$327,500 Jury Award for Abusive Behavior by Cook County Sheriff Deputies
M. v. Anthony, et al.
We represented a 77-year-old woman who was arrested at gunpoint and charged with felony obstruction of justice by Cook County Sheriff deputies for refusing to answer questions about her son’s whereabouts so that he could be served with a child support arrest warrant. Officers had previously attempted to serve the support arrest warrant on the son at his parents’ house, but they were turned away for not having a search warrant. They returned two weeks later again attempting to serve the warrant, but without having discovered a court order from years before saying the son was not the father of the child in question. The officers approached our client and her husband with guns drawn, pressing them both for information about the son’s whereabouts. When our client exercised her right to remain silent, the officers handcuffed, frisked and arrested her on a charge of obstruction of justice that was later dropped — after she was booked and spent five hours in jail. A Cook County Circuit Court jury agreed with our argument that the officers’ conduct was extreme and awarded $327,500 to our client for false arrest and imprisonment. The case was featured extensively in a story by the Chicago Tribune.