A deputy marshal has filed a federal lawsuit claiming some of his colleagues violated his Constitutional rights in the course of an investigation into allegations he used excessive force and obstructed justice, charges that were dismissed last year.
Stephen Linder brought his complaint April 15 in Chicago's federal court against Darryl McPherson, the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois; Kevin Shirley, a special agent with the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice; and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aejean Cha and Mark Blumberg.
The suit stems from accusations Linder used excessive force while leading an operation in 2010 to find a fugitive wanted for murder. Filed by a fellow deputy marshal, the internal report alleged Linder used excessive force when questioning the fugitive's father.
That internal report was forwarded to the DOJ's inspector general's office, which brought Shirley, Cha and Blumberg into the investigation and resulted in a 2012 grand jury indictment against Linder on excessive force and obstruction of justice charges.
Those charges, however, were dismissed on March 5, 2013 after a federal udge determined McPherson violated Linder's Sixth Amendment rights and Shirley, Cha and Blumberg violated his Fifth Amendment rights, the suit states..
Saying the conduct and practices of the defendants during the investigation were biased and usurped his legal rights, Linder contends Shirley, Cha and Blumberg used intimidation in order to get testimony from witnesses and harassed him throughout the indictment process.
He further alleges he was not advised of his rights when McPherson first questioned him over the misconduct accusations.
U.S. marshals "are afforded certain rights in connection with misconduct investigations, including rights to be notified of allegations against them, to have legal representation, and to be warned regarding the effects of providing information in connection with an investigation," the suit states, asserting that "No one at the meeting on July 12 advised Deputy Linder of these rights."
Throughout the investigation and indictment, Linder claims McPherson dissuaded other employees at the marshal's office from cooperating with his attorneys.
Several witnesses at Linder’s indictment hearing offered testimony that put Shirley, Cha and Blumberg’s tactics in a negative light, but Linder asserts he and his attorneys were unaware of this before the hearing.
In one instance, the suit alleges, Shirley threatened to bring a lieutenant with the Cook County sheriff's department before a grand jury on “bogus grounds” if he didn't cooperate.
Linder also claims a special investigator hired by his defense team called at least nine witnesses to set up interviews, but they either didn't return his attorney's calls or "advised him they would not talk to him without first getting approval from Marshal McPherson."
McPherson's actions, Linder asserts, constituted a violation to his Sixth Amendment right to compel witnesses to testify, which in turn caused him extreme emotional and financial stress. The suit also claims Shirley, Cha and Blumberg violated his Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Linder is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees, costs and prejudgment interest on any damages awarded at trial.
Cynthia H. Hyndman of Robinson, Curley & Clayton in Chicago filed the suit on Linder's behalf. Court records show Hyndman's colleagues, Lydia Anne Bueschel and Andrew E Cunningham, are also representing Linder and that the case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.