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Case: 1:18-cv-01456 Document #: 1 Filed: 02/26/18 Page 1 of 6 PageID #:1

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION

TAPHIA WILLIAMS, Individually and on )


Behalf of those similarly situated, )
)
Plaintiffs, ) No.: 18-cv-1456
)
vs. ) Judge:
) Magistrate Judge:
COOK COUNTY, and )
COOK COUNTY SHERIFF TOM DART, )
)
Defendants. )

COMPLAINT

1. This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief and for money damages
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
2. Jurisdiction for Plaintiff’s federal claims is based on 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
1343(a).
3. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the claims
arose in this district as alleged below.

Parties

4. Plaintiff Taphia Williams is a resident of Chicago, Illinois and is currently being


detained pending trial in the Cook County Jail.
5. Defendant Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is the duly appointed and sworn Sheriff
of Cook County.
6. Defendant Dart is sued in his individual capacity and in his official capacity as the
final policy maker for all relevant policies implemented at the Cook County Jail.
7. Plaintiffs join Cook County, Illinois, pursuant to Carver v. Sheriff of LaSalle
County, 324 F.3d 947 (7th Cir. 2003). The operations of the Cook County Jail are ultimately the
financial responsibility of Cook County.

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Facts
1. Taphia Williams was processed into the Cook County Jail on September 15, 2017 for
felony criminal charges, case number: 17 CR 1491202.

2. On September 17, 2017, Ms. Williams’ bond was set at $250,000-D by Judge Felice.

3. On October 31, 2017, Ms. Williams’ bond was reduced by Judge O’Brien to $50,000-D
with electronic monitoring as a condition of bond. This meant, that if $5,000 was posted on
behalf of Ms. Williams she was to be released on electronic monitoring.

4. The Chicago Community Bond Fund (“CCBF”) is a 501(c)3 organization that was
incorporated in 2015. CCBF posts bond for people in Cook County who cannot afford to pay
their own monetary bond.

5. At 5PM on Friday, February 26, 2018, an agent of CCBF, posted $5,000 in bond for
Taphia Williams, in anticipation that she would be released from Cook County Jail and placed on
Electronic Monitoring at her Uncle’s home.

6. More than 60 hours after her bond had been posted, in the early afternoon of Monday,
February 26, 2018, an agent of the Chicago Community Bond Fund called the records
department at Cook County Jail to inquire why Ms. Williams had not yet been released. He was
told that she was being held pursuant to the Defendant Dart’s new policy wherein Dart was
conducting his own administrative review of individuals with “serious charges” who were being
released on bond to determine if he approved their release or not. He was further told that
numerous individuals were on this list to be reviewed by Dart. (Ex. A.)

7. As of the time of this filing, on the evening of Monday February 26, 2018, Ms. Williams
is still being detained at the Cook County Jail.

8. Recently, Defendant Dart has been quoted in the media expressing dissatisfaction with
recent bond reform efforts and expressing his view that too many individuals with “serious”
crimes are being released on electronic monitoring.

9. As a result of his dissatisfaction with bonds being set by Cook County Judges, Defendant
Dart, as a final policy maker for Cook County Jail, instituted a new policy whereby Cook County

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Correctional Administrators, at Dart’s direction, would detain individuals even after their bonds
are posted to conduct Dart’s own “review” of bond decisions made by Cook County Judges to
determine whether he felt those bond decisions were appropriate. Pursuant to this policy, when
Dart determines the bonds set by Cook County Judges in various cases are not appropriate he
continues to detain them after their bonds are posted in order to try to get a re-consideration of
bond by a Cook County Judge.

10. In a news article posted by the Chicago Tribune on Friday February 23, 2017, for
example, Defendant Dart is quoted describing his policy as follows: “Moving forward, my office
will closely scrutinize all individuals who are assigned to E.M. by carefully reviewing their
charges and criminal histories, a process that may take up to 48 hours,” Dart wrote. “Those who
are deemed to be too high a security risk to be in the community will be referred back to the
court for further evaluation.” (Ex. B.)

11. Dart’s policy is unconstitutional in that it holds individuals in pre-trial detention, even
though a Judge has set a bond and the bond has been posted, without legal justification, and
because it violates separation of powers in that Dart is refusing to execute and/or effectively
overruling a binding judicial order.

12. Plaintiff was detained without lawful justification in violation of her rights under the
United States Constitution pursuant to Dart’s unconstitutional policy.

13. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2), Plaintiff seeks certification of this complaint as a
class action. Plaintiff seeks to represent a class consisting of: All individuals who are currently
detained or in the future will be detained at the Cook County Jail, even though their bond has
been posted, pursuant to Dart’s new policy of conducting his own review of bond decisions made
by Cook County Judges.

14. The Plaintiff Class seeks a declaration that Defendant Dart’s policy and practice of
failing to release individuals as ordered by Cook County Judges and of insisting on conducting
his own review of bond decisions results in routine violations of class members’ Fourth
Amendment right to be free from unlawful seizures.

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15. The Plaintiff Class also seeks an injunction ordering Defendant Dart to stop
implementing his current policy and to follow the binding judicial bond orders issued by Cook
County judges.

16. The proposed class is numerous. The class comprises multiple detainees who have been
held or will be held in the future at county jail pursuant to Dart’s policy. In just one day, according to
Dart, they reviewed 11 cases where individuals were ordered to be released on electronic monitoring by a
judge and only agreed to release two. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-gun-
suspects-bond-court-preckwinkle-20180226-story.html.

17. Joinder of all class members is impracticable. Not only is the class numerous, but
membership in the class is also constantly changing. Accordingly, the membership of the class
changes on a weekly basis as individuals are arrested, detained, and released from custody.

18. There are questions of law and fact common to all class members, including but not
limited to: whether or not Dart’s policy of detaining individuals after bond has been posted is
constitutional.

19. All individuals falling within the class definition have been subject to the same policy
and practice. Given the commonality of the questions pertinent to all class members, a single
injunction or declaratory judgment would provide relief to each member of the class.

20. Defendant Dart has acted and continues to act in a manner adverse to the rights of the
proposed class, making final injunctive and declaratory relief appropriate with respect to the
class as a whole.

21. Plaintiffs and the class they seek to represent have been directly injured by Dart’s policies
and practices and members of the class are currently at risk of future harm from the continuation
of these policies and practices.

22. Plaintiffs will fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class and the Plaintiffs’
claims are typical of the claims of all members of the proposed class.

23. Plaintiffs’ counsel is experienced in civil rights litigation, including Monell claims, and
Fourth Amendment cases and cases alleging excessive detentions. Plaintiffs’ counsel will fairly
and adequately represent the interests of the class.

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COUNT I

(42 U.S.C. § 1983 Fourth Amendment Claim for Unlawful Detention)

24. Plaintiff re-alleges paragraphs 1 through 23 as if fully set forth herein.

25. Defendant, knowing that he had no lawful justification, caused Plaintiff to be detained
violating Plaintiff’s right to be free from unreasonable seizures guaranteed to her by the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

26. Plaintiff was detained pursuant to Dart’s unlawful policy described above.

27. Count I is brought as a class action pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure because Defendant Dart has acted on grounds generally applicable to the class,
thereby making appropriate final injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to the class as a
whole on Count I of this Complaint. Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of similarly situated
individuals who are currently (or will be in the future) detained at the Cook County Jail even
though their bond has been posted, pursuant to Dart’s new policy of conducting his own review
of bond decisions made by Cook County Judges, and seeks injunctive and declaratory relief
against Defendant Dart on behalf of the class.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff asks that this Honorable Court:


a) Issue an order certifying this action to proceed as a class pursuant to Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23(b)(2);

b) Appoint the undersigned as class counsel pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(g);

c) Enter judgment declaring that Defendant Dart’s policies and practices described
herein as applied to the class violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution;

d) Enter a preliminary and then permanent injunction prohibiting Defendant Dart


from continuing the unconstitutional policies and practices identified herein;

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e) Award Plaintiffs their reasonable attorneys’ fees and cost pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988, and other applicable law; and

f) Grant such other relief as this Court deems just and proper.

Plaintiff demands a trial by jury on all claims.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Sara Garber


Counsel for Plaintiff
Sara A. Garber
Thedford Garber Law
53 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 638
Chicago, Illinois 60604
O: 312-614-0866
E: sara@thedfordgarberlaw.com
F: 312-754-8096

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AFFIDAVIT OF MATTHEW MCLOUGHLIN

Matthew McLoughlin on oath deposes and says:

1. The Chicago Community Bond Fund (“CCBF”) is a 501(c)3 organization that was

incorporated in 2015. CCBF posts bond for people in Cook County who cannot afford to

pay their own monetary bond.

2. On February 5, 2018, CCBF was contacted by Vikki Williams, who requested help paying

bond for Taphia Williams (DOB: 12/8/1979; case no. 17CR1491202). Ms. Williams’ bond

was set at $250,000-D on September 17, 2017 by Judge Felice. On October 31, 2017, Ms.

Williams’ bond was reduced by Judge O’Brien to $50,000-D with electronic monitoring as a

condition of bond.

3. At 5PM on Friday, February 26, 2018, Karen Figueroa, an agent of CCBF, posted $5,000

in bond for Taphia Williams, in anticipation that she would be released from Cook

County Jail and placed on Electronic Monitoring at her Uncle Billy Taylor’s house.

4. On the morning of Saturday, February 27, 2018, CCBF was informed by Carlus Taylor,

Ms. Williams’ brother, that the Sheriff's Office had not brought Ms. Williams to Billy

Taylor’s home. CCBF encouraged Carlus Taylor to call Cook County Jail and ask why

Ms. Williams had not been released on EM. Carlus Taylor called CCBF on the evening

of Saturday, February 27, 2018 to tell CCBF that the Sheriff's Office said they would be

bringing her home that evening.

5. On the morning of Monday, February 26, 2018, CCBF was informed by Carlus Taylor

that Ms. Williams had still not been released on EM to Billy Taylor’s house.

6. More than 60 hours after her bond had been posted, in the early afternoon of Monday,

February 26, 2018, I called the records department at Cook County Jail to inquire why

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Ms. Williams had not yet been released. The Sheriff’s Office employee that I spoke with

told me that Ms. William’s release on EM was being reviewed by the Sheriff's Office. I

asked on what grounds Ms. Williams was being detained and was told that, “this is a very

serious charge and the Sheriff's Office is reviewing her release.” I asked on what grounds

this review was taking place and was not given any answer. I then asked if this was a new

policy and was informed that it had been instituted “last week.” I was assured that I

would receive a call from a Sheriff’s Office “superintendent” later that day.

7. Late in the afternoon on Monday, February 26, 2018, I again called the Records

Department at Cook County Jail to see why Ms. Williams had not been released on EM.

My call was transferred to a supervisor who informed me that her case was “under review

with the electronic monitoring unit in order to make sure that we place the subject in the

community appropriately. Your person will be taken care of in the order that the bond

was posted.” When I asked under what statute Ms. Williams was being detained, I was

informed that “at this point, we’re administrative reviewing everyone placed on

electronic monitoring for a serious offense.” When I asked again for a specific statute that

gave the Sheriff’s Office the authority to detain someone after bond had been posted, I

was informed that it was the “electronic monitoring statute.”

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Further affiant sayeth naught.

Certification

Under penalties as provided by federal and state law, the undersigned certifies that the statements
set forth above are true and correct to the best of her knowledge, memory, and understanding,
and she would testify truthfully in accordance with the above if called to testify in a court of law.

/s/ Matthew McLoughlin


Dated: February 26, 2018

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Dart warns of 'dramatic increase' in people


charged with gun crimes released on electronic
monitors

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart made a startling acknowledgment in a letter he sent Feb. 22, 2018, to County Board President Toni
Preckwinkle. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune 2016)

By Megan Crepeau
Chicago Tribune

FEBRUARY 23, 2018, 7:30 AM

C ook County Sheriff Tom Dart says hundreds of people charged with gun crimes have been released from
the County Jail on electronic bracelets in recent months as a result of attempts at bond reform, raising
public safety concerns.

Dart said Thursday the dramatic increase has overwhelmed the office’s electronic monitoring program, leading
him to take immediate steps to shore up those efforts: shifting staff, making unannounced searches of the
homes of those being monitored, conducting a more thorough vetting process and, if necessary, declaring
detainees too risky for the bracelets altogether.

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The startling acknowledgment by Dart came in a letter he sent Thursday to Cook County Board President Toni
Preckwinkle.

“Out of concern for the public safety that I am sworn to safeguard, I have determined that I am neither satisfied
nor convinced that the E.M. program, in its current form, offers adequate protections given this recent dramatic
increase in violent offenders,” the sheriff wrote.

Dart said he was immediately “leveraging existing staff and deploying them” to the community corrections
division that oversees the electronic monitoring effort, even though that move “is all the more difficult given
budget reductions.”

“Moving forward, my office will closely scrutinize all individuals who are assigned to E.M. by carefully reviewing
their charges and criminal histories, a process that may take up to 48 hours,” Dart wrote. “Those who are
deemed to be too high a security risk to be in the community will be referred back to the court for further
evaluation.”

Preckwinkle’s spokesman, Frank Shuftan, said in a statement that the county president’s office hadn’t yet
reviewed Dart’s letter or the underlying data.

“In working with all public safety stakeholders, President Preckwinkle has focused on the unnecessary detention
of individuals who are charged with nonviolent crimes, who are not a risk to public safety and who are not a
flight risk,” the statement emphasized.

Dart, along with Preckwinkle and other elected county officials, has been a vocal opponent of the cash-bond
system in which judges require defendants to put down money to secure their release from jail while awaiting
trial. Critics say the system unfairly punishes the poor and that defendants charged with violent offenses who
sometimes have easy access to cash because of gang ties can be back out on the street within days.

In July, as part of the reform push, Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced that judges would be required to set
bail only in amounts that defendants could afford to pay in an effort to ensure that people charged with
nonviolent crimes weren’t languishing in jail simply because they didn’t have the cash, sometimes only a few
hundred dollars, to post for bond.

Judges have treated felony gun charges in a dramatically different way since the reforms were implemented,
according to data from the sheriff's office.

Over a nearly four-month period in 2016, judges gave out cash-based bonds in nearly 96 percent of felony gun
cases and released just 2 percent on electronic monitors. In the 10 weeks after the bond order took effect in
September, though, the number of cash-based bonds for gun cases plummeted to about 40 percent, while those
freed on the electronic bracelets jumped to 22 percent.

The amount set for bonds also sharply fell on average, from nearly $134,000 in 2016 to almost $22,000 in 2017,
according to the analysis.

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By contrast, judges also boosted how often they ordered no bond for those charged with felony gun offenses, to
more than 9 percent in 2017, compared with no cases at all in 2016, the analysis showed.

Pat Milhizer, a spokesman for the chief judge’s office, noted in a statement that defendants on electronic
monitoring are awaiting trial and presumed innocent and that judges do not release those deemed to pose a
threat to safety.

The sheriff’s office may seek funding from the county for up to 30 extra positions to beef up the division
overseeing the monitoring program, said Cara Smith, Dart’s chief policy officer.

In addition, the office will more thoroughly review where those released on monitoring plan to stay out of
concern that many return to violence-plagued neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

Smith said electronic monitoring was never intended for high-risk defendants in the first place.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has long complained that too many repeat gun offenders remain
on the streets — a theme he highlighted last week after Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot in the Loop, allegedly
by a four-time felon.

As commander of the Near North District, Bauer had recently spoken out about his frustration over the bond
reform effort and the difficulty in keeping repeat offenders off the streets.

“We’re not talking about the guy who stole a loaf of bread from the store to feed his family,” Bauer said in
November, according to the Loop North News. “We’re talking about career robbers, burglars, drug dealers.
These are all crimes against the community. They need to be off the street.”

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com

RELATED: Foxx agrees to release of inmates unable to post bonds of up to $1,000 cash »

Judges ordered to set affordable bonds for defendants who pose no danger »

Chicago police superintendent supports bond reforms for gun crimes »

How a revolving door bond system puts violent criminals back on Chicago's streets »

Copyright © 2018, Chicago Tribune

This article is related to: Theft, Jails and Prisons, Crime, Tom Dart, Toni Preckwinkle, Timothy Evans

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