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Moretti v. Civil Service Board

OPINION FILED MARCH 24, 1954.

SALVATORE C. MORETTI, APPELLANT,

v.

CIVIL SERVICE BOARD OF THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT ET AL., APPELLEES.



Appeal by plaintiff from the Circuit Court of Cook county; the Hon. E.J. SCHNACKENBERG, Judge, presiding. Heard in the third division of this court for the first district at the June term, 1953. Affirmed. Opinion filed March 24, 1954. Rehearing denied April 21, 1954. Released for publication April 22, 1954.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE FEINBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied April 21, 1954.

Plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Cook county affirming a decision of the Civil Service Board of the Chicago Park District, discharging him from his position as a police officer of said District. The hearing before the circuit court was under the Administrative Review Act, chap. 110, pars. 264-279, Ill. Rev. Statutes 1953 [Jones Ill. Stats. Ann. 104.094(1)-104.094(16)].

Plaintiff was tried before the Civil Service Board upon the following written charges:

"1. Commission of acts of moral turpitude and gross impropriety damaging to the reputation of the service, in violation of Rule 7, Division 2, Section 12 of the Rules of the Civil Service Board of the Chicago Park District.

"2. Conduct failing to conform to the standards of the service and failing to contribute to the efficiency and dignity of the service, in violation of Rule 7, Division 2, Section 36 of the Rules of the Civil Service Board of the Chicago Park District.

"3. Failure and refusal on the part of said Salvatore C. Moretti, as a police officer sworn to uphold the law and to protect the public interest, to execute an immunity waiver, to testify before a regularly impanelled Grand Jury of the County of Cook, State of Illinois, when called upon to do so, and to cooperate with said Grand Jury."

Specifications as to each of said charges were filed with the written charges.

Upon a full hearing, the Civil Service Board made specific findings of fact as to the charges enumerated. It found plaintiff guilty of said charges, directed the discharge of plaintiff from his position as patrolman and his name removed from the civil service list of said Park District.

There is no point raised upon this appeal as to the regularity of the proceedings before the Civil Service Board.

We shall first concern ourselves with the following undisputed facts appearing in the record: Plaintiff was a patrolman in the classified service in the Chicago Park District at the time of the grievances complained of. On October 16, 1951, the regularly impaneled grand jury of Cook county was in session and conducting an inquisition into the alleged violation of certain criminal laws of the State. Harold A. Smith, upon the petition of the then regularly elected State's Attorney of Cook county, was appointed by the criminal court of Cook county as special State's Attorney for the People of the State of Illinois, to conduct certain investigations detailed in the order of the court appointing him. He in turn appointed Richard B. Austin as his assistant. Richard B. Austin has since been elected and is now one of the Judges of the superior court of Cook county.

On October 16, 1951, Harold A. Smith and Richard B. Austin were in the grand jury room informing the grand jury that an accusation had been made by several witnesses regarding an attempt by plaintiff and other members of the Moretti family to intimidate and bribe a witness in connection with charges of murder being then heard by said grand jury. By direction of the foreman of the grand jury, Austin sent a communication to plaintiff, who was then on duty as a traffic officer, to appear at the Criminal Court Building to see him. Within an hour and a half, plaintiff, without subpoena, appeared at the Criminal Court Building, and his identity was made known to Austin. Austin directed one of the officers to take charge of him until he communicated with him later. Upon Austin's direction, shortly thereafter, plaintiff was escorted into the grand jury room between 10:30 a.m. and noon of that day. He was sworn as a witness, was asked his name and address, and Austin then read an immunity waiver to plaintiff, dated October 16, 1951, which is as follows:

"I, Salvatore Moretti, have been advised of my legal rights. I know I cannot be compelled or forced to give testimony against myself before the grand jury or any court.

"I now know I do not have to make any statement nor give any answer to any question that ...


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