CHICAGO (CN) - A man spent 14 months in prison on a false DUI charge and the City of Chicago acknowledges that the officer who arrested him, John Haleas, submitted perjured testimony in his case and 50 others, Ricardo Cruz claims in Federal Court.
Cruz says he was in the back seat of a car when Haleas arrested him on the false charge, with abuse, and that Haleas committed perjury at trial, for which Cruz was sentenced to four years in prison. Cruz says that "when Officer Haleas offered perjured testimony against Plaintiff, the Chicago Police Department knew that Officer Haleas was a perjurer."
Haleas arrested Cruz on Feb. 19, 2005, and "Judge Sullivan" found Cruz guilty on Oct. 6, 2006, on the basis of Haleas' perjured testimony, Cruz says. Cruz was sentenced to four years in prison on Nov. 3. He lost his job as a shift supervisor, and his wife and children lost his sole support and had to move three times to cheaper apartments, Cruz says.
Cruz says that in May 2005, Cook County states attorneys had informed the Chicago Police Department's Internal Affairs Division "that they personally observed Officer Haleas engage in failing false police reports regarding DUI arrests. ... (M)any other victims of Officer Haleas claimed that he gave false testimony and filed false reports in DUI cases. Despite the information, including the eyewitness reports of the State's Attorneys, the Chicago Police Department took no action against Officer Haleas for more than two years."
In late October 2007, Chicago media reported "that the Cook County State's Attorney's Office had dismissed more than 50 DUI arrested involving Officer Haleas. A spokesman for the State's Attorney's office reported to the media that its Office was also investigating Officer Haleas' involvement in other DUI cases," Cruz claims.
On Dec. 20, Cruz says, Judge Sullivan ordered Cruz released immediately because of Haleas' false testimony, and dismissed all charges against him, to which prosecutors did not object. But Cruz says he spent four more days in prison.
Represented by Sally Saltzberg, Cruz and his wife demand damages for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, emotional distress and constitutional abuses.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.