What Suffices as “Stalking” a Police Officer in Illinois
Lannom v. Gaddis, decided July 19 by the Illinois Appellate Court (opinion by Justice Thomas Welch, joined by Justices Mark Boie and Milton Wharton), has an unusual procedural posture:
[1.] Police officer William Lannom had gotten an temporary emergency no-contact order against Donald Gaddis, which “ordered Gaddis to stay at least 500 feet away from Lannom, his home, and his workplace; noted that all attempts at communication would be considered harassment; and prohibited Gaddis from posting anything on social media concerning Lannom.” This was an ex parte hearing held the day Lannom filed his complaint, which here means that Gaddis wasn’t present to oppose the order.
[2.] The order expired three weeks later, and Lannom sued Gaddis for “malicious prosecution,” claiming that Gaddis lacked probable cause to ask for the order. (Despite the name, “malicious prosecution” extends to unjustified initiation of civil proceedings.)
.] The question for the appellate court was therefore whether there was probable cause for Lannom to believe that Gaddis had engaged in stalking, meaning
a course of conduct directed at a specific person, [when Gaddis knew] or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety, the safety of a workplace, school, or place of worship, or the safety of a third person or suffer emotional distress.
“‘Course of conduct’ means 2 or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a respondent … follows, monitors, observes, surveils, or threatens a person, workplace, school, or place of worship, engages in other contact, or interferes with or damages a person’s property or pet.” “Contact” includes unconsented “appearing within the sight of
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