MOUNT VERNON – Former Alton Illinois police officer Mickey Dooley, convicted of theft 10 years ago, has lost his chance to get his former employer to do an internal investigation into the allegedly false evidence that sent him to prison.
The lower court order dismissing Dooley’s mandamus complaint was affirmed Aug. 4 when the appellate court decided that Dooley failed to demonstrate he had a clear legal right to mandamus relief. Mandamus is an "order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion," according to the Wex legal dictionary.
According to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal's August 2009 decision, Dooley was a police evidence officer in Alton when a 2007 internal audit revealed money and other items were missing from the evidence vault. Dooley’s employment with the police department was terminated in July 2007.
When the FBI started investigating Dooley, the appellate court's ruling states the FBI discovered he was deeply in debt and owed tens of thousands of dollars to the Internal Revenue Service and also had recently lost more than $48,000 while gambling at the Alton Belle Casino.
In 2008, the appellate court's ruling states Dooley was convicted of theft and wire fraud. Money he allegedly stole included $18,500 from a bank robbery and $4,000 from a credit union robbery, and a laptop computer from the home of a suspect. Dooley was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for theft and wire fraud. The wire fraud charges were subsequently dismissed.
Dooley maintained his innocence throughout the process.
In 2015, without the help of a lawyer, Dooley filed a complaint in the Madison County Circuit Court asking for mandamus relief because he claimed that Alton police officer Michael Bazzell had “manufactured false evidence” which had led to his conviction, according to the appellate court's order. Dooley also claimed that Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons had ignored his request for an internal affairs investigation.
Because Bazzell was no longer employed by the police department, Simmons declined to investigate and Dooley filed the complaint asking for the internal investigation, the order states. In his response, Simmons said there was no need for another internal investigation since the FBI had investigated, and “...mandamus relief was not available, since the requested relief involved a discretionary act, rather than a ministerial act,” the order states.
Madison County Circuit Court dismissed the mandamus complaint in October 2015.
In its order, the appellate court notes that Dooley failed to establish that he had a clear legal right to request the police chief to order an internal investigation and that he did not rely on any statute, local ordinance or resolution to establish a legal right to relief.
“Instead, plaintiff relied solely on the Alton police department's 'policy manual' and 'rules and regulations,'" the order states. "However, as section 150.04 of the 'rules and regulations' made explicit, these compilations of rules, etc., were nothing more than general orders issued by Chief Simmons himself, as a means of guiding the internal functioning of the police department he heads.”
Therefore the appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling dismissing the mandamus complaint.