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The People v. Loughran

OPINION FILED MARCH 17, 1954.

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

v.

FRANCIS J. LOUGHRAN, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR.



WRIT OF ERROR to the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. JAMES V. BARTLEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MAXWELL DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff in error, Francis J. Loughran, an attorney at law licensed by this court, brings writ of error to review a judgment of the circuit court of Will County, sentencing him to three days in the county jail for an alleged direct criminal contempt of that court. The court's judgment is based upon plaintiff in error's conduct as defense attorney in a criminal trial then being tried in that court before a jury.

The judgment order of the trial court is as follows: "Order. These proceedings come on for consideration on this 4th day of February, 1953, as to the guilt of Francis J. Loughran for contempt of court committed by him in the open presence of the Court in the trial of the case of The People of the State of Illinois vs. Rose Gordon, No. 9880. Francis J. Loughran, an attorney of the Will County Bar, is present in open court and Frank H. Masters, Jr., State's Attorney, is present.

"It appears that the jury after having been out for approximately from 3.15 p.m. to now, 11:29 p.m., in the case of The People of the State of Illinois vs. Rose Gordon, No. 9880, larceny, has been unable to arrive at a verdict and has just been discharged by the Court from further consideration of the cause.

"It further appears that there has just come to the attention of the Court and just prior to the discharge of the jury in the case of The People of the State of Illinois vs. Rose Gordon, No. 9880, that at noon on this day two of the jurors attempted to interview one of the witnesses in the case as to some question of whether [weather] at the time and place of the alleged larceny in the People vs. Gordon case about which no contradictory testimony had been introduced at the time of the attempted interview.

"It further appears from the Court's knowledge of the record in the case of The People of the State of Illinois vs. Rose Gordon, charged with larceny, that Mr. Loughran was the attorney for the defense; that prior to the commencement of final arguments, Mr. Loughran indicated to the Court that he was going to engage in argument which the Court advised him would be improper; that Mr. Loughran is an experienced lawyer of this bar for some thirty years, including the trial of civil and criminal cases; that the Judge of this court advised Mr. Loughran that he should confine himself within the bounds of law for legitimate argument.

"It further appears from the Court's own knowledge that in open court in the course of Mr. Loughran's final argument to the jury, that in the presence of the Judge of the court that he persistently before and after the sustaining of objections made by the State's Attorney, on the subject matter hereafter set forth, notwithstanding the requests of the Court to refrain from such improper argument to the jury that he continued and argued that there had been an illegal search and seizure of articles from the body of or from the person of the defendant after her arrest and incarceration; that a verdict of not guilty should be returned notwithstanding the attitude of merchants in Joliet; that the jury could not convict unless the defendant alone was guilty of the alleged crime; that the jury could fix the value of the property alleged to have been stolen without regard to the evidence.

"It further appears from the Court's own knowledge of the record that the Court had ruled during the course of the trial that there had been no illegal search and seizure of the articles from the body of or from the person of the defendant after her arrest and incarceration; that there was no evidence to indicate any interest on the part of the merchants in Joliet; that the evidence showed that the defendant and another who was not apprehended committed the offense; that the uncontradicted evidence shows the value of the stolen property to be $170.

"It further appears, in the opinion of the Court, that the evidence showed conclusively that the defendant was guilty of the crime of larceny as charged in the indictment.

"It further appears from the record that the defendant did not take the witness stand; that the only evidence for the defense was that it rained six (6) miles west of Joliet on the day in question and the day before; that there was evidence in the People's case that there was no mud on the clothing alleged to be stolen; that a policeman testified that he saw the defendant drop on the ground the clothing alleged to have been stolen near the alleged place where the theft in Joliet occurred.

"It further appears that the Court is satisfied from the evidence and his general knowledge that the crime was committed by a representative of an organized shop lifters ring.

"It further appears that contempt of counsel, Loughran, was made more apparent by his long years of experience and his representations of such long years of experience to the jury in the course of his argument and in his mannerisms and inflections and tone of voice in his statements made and in his closing argument.

"The Court, therefore, finds that Francis J. Loughran is guilty of wilful contempt of court committed in the presence of the Court while in session and wilfully, intentionally, and contemptuously done.

"It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged by the Court that Francis J. Loughran be and he is hereby held in wilful contempt by this court made in the presence of the Court while in open session and judgment is entered against the said Francis J. Loughran for the wilful contempt of court made in the presence of the Court while in open session and as a ...


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