Joliet police officer plans to appeal dismissal of federal lawsuit

A Joliet police officer plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that dismissed her lawsuit against the city and a police sergeant in a case that lasted for five years.

On Friday, attorneys for Officer Cassandra Socha filed their notice of their appeal of U.S. Judge Jorge Alonso’s Aug. 18 ruling that determined she lacked enough evidence to support her claims against the City of Joliet and Joliet police Sgt. Ed Grizzle.

Socha’s 2018 lawsuit had claimed her nude photos and sex videos were intentionally viewed by other officers and shared between them.

Socha is making her appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is based in Chicago.

Since Socha lost her lawsuit in court, attorneys for the city and Grizzle have motioned to recover “taxable litigation costs” from Socha.

In a joint motion, those attorneys alleged Socha’s lawsuit case cost the City of Joliet about $6,517 and Grizzle about $6,108. Those costs stem from court reporter fees.

“As the prevailing parties, defendants are entitled to seek reimbursement of their costs from [Socha],” the attorneys said in a Sept. 14 motion.

Socha’s attorney, Hall Adams, has objected to the payment of those costs.

“Many of the depositions for which defendants seek to recover court reporters’ charges were not even transcribed much less used by any party,” Adams said in a motion filed Monday.

On Aug. 21, 2018, Socha filed a lawsuit against the City of Joliet, Sgt. Ed Grizzle, and 20 police department employees identified only as “John Does.”

Socha’s lawsuit alleged Grizzle “trawled” her cellphone during his investigation of alleged witness harassment. She alleged Grizzle found her nude photos, along with videos of her and Crowley engaged in sex acts. The lawsuit alleged those photos and videos were then displayed to other department employees and there were “John Does” who were allowed to “re-record” those photos and videos.

Alonso ruled Socha presented no material evidence that Grizzle “saw any of Socha’s private images or videos, much less that he intentionally did so.”

Only two Joliet police detectives admitted to seeing a nude image of Socha on her phone and neither of them did so intentionally, according to Alonso’s ruling.

Alonso said one of the detectives saw the photo inadvertently while using the department’s cellphone analysis software to review investigative files. He alerted another detective and stopped reviewing more of Socha’s data, the judge said.

Alonso noted that Socha never pursued her claims against the 20 “John Does.”

Alonso said Socha acknowledged she lacked direct evidence that anyone at the department viewed any of her private images but she still maintained there was enough circumstantial evidence for a jury to conclude otherwise. Alonso disagreed, saying Socha offered nothing beyond inadmissible hearsay and speculation.