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Wallace v. Kato

Supreme Court of the United States

November 6, 2006, Argued ; February 20, 2007, Decided

No. 05-1240

Opinion

 [*386]  [**1094]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

LEdHN[1A][] [1A] Petitioner filed suit under Rev. Stat. § 1979, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages for an arrest that violated the Fourth Amendment. We decide whether his suit is timely.

On January 17, 1994, John Handy was shot to death in the city of Chicago. Sometime around 8 pm. two days later, Chicago police officers located petitioner, then 15 years of age, and transported him to a police station for questioning. After interrogations that lasted into the early morning hours the next day, petitioner agreed to confess to Handy's murder. An assistant state's attorney prepared a statement to this effect, and petitioner signed it, at the same time waiving his Miranda rights.

Prior to trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, petitioner unsuccessfully attempted to suppress his station house statements as the product of an unlawful arrest.  He was convicted of first-degree murder [****6]  and sentenced to 26 years in prison.  On direct appeal, the Appellate Court of Illinois held that officers had arrested petitioner without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  People v. Wallace, 299 Ill. App. 3d 9, 17-18, 701 N.E.2d 87, 94, 233 Ill. Dec. 444 (1998).  According to that court (whose determination we are not reviewing here), even assuming petitioner willingly accompanied police to the station, his presence there "escalated  [*387]  to an involuntary seizure prior to his formal arrest." Id., at 18, 701 N. E. 2d, at 94.  After another round of appeals, the Appellate Court concluded on August 31, 2001, that the effect of petitioner's illegal arrest had not been sufficiently attenuated to render his statements admissible, see Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590, 95 S. Ct. 2254, 45 L. Ed. 2d 416 (1975), and remanded for a new trial.  Judgt. order reported sub nom. People v. Wallace, 324 Ill. App. 3d 1139, 805 N.E.2d 756, 282 Ill. Dec. 137 (2001).  On April 10, 2002, prosecutors dropped the charges against petitioner.

On April 2, 2003, petitioner filed this § 1983 suit against the city of Chicago and several Chicago police officers, seeking damages arising from, [****7]  inter alia, his unlawful arrest.1  The District Court granted summary judgment to respondents and the Court of Appeals affirmed.  According to the Seventh Circuit, petitioner's  [***980] § 1983 suit was time barred because his cause of action accrued at the time of his arrest, and not when his conviction was later set aside. Wallace v. Chicago, 440 F.3d 421, 427 (2006).  We granted certiorari, 547 U.S. 1205, 126 S. Ct. 2891, 165 L. Ed. 2d 915 (2006).

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549 U.S. 384 *; 127 S. Ct. 1091 **; 166 L. Ed. 2d 973 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 2650 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 4107; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 88

ANDRE WALLACE, Petitioner v. KRISTEN KATO et al.

Subsequent History:  [****1] US Supreme Court rehearing denied by Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 1362, 127 S. Ct. 2090, 167 L. Ed. 2d 807, 2007 U.S. LEXIS 4308 (U.S., Apr. 16, 2007)

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.

Wallace v. City of Chicago, 440 F.3d 421, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 5771 (7th Cir. Ill., 2006)

Disposition: Affirmed.

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Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Section 1983 Actions, General Overview, Procedural Matters, Statute of Limitations, Claim Accrual, Torts, Intentional Torts, False Arrest, False Imprisonment, Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Begins to Run, Actual Injury, Scope, Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine, Governments, Legislation, Tolling, Scope, Law Enforcement Officials, Arrests