arrest.
Courts in this district have held that preventing a homeless offender from
registering under SORA constitutes a procedural due process violation. See Derfus
v. City of Chicago, 42 F. Supp. 3d 888 (N.D. Ill. 2014); Saiger v. City of Chicago, 37
F. Supp. 3d 979 (N.D. Ill. 2014); Johnson v. City of Chicago, 2016 WL 5720388 (N.D.
Ill. Sept. 30, 2016). However, those cases were decided after the events in this case
occurred, and those courts held that the liberty interest in registering under SORA
was not clearly established during the relevant time period. Frederickson concedes
as much. See R. 215 at 37 (“[T]he right of a Homeless Offender to register under
SORA was [not] ‘clearly established’ as of February 2011[.]”).
Frederickson also argues that “Defendants’ conduct, motivated by ill will, in
placing Frederickson in legal jeopardy by refusing to allow him to register without
any rational purpose in doing so” is “patently violative” of Frederickson’s rights,
such that qualified immunity is not appropriate. R. 215 at 37. But procedural due
process is not concerned with the defendant’s motivation. 9 And neither is qualified
immunity. See Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 817-18 (1982) (“[W]e conclude
today that bare allegations of malice should not suffice to subject government
officials either to the costs of trial or to the burdens of broad-reaching discovery. We
therefore hold that government officials performing discretionary functions
generally are shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does
not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known.”); Armstrong v. Daily, 786 F.3d 529, 538 (7th
Cir. 2015) (“Harlow purged qualified immunity doctrine of its subjective
components, meaning that the defendants’ actual state of mind or knowledge of the
In analyzing a procedural due process claim, the Court must determine (1)
whether the plaintiff was deprived of a constitutionally protected liberty or property
interest, and (2) how much process was due. Leavell v. Ill. Dep’t of Nat. Res., 600
F.3d 798, 804 (7th Cir. 2010). Next, to determine how much process is due, the
Court “must balance three factors: ‘[f]irst, the private interest that will be affected
by the official action; second, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest
through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or
substitute procedural safeguards; and finally, the Government's interest, including
the function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional
or substitute procedural requirement would entail.’” Schepers v. Comm’r, Ind. Dep't
of Corr., 691 F.3d 909, 915 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S.
319, 335 (1976)). The defendant’s motive is not relevant to any of these elements.
law is irrelevant to whether the asserted conduct would have been legally
reasonable.”). To the extent motive is a part of the equation in this case, it must be
relevant to whether the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that
Detective Landeros committed a constitutional violation. As is discussed further
below, motive or “personal animus” is relevant to the elements of Frederickson’s
equal protection claim. But it is not relevant to the elements of Frederickson’s due
process claims, and is not relevant to whether the due process rights at issue in
those claims were clearly established or the alleged conduct was “patently violative”
of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights.
Therefore, the Court holds that Detective Landeros is entitled to qualified
immunity on Frederickson’s procedural due process claim, and grants summary
judgment to Detective Landeros on Count II.
Equal Protection (Count III)
As discussed, the Court holds that the rights at issue in Frederickson’s due
process claims were not “clearly established” during the relevant time period. This
holding is dispositive of those claims without the need for a determination on the
merits of whether Detective Landeros violated Frederickson’s due process rights. As
is discussed below, however, the Courts holds that Frederickson’s equal protection
right to “police protection uncorrupted by personal animus” is clearly established.
See Hanes v. Zurick, 578 F.3d 491, 496 (7th Cir. 2009). Thus, it is necessary to first
address whether a reasonable jury could find that Detective Landeros violated that
Frederickson claims that Detective Landeros violated his equal protection
rights by thwarting his attempt to register in Bolingbrook. The Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that, “[n]o State shall . . . deny to
any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Supreme
Court has said that this “is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated
should be treated alike.” City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., Inc., 473 U.S. 432,
439 (1985). To prevail on an equal protection claim, plaintiffs usually show that
they are members of a “suspect class” or that they were denied a “fundamental
right.” Srail v. Village of Lisle, 588 F.3d 940, 943 (7th Cir. 2009). In the absence of
either scenario, however, a plaintiff can show that the defendant discriminated
against the plaintiff in particular—a so called “class-of-one” claim—which require
the plaintiff to show that “the plaintiff has been intentionally treated differently
from others similarly situated and there is no rational basis for the difference in
treatment.” Id. To make such a showing, the “plaintiff must negate any reasonably
conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis.” Jackson v. Village of
Western Springs, 612 Fed. App’x. 842, 847 (7th Cir. 2015). Whether the plaintiff has
succeeded in proving that no “reasonably conceivable state of facts” exists is a
question for the jury. See Knaus v. Town of Ledgeview, 561 Fed. App’x 510, 514 (7th
Cir. 2014); RJB Props., Inc. v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi., 468 F.3d 1005, 1010 (7th
Detective Landeros contends that his actions were reasonable because it was
obligation . . . to keep track of [Frederickson’s]
whereabouts. If [Frederickson] could register in
Bolingbrook one week, Downers Grove the next, and
Peoria the following week, all because he lacks a fixed
residence, without ever notifying the agency charged with
jurisdiction over him as to his whereabouts, the purpose
of the statute would be defeated.
R. 208 at 18. On the basis of this logic, Detective Landeros appears to argue both
that (1) he had a duty to prevent Frederickson from registering in Bolingbrook
because he believed Frederickson continued to reside in Joliet, see R. 235 at 7
(“Landeros only delayed the immediate transfer of jurisdiction over plaintiff’s
LEADS file because of suspicions over the legitimacy of plaintiff’s move to
Bolingbrook.”); and (2) Frederickson’s failure to “register out” of Joliet before
moving to Bolingbrook was the real reason he wasn’t able to register in Bolingbrook,
see R. 235 at 14 (“[P]laintiff had the keys to any registration problem he faced . . . .
In light of plaintiff’s own failure to register out of Joliet within three days of
registration in Bolingbrook, Landeros’[s] follow-up investigation certainly was
rational.”). Neither argument is sufficient to support summary judgment in
Detective Landeros’s favor.
First, Detective Landeros cites no authority supporting his contention that he
was under an obligation to investigate Frederickson’s residence prior to transferring
ownership of his LEADS file to Bolingbrook. Although law enforcement agencies are
tasked with verifying the information reported by offenders, the statute requires
only that this verification occur “at least once a year.” Nothing in the statute
required Detective Landeros to verify the particular report Frederickson made to
Bolingbrook. Further, Detective Landeros’s argument that he was required to
investigate contradicts his own testimony that he had no reason to question
Frederickson’s report of residence in Bolingbrook. Additionally, an offender has a
three-day grace period to report new addresses. There is a genuine question of fact
as to whether Frederickson was in violation of this requirement, such that an
investigation would be warranted. In general, there is a question of fact regarding
whether Frederickson was attempting to evade the registration requirements.
Rather than indicating evasion, the evidence tends to show that Frederickson was
continually providing information to both Joliet and Bolingbrook about where he
was residing and working.
Nevertheless, rather than simply recording Frederickson’s reports, Detective
Landeros took it upon himself to confirm Frederickson’s residence. This quest then
led Landeros to refuse to transfer Frederickson’s LEADS file and to convince
Bolingbrook to refuse Frederickson’s registration. Based on this evidence, a
reasonable jury could find that there is no rational explanation for Detective
Landeros to refuse to transfer ownership of Frederickson’s LEADS file and
otherwise advise Bolingbrook not to register him, such that Landeros violated
Frederickson’s equal protection rights.
Second, Detective Landeros cites no authority supporting his contention that
Frederickson’s failure to “register out” from Joliet was a basis to prevent him from
registering in Bolingbrook or threaten him with arrest. Although SORA requires an
offender to report a change in residence to his prior registering law enforcement
agency, Bolingbrook officials testified that this requirement is regularly unenforced
as long as the offender presents himself for registration in the new jurisdiction.
Even Detective Landeros testified that he normally does not refuse a request to
transfer LEADS files or to register offenders who report. In any case, Frederickson
testified that he told Detective Landeros that he planned to move out of Joliet and
that Detective Landeros responded by threatening to arrest him. Whether or not
Detective Landeros threatened to arrest Frederickson, it is clear that Detective
Landeros decided not to believe Frederickson’s assertion of his intent to move.
Having rejected Frederickson’s attempt to report his move, Detective Landeros
cannot now claim that his efforts to prevent Frederickson’s registration in
Bolingbrook were justified by Frederickson’s failure to withdraw from Joliet. A jury
could reasonably find that Frederickson acted reasonably by leaving Joliet to
attempt to register in Bolingbrook and avoid Detective Landeros’s irrational
application of SORA.
Additionally, SORA’s requirement to report a move is largely implicated here
only because Frederickson is homeless. Joliet and Bolingbrook are only about 15
miles apart. A person with a permanent residence in that area, who also owned a
car, easily could leave a job in Joliet and take a job in Bolingbrook without the need
to change residences, and register such a change under SORA. But since
Frederickson is homeless, his “residence” essentially travels with him, such that
any change in his personal circumstances triggers greater SORA reporting
requirements than for an offender with a permanent residence. And more pertinent
to the facts of this case, a change in residence also triggers the need to transfer
ownership of a LEADS file, whereas a change in employer does not. Given the
evidence that law enforcement agencies normally do not enforce the “register out”
requirement, a reasonable jury could find that Detective Landeros should have been
cognizant of this circumstance and should have been satisfied with Frederickson’s
attempt to register in Bolingbrook despite his failure to “register out” of Joliet.
Detective Landeros also argues that Frederickson’s equal protection claim
must fail because Frederickson has failed to allege a similarly situated
“comparator” who was treated differently than Frederickson—i.e., a homeless
offender who failed to register out of Joliet whose LEADS file was nevertheless
transferred to the new law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. “Normally, a
class-of-one plaintiff will show an absence of rational basis by identifying some
differently.” Miller v. City of Monona, 784 F.3d 1113, 1120 (7th Cir. 2015). But, “[i]f
animus is readily obvious, it seems redundant to require that the plaintiff show
disparate treatment in a near exact, one-to-one comparison to another individual.”
Swanson v. City of Chetek, 719 F.3d 780, 784 (7th Cir. 2013) (reversing a grant of
summary judgment to defendants on a class-of-one equal protection claim for lack of
comparator evidence); see also Geinsoky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 748 (7th
Cir. 2012) (“But in this case, requiring [the plaintiff] to name a similarly situated
person who did not receive twenty-four bogus parking tickets in 2007 and 2008
would not help distinguish between ordinary wrongful acts and deliberately
discriminatory denials of equal protection. Such a requirement would be so simple
to satisfy here that there is no purpose in punishing its omission with
dismissal. Here, the pattern and nature of defendants’ alleged conduct do the work
of demonstrating the officers’ improper discriminatory purpose.”). As discussed,
Frederickson has shown that a request for transfer of a LEADS file is not normally
rejected; that the requirement to first register out of an old jurisdiction before
registering in a new jurisdiction is not enforced; and Detective Landeros testified
that he had no reason to question Frederickson’s report of residence in Bolingbrook.
This is strong enough evidence of irrational conduct such that comparator evidence
is not required to deny summary judgment on Frederickson’s equal protection
There is an open question as to whether a class-of-one plaintiff must also
prove that the defendants acted with personal animus or malice in treating the
plaintiff differently. See Del Marcelle v. Brown County Corp., 680 F.3d 887 (7th Cir.
2012). The Court need not take a side on that dispute, however, because in this case
Frederickson must prove that Landeros acted out of personal animus against him;
otherwise, Landeros’s conduct is protected by qualified immunity.
In the context of class-of-one equal protection claims like Frederickson’s, the
Seventh Circuit has held that the right to “police protection uncorrupted by
personal animus” is clearly established. Hanes, 578 F.3d at 496 (citing Hilton v. City
of Wheeling, 209 F.3d 1005, 1007 (7th Cir. 2000) (“If the police decided to withdraw
all protection from [the plaintiff] out of sheer malice, or because they had been
bribed by his neighbors, he would state a claim . . . .”)). Thus, qualified immunity is
unavailable to a police officer who “deliberately sought to deprive [a plaintiff] of the
equal protection of the laws for reasons of a personal nature unrelated to the duties
of the defendant’s position.” Hilton, 209 F.3d at 1008.
Here, the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Detective
Landeros was motivated by personal animus towards Frederickson when he
stymied his attempt to register in Bolingbrook. There is evidence that Detective
Landeros had a history of conflict with Frederickson. Detective Landeros also
testified that he had no reason to believe that Frederickson was not residing in
Bolingbrook when he sought to register there, leading to the inference that
Detective Landeros’s motivations were personal. Furthermore, there is evidence
that Detective Landeros’s actions were extraordinary. No homeless offenders in
Joliet or Bolingbrook have ever been denied transfer of their LEADS file.
Additionally, unlike in Frederickson’s case, the requirement that an offender report
to his former residential jurisdiction that he has moved is generally waived once the
new jurisdiction requests transfer of the LEADS file. Because this evidence is
sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Landeros acted with personal animus
towards Frederickson, summary judgment based on qualified immunity is not
appropriate at this time. See Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 540 (7th Cir.
2009) (“When the qualified immunity inquiry cannot be disentangled from disputed
facts, the issue cannot be resolved without a trial.”).
In sum, Detective Landeros’s contention that his decisions to prevent the
transfer of Frederickson’s LEADS file and to tell Bolingbrook not to register
Frederickson, were justified because Frederickson failed to register out of Joliet,
rings hollow. The evidence here is sufficient for a reasonable jury to conclude that
Detective Landeros took the actions he did out of personal animus towards
Frederickson that developed over time out of his frustration with his experiences
taking Frederickson’s registrations. Therefore, Landeros’s motion for summary
judgment on Frederickson’s equal protection claim is denied. 10
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is
granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to the claims against Scarpetta,
and Counts I, II, IV, and V against Landeros. It is denied as to Count III against
Landeros. A status hearing is set for March 21, 2018, at which time the parties
should be prepared to set a trial date.
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin
United States District Judge
Dated: March 7, 2018
Since Detective Landeros is the only remaining defendant, and the Court has
denied his motion for summary judgment on the claims underlying the conspiracy
counts, Frederickson’s conspiracy claims are superfluous and are dismissed.
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