Giddeon v. Flynn, No. 15-3464 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
A woman reported that her former boyfriend, Giddeon, had attacked and threatened to shoot her. The police searched near the home without success, but later spotted a woman (Giddeon’s sister) leaving the victim’s house and entering a car in which the police could see other occupants. The police followed, stopped the car, recognized Giddeon among the passengers, handcuffed him, and put him in their squad car. The driver consented to a search that revealed a shopping bag that contained a gun wrapped in clothing. Giddeon, told of the discovery, admitted after a half hour that it was his gun. In Wisconsin state court he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and disorderly conduct and was sentenced to five years in prison. In Giddeon’s suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the defendants conceded that the police lacked probable cause to stop the car. The district court granted the defendants summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit reversed in part. While the search was consensual, Giddeon's arrest in a public place was not unlawful, and Giddeon’s discomfort in sitting in the squad car for 30 minutes on a hot day was not disabling, the stop was an unreasonable seizure of Giddeon’s person, entitling him to damages.