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The People v. Allen

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 27, 1951

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT IN ERROR,

v.

GEORGE ALLEN, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR.



WRIT OF ERROR to the Criminal Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANK M. PADDEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 21, 1952.

The defendant, George Allen, prosecutes this writ of error to review a judgment order of the criminal court of Cook County adjudging him in contempt of court for his refusal to obey two subpoenas duces tecum commanding the production of certain described books and records of Tremont Auto Sales Corporation before the grand jury.

In February, 1951, orders directing the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum were entered in the criminal court of Cook County upon verified petitions of the State's Attorney, alleging that the grand jury was investigating a conspiracy to do unlawful acts by a combination of persons known and unknown to the grand jury and that production of certain described books and records before the grand jury was necessary in the course of that investigation. In accordance with the orders of the court the two subpoenas duces tecum here involved were issued. One was directed to Tremont Auto Sales Corporation and the other was directed to that corporation and to the defendant, George Allen, its general manager. The defendant filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, alleging that he was sales manager of Tremont Auto Sales Corporation and its attorney in fact to execute all documents desirable and necessary to preserve the rights of the corporation guaranteed by the Federal and State constitutions in connection with any proceeding, investigation or inquiry pending before the grand jury of Cook County. The motion to quash charged that the subpoenas were so sweeping in their terms as to be the equivalent of a general warrant and, hence, in violation of section 6 of article II of our constitution and the fourth amendment to the Federal constitution; that they were neither suitably specific nor properly limited in their scope and lacked the requisite particularity in their description of the books, records and writings demanded; that the production of all the records called for would unreasonably harass and interfere with the conduct of the corporation's business and affairs, and that they constituted a mere "fishing expedition," the relevance, competence and materiality of the records sought not appearing from the petitions nor having otherwise been demonstrated to the court. A hearing was had upon the motion to quash and an order was entered quashing certain portions of the subpoenas which are not material here.

As modified by the court's order, the first subpoena called for production of the following:

(1) All records showing the list of officers, stockholders, directors, and other persons having interests in the Tremont Auto Sales Corporation.

(2) The general ledger of Tremont Auto Sales Corporation.

(3) All withholding tax exemption slips of officers and employees of the Tremont Auto Sales Corporation.

The second subpoena, as modified, called for the following:

(1) General ledger of Tremont Auto Sales Corporation.

(2) List of officers, directors and shareholders of Tremont Auto Sales Corporation.

(3) All sales invoices of new cars for period from January 1, 1949, to the present date.

(4) Any and all records of sales to or transactions with Erie Buffalo Company, Golden Gate ...


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