Martin v. Marinez, No. 17-2667 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Chicago Officers stopped Martin for non-functioning tail and brake lights. Martin claims he had not committed any traffic violations. Martin explained that he did not have his driver’s license. The officers asked Martin to step out of the car as additional officers arrived. Martin claims the officers forced him from the car, conducted a pat-down search, handcuffed him, put him into a police car, then searched his car, where they recovered a semiautomatic handgun with a defaced serial number and a baggie of crack cocaine. Martin had previously been convicted of first-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon by a convicted felon. Martin was charged with various crimes under Illinois law and spent 65 days incarcerated. The state court granted Martin’s motion to suppress the evidence. The charges were dismissed. Martin filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The officers argued that even if the stop was unlawful, once officers saw the handgun and cocaine, they had probable cause for Martin’s arrest, which limited Martin’s damages to the period between his stop and his arrest. The district court agreed. The jury awarded him $1.00. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The jury concluded that the officers unlawfully seized Martin without reasonable suspicion, but found against Martin on the claim that officers either arrested him or searched him or his car without probable cause. The only Fourth Amendment injury being redressed is the brief initial seizure before officers asked for Martin's license.