This case, known for decades as the “Spy Suit,” challenged the activities of the Chicago Police Department’s infamous Red Squad, which regularly infiltrated and spied on people for engaging in First Amendment activities. The case was initially filed in 1975 and settled in 1982. After more than two decades of monitoring and enforcing the consent decree in the case, a federal district court granted a joint motion from the ACLU of Illinois and the City of Chicago to dissolve the decree in June 2009.

The ACLU remains concerned about police investigation of First Amendment activity.  June 2009, the standard of “a legitimate law enforcement purpose” has guided the CPD’s decisions for whether to spy on political movements.  That standard is too low and nebulous.  Instead, the City should require “reasonable suspicion of a crime” before launching such an investigation.

Date filed

March 30, 1975


Northern District of Illinois


Lost appeal