September 6, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 17-cv-03090 -
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge.
Flaum, Sykes, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.
Gai Levy brought this lawsuit against defendants-appellees,
the Marion County Sheriff and the Consolidated City of
Indianapolis and Marion County (collectively,
"defendants"), alleging constitutional violations
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unlawfully detaining him.
Levy contends that on two separate occasions defendants
violated orders from a trial court to release him from
custody. In particular, he asserts that the policies and
practices defendants used to communicate with the courts
about individual defendants led to his prolonged detention.
Defendants moved for summary judgment on Levy's §
1983 claims. The district court granted their motion. We
diving into the specifics of this case, it is helpful to
understand how the Marion County Sheriff's Office
receives information from the Marion County Superior Courts
and how the Sheriff's Office then executes those court
orders. The courts and the Sheriff use two different systems
for their case management needs. The courts' system is
called Odyssey and the Sheriff's is called Offender
Management System (OMS). Both systems use event codes to
indicate a court's order, but integration between the two
systems since their adoption in 2014 has proven challenging,
given the systems' difficulty communicating with each
other. To remedy this problem, the Information Services
Agency for the Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion
County developed a special data exchange system to ensure the
transfer of data from the courts to the Sheriff's Office.
solution was imperfect. For example, when a court ordered a
detainee released subject to placement at Marion County
Community Corrections (MCCC), the court could enter an
"ORC" code (the "Self-Report code"),
which directed the Sheriff to release the detainee from
custody so he could self-report to MCCC on his own.
Alternatively, the court could enter an "SBDOA"
code (the "Direct Transfer code"), which instructed
the Sheriff to maintain the detainee in custody until he
could be directly transported to MCCC for processing and
release. After the Sheriff received either a Self-Re- port or
Direct Transfer code, it placed the detainee in the
"release workflow." The release workflow was a
process whereby the Sheriff's Office automatically
generated a list of detainees for whom the court had entered
release codes. After that, the Sheriff's inmate records
staff reviewed the list to verify that each detainee was
eligible to be released immediately or transferred for
release. Once they completed the verification process, the
inmate records staff removed the detainee from the release
the release workflow could not automatically process updated
release orders, problems arose when the courts modified an
order as to a detainee who had already cleared the process.
The Sheriff's Office knew of this flaw and had reached an
agreement with the courts to have court staff contact the
Sheriff's inmate records staff any time there was a
subsequent order in the same case to ensure that the
Sheriff's Office was operating with the most current
information. It is undisputed that if court staff did not
notify the Sheriff's Office about such updates or
modifications, the Sheriff would process a detainee based on
the original release order it received.
that context in mind, we turn our focus to Levy's case.
The Sheriff's Office took custody of Levy after his
arrest on an outstanding warrant on February 29, 2016. The
parties agree that Levy remained in the Sheriff's custody
until March 3, 2016, when it transferred him to MCCC. (MCCC
released Levy later that same day.) Beyond that basic
timeline, though, the parties disagree about when the
Sheriff's Office received an order from the court to
to Levy, the judge at his first court appearance ordered him
released on his own recognizance, and because the
Sheriff's Office did not immediately release him after
that order, Levy argues that the Sheriff unlawfully detained
him. To support his version of events, Levy points to this
screen-shot of his case file in OMS, which he contends shows
that officer Roberto Juan Rodrigues entered "Order To
Release From Custody" as the "Court Event" on
February 29, 2016, at 23:50:
Sheriff's Office, however, asserts that the judge ordered
that the Sheriff keep Levy in custody until he could be
transferred directly to MCCC; it was not until Levy's
second court appearance on March 2, 2016, that a different
judge ordered Levy to self-report to MCCC. By that time, the
Sheriff asserts, the inmate records staff had already
finished processing Levy through its release workflow. It is
undisputed that no one at the court called or emailed the
Sheriff's Office about the second order, and therefore,
that the Sheriff never received notice of the second order.
Ultimately, the Sheriff's Office processed Levy and kept
him in custody until March 3, 2016. To support their version
of the timeline, defendants direct our attention to the
certified copy of the Case Summary in Levy's case, which
shows that the court entered a Direct Transfer code on March
1, 2016, but later entered a Self-Report code on March 2,
consequently alleged claims against defendants for
unreasonable seizure and detention under the Fourth Amendment
and deprivation of liberty without due process under the
Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, Levy insists that the
Sheriff's Office "instituted and maintained
unreasonable policies and practices that resulted in its
keeping [him] detained ... after [he] had been ordered
released by the Court and/or after legal authority for [his]
detention had ceased."
moved for summary judgment on October 4, 2018, and they moved
to exclude the testimony of Levy's expert on December 10,
2018. The district court granted both motions on February 11,
2019. Regarding the motion for summary judgment,
the district court first held that Levy's Fourteenth
Amendment Due Process Clause claim could not proceed because
"the Fourth Amendment, not the Due Process Clause,
governs a claim for wrongful pretrial detention."
Lewis v. City of Chicago,914 F.3d 472, 475 (7th
Cir. 2019) ...