June 1, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1.14-cv-00369 -
Robert M. Dow, Jr., Judge.
Ripple, Kanne, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.
RIPPLE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
2012, Chicago Police Department officers arrested Daniel
Martinez during a search of his home. They charged him with
resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, but a jury
acquitted him. He subsequently brought this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers had violated
the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution of the
United States, as made applicable to the states by the
Fourteenth Amendment, when they entered and searched his home
and seized him. He also alleged that the officers had
committed the state tort of malicious prosecution. The jury
found for the defendants on all claims. Mr. Martinez
unsuccessfully sought judgment as a matter of law and a new
trial. The district court entered judgment for the
defendants, and Mr. Martinez now appeals. Because we believe
that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury
verdict and because Mr. Martinez failed to carry his burden
of demonstrating the need for a new trial, we affirm the
judgment of the district court.
January 17, 2012, two police officers, Reynaldo Nunez and
Joaquin Salazar, observed a white Ford Taurus, driven by
Alberto Martinez ("Alberto"),  run a stop sign.
The officers attempted to make a traffic stop, but Alberto
abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot through an alley for
two blocks. On the way, he discarded a .357 revolver. Officer
Nunez pursued him on foot and radioed for backup, noting that
the suspect was headed to "Talman and
55th." He observed Alberto enter a building, and
he radioed the address-"2622 in the
building"-before following him inside. Officer Nunez
also described Alberto as a Hispanic male with a ponytail,
who was wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans. Once Officer
Nunez was inside the home, he saw Vanessa Martinez
("Vanessa"), Alberto's sister, seated on a
couch. He asked where the man had run, and Vanessa pointed
toward the back of the residence. Officer Nunez set out in
that direction but did not find Alberto. Officer Nunez stated
over the radio that the suspect likely had fled to the alley.
He then began searching the home cautiously, looking for
building Alberto entered at 55th and Talman is, in fact, a
duplex. It includes two separate residences: 2622 and 2624
West 55th. There is a single door on 55th Street; it is
marked "2622." The number 2624 also appears on the
55th Street side but in the corner, far from the door. There
is a separate door on Talman, which appears to be marked
2624, although the photograph is not clear. Both residences
were occupied by members of the Martinez family. The building
has one garage and a single fence around a common backyard,
as well as a single architectural style and no obvious
exterior indications that it contains two separate
Officer Nunez searched for Alberto, Officer Salazar recovered
the weapon, secured the vehicle, and drove toward 55th and
Talman. When Officer Salazar arrived at the house, he
questioned Vanessa and learned that the suspect might be
Alberto. Vanessa indicated that Alberto had long hair and
drove a white Ford Taurus. Officer Salazar then transmitted
the suspect's name, Alberto Martinez, over the radio.
Because the building is across the street from an elementary
school and it was near dismissal time, the school was placed
police units responded to the radio transmissions. One of the
arriving officers, Jeffrey Weber, entered the building
through what he believed was a side door, but was actually
the door to the separate residence, 2624 West 55th, facing
Talman. He observed between ten and fifteen officers present.
Daniel Martinez ("Mr. Martinez") returned home from
shopping with a friend, Alex Matias. Matias testified that
they noticed the police cars and that Mr. Martinez left the
car to investigate. He entered through the back of the
building and went toward his room. Mr. Martinez claimed, to
the contrary, that he was unaware of police officers at the
residence. At some point, another officer announced over the
radio that the suspect was returning, entering the home
through the back door.
Martinez entered the living room and saw his niece on the
couch with Officer Weber standing next to her. The curtains
in the room were closed, making it somewhat dark, but the
television was on, and Officer Weber was wearing his police
uniform, including a coat with a police emblem. Mr. Martinez
denied that he could tell that Officer Weber was in uniform,
but his niece recognized the man as an officer. Officer Weber
believed Mr. Martinez matched the description of the fleeing
suspect, a Hispanic male with long hair pulled back. Mr.
Martinez was, however, wearing a red shirt, not the gray
shirt described in the radio transmissions. Officer Weber
testified that he had not heard the shirt color over the
radio. Mr. Martinez approached Officer Weber. He screamed
expletives at the officer, demanded that he "[g]et...
out/' and yelled "[w]e didn't call
you." Officer Weber asked his name, and Mr.
Martinez responded that he was Daniel Martinez.
Weber repeatedly ordered Mr. Martinez to the ground or to put
his hands behind his back, and Mr. Martinez refused. Instead,
at one point, Mr. Martinez walked toward the door and
appeared to be attempting to open it. Officer Weber tried to
detain Mr. Martinez so that Officer Nunez could come and make
an identification, but Mr. Martinez pulled his arms away.
Officer Weber called for assistance, and Officer Chavez came
to the door. Officer Chavez's account confirmed that Mr.
Martinez was flailing his arms to avoid Officer Weber. His
testimony also confirmed that Mr. Martinez appeared to match
the description of the suspect. Together, Officers Weber and
Chavez took down Mr. Martinez and put him in handcuffs.
Mr. Martinez was arrested, he saw Officer Allyson Bogdalek
seated inside a police vehicle. According to Mr.
Martinez's deposition testimony, he heard Officer
Bogdalek say, "That's not him. That's
Danny." At trial, he added that he further heard
her say, "Lock him up anyways."Matias, the friend
who had been shopping with Mr. Martinez, claimed that he
heard Officer Bogdalek say, "Take him anyways. I
don't care." Outside of the house, Officer Nunez
identified Mr. Martinez as Danny, not Alberto. Officers
Chavez and Weber nevertheless decided to arrest Danny for
"resisting and obstructing." Officer Chavez
learned, once they were at the station, that Mr. Martinez had
a pending civil rights action against Officers Weber and
Officers Chavez and Weber each filed two criminal complaints
against Mr. Martinez, for resisting arrest and obstructing
justice. With respect to resisting, both officers cited his
pulling away from the officers when they attempted to put him
in handcuffs. With respect to obstruction, both officers
claimed that Mr. Martinez had attempted to block access to a
room they wanted to enter to search for a fleeing suspect.
The arrest report for the incident included a check-box for
resisting that was marked "no." Officer Weber
testified at Mr. Martinez's criminal trial on the
resulting charges. In his testimony, he indicated that the
language regarding blocking a room was in error, but that Mr.
Martinez's conduct hindered the investigation of the
original suspect because the officers were delayed in
ascertaining his identity and in their continued search. Mr.
Martinez was acquitted on all charges.
Martinez brought this action against Officers Weber, Chavez,
and Bogdalek, and their employer, the City of Chicago, in
2014. The case was tried to a jury, which returned a verdict
for the defendants on all counts. Mr. Martinez moved for a
judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial under Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 50(b) and 59,
respectively. The defendants moved for costs.
comprehensive order, the district court denied Mr.
Martinez's motions and awarded $9, 902.78 in costs to the
defendants. With respect to his Rule 50 motion, the court
concluded that evidence supported the jury's verdict on
the unlawful entry and search claim because Alberto's
flight had created an exigent need to enter the home and
because the officers reasonably believed that the home was a
single residence. On the unlawful seizure and false arrest
claims, the court concluded that, although Mr. Martinez gave
a different name and was wearing a different color shirt,
other objective factors gave the officers reason to believe
he was the fleeing suspect, including that he came into the
house, was a Hispanic male with long hair pulled back, had
the same last name as the suspect and was found close to the
place where Alberto had last been seen. This evidence was
sufficient to permit the jury to conclude that the officers
had probable cause to believe that Mr. Martinez was a fleeing
suspect. The court also determined that there was sufficient
evidence to arrest Mr. Martinez for resisting and
obstructing. Finally, on his claim for malicious prosecution,
the court agreed with the defendants that errors in the
charges were negligent but did not show malice.
district court then ruled on Mr. Martinez's Rule 59
motion. The court noted that the jury had to sort out
"testimony that was riddled with inconsistencies"
and had reached a reasonable conclusion in light of the
evidence.The court also rejected Mr.
Martinez's claim that the defendants' closing
statement, which referenced a gunman in the proximity of a
school, was unfairly prejudicial. Specifically, the court
rejected the challenge as waived because Mr. Martinez had not
objected to such a reference at trial. The court further
rejected challenges to several jury instructions as well as
his argument that our cases have ...