7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: Phynelopha Johnson v. Shawn Myers
Case No.: 22-1015
Officials: Easterbrook, Hamilton, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.
Focus: False Arrest
Phillip Edward Osborne alleged that Illinois State Police Officer Shawn Myers arrested him without probable cause and therefore violated his civil rights. He sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and his sister, Phynelopha Johnson, continued the lawsuit after he died.
Myers acted pursuant to an arrest warrant, so Johnson faces an uphill battle to overcome the presumption of validity accorded to the warrant and the information underlying it. The district court dismissed the claims against the county and granted Myers summary judgment on the false arrest claim, finding no evidence to undermine probable cause to arrest Osborne and that Myers was entitled to qualified immunity. According to this court, this case comes down to a failure of proof. With little more than allegations of false statements in a warrant application, Johnson failed to rebut the presumption that the arrest warrant was valid.