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Statutes of Limitations Exist for a Reason

So say judges in federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals who dismissed a petition by three Chicago men alleging they were improperly detained at the city’s notorious Homan Square cop shop and intimidated into silence by the officers who held them there. This despite a two-year wait for a written opinion on their initial complaint and a further six-month lapse by lawyers for the cops and the City of Chicago in filing a motion to dismiss their appeal of that decision. The action is one of several against the city for civil rights violations at what judges deemed “a den of police misconduct.” According to the eight-page decision, the men were questioned without charge for nine hours in 2011 but waited until a report on their plight appeared years later in The Guardian newspaper to file suit. They said John Dal Ponte, Perry Nigro and Boonserm Sirsutch were among the officers that regularly threatened retribution for days afterward, hence the delay. Northern Illinois District Judge Andrea Wood dismissed the case on a minute order in 2015 because the two-year window the state places on personal injury claims had closed but then took 23 months to explain the decision. While cops acknowledged their motion to stop the subsequent appeal also was time-barred, the appellate court sided with Wood in throwing out the case. Writing for the panel, Judge Diane Sykes said that the episodes of official intimidation are not enough to expand a doctrine that is aimed at “enhancing the likelihood of accurate determinations and removing debilitating uncertainty about legal liability.”