complaint alleges that 13 Chicago
police officers broke into Monroes home
in the early morning, routed them from bed, made
them stand naked in the living room, and ransacked
every room, emptying drawers and ripping mattress
alleges that Mr. Monroe was then taken to the police
station and detained on "open" charges for 10 hours,
while he was interrogated about a two-day-old murder,
He was not
taken before a magistrate, though one was accessible,
He was not
permitted to call his family or attorney.
subsequently released without criminal charges being preferred
alleged that the officers had no search warrant and no
arrest warrant and that
they acted "under color of the statutes,
ordinances, regulations, customs and usages" of Illinois and of
the City of Chicago.
Chicago Motion To Dismiss
Defendants Motion to Dismiss
Court Dismissed Complaint
42 U.S.C 1983
who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom,
or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at
law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
Argument under color of
It is argued
that "under color of" enumerated state authority
excludes acts of an
official or policeman who
can show no authority under
state law, state custom, or state usage to do what he did.
In This Case
policeman violated the Constitution and laws of Illinois.
Courts are available to give petitions that full redress.
might, of course, override
certain kinds of state laws.
provided a remedy
where state law was inadequate.
aim was to provide a federal
remedy where the state remedy, though adequate in theory,
was not available in practice.
remedy is supplementary to the state remedy, and the latter need
not be first sought and refused before the federal one is
fact that Illinois by its constitution and laws outlaws
unreasonable searches and seizures is
no barrier to the present suit
in the federal court.
power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer is clothed with
the authority of state law, is action taken
'under color of'
argued there, as it is here, that "under color of" state law
included only action taken by officials
pursuant to state law.
Reject that view.
1983 should be read against the background of tort liability
that makes a man responsible for the
natural consequences of his
of the Congress to the proposal to make municipalities liable
for certain actions being brought within federal purview by the
Act of April 20, 1871, was so antagonistic that
we cannot believe that the word
"person" was used in this particular Act to include them.
we hold that the motion to dismiss the complaint against the
City of Chicago was properly granted.
the complaint should not have been dismissed against the
officials the judgment must be and is
intrusion of a city policeman for which that policeman can show
no such authority at state law as could be successfully
interposed in defense to a state-law action against him, is
nonetheless to be regarded as "under color" of state authority
within the meaning of 1983.
jurisdiction which Article III
of the Constitution conferred on the national
judiciary reflected the assumption that the
state courts, not the federal
courts, would remain the primary guardians of that
fundamental security of person and property which the long
evolution of the common law had secured to one individual as
against other individuals.