Archer v. Chisholm, No. 16-2417 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
While Governor Scott Walker was making controversial changes to Wisconsin’s public union laws, Archer drafted the law and advocated its passage. At the same time, the Milwaukee County State’s Attorney’s Office was investigating allegations of misconduct against Archer and several of the governor’s close associates, concerning missing charitable funds, using Wisconsin’s unique “John Doe” procedure, which permits the prosecutor, under the supervision and direction of a judge, to conduct a secret investigation, Wis. Stat. 968.26. Archer alleges that she was targeted because of her work on the union bill and her affiliation with Governor Walker. Although Archer was never charged with wrongdoing, she filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against prosecutors and members of the investigative team. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, citing qualified immunity. The warrant was valid and Archer stated no claim about the execution of the search; officers may detain the occupants of a location to be searched when they execute a valid warrant if they have a valid reason for doing so. There is no clearly established rule of law under which an official pursuing a lawful investigation, based on probable cause, has been found liable under the First Amendment.