Appeal from the Criminal Court of Cook county; the Hon. ROBERT
E. ENGLISH, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded with
MR. JUSTICE BRYANT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Writ of error from the Criminal Court of Cook County seeking to reverse judgments against defendants who were charged with the crime of conspiracy to violate the election laws during a special election of a United States Representative in Congress for the Seventh Congressional District of the State of Illinois.
The defendants contend that the State failed to prove the defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and further that the conduct of the prosecutor prevented them from receiving a fair and impartial trial.
The special election was held on December 31, 1957. The tallies from the voting machines indicated that 468 out of the 599 registered voters in the 44th Precinct of the First Ward had voted and that therefore, 131 voters had not voted. However, it was stipulated at the trial that a total of 177 registered voters in the 44th Precinct of the First Ward did not vote on that date.
The five election judges, Mary Evans, George Scott, Willie Wheat, Willie Lee Winters, and Norma Johnson and Goldie Seawood, a worker at the polling place, Morris Glickman, the precinct captain, and Albert Epstein, his associate, were charged with the crime of conspiracy.
The prosecution's case rests almost exclusively upon the testimony of the accomplice Mary Evans, who agreed to testify for the State in the apparent expectation that she would not serve an actual prison sentence.
She related that on the morning in question, two to four unidentified white men entered the polling place in this Precinct, and with the aid of Glickman, voted the machine approximately fifty times. She further testified that two white men returned in the afternoon and again with the aid of Glickman, voted the machines approximately 80 times. She was uncertain as to whether there were two, three or four white men in the morning, and also was uncertain as to whether any of these same white men had returned in the afternoon.
She further testified that the defendant Wheat tore off approximately 100 applications to ballot from the binder and gave them to the defendant Glickman who took them out of the polling place. The defendant Epstein, she said, returned with these applications and Mrs. Wheat then completed these applications and signed them. However, she had given testimony one month after the election that Epstein had not handled any applications.
She contended that this process was repeated in the afternoon. At that time, Mr. Scott was named as the person who tore off the applications and presented them to Glickman. She said that Mrs. Seawood returned with the applications with instructions from Glickman to have them filled out and signed. However, she had previously testified in the County Court that Seawood did not handle any applications nor give the instructions which were later attributed to her.
Finally, she testified that in the afternoon in question, Mr. Scott had voted the machines with Mr. Glickman approximately 70 times to permit the numbers on the machine counters to correspond with the number of applications. However, in her earlier testimony, she said that Scott had only pressed the button once.
Police officer Brennan, assigned to guard the polling place in this precinct, testified that he did not see any white men in the vicinity, aside from Glickman and Epstein. He asserted that he was in front of the polling place during the time the white strangers allegedly entered the polling place. He further testified that none of the judges complained to him of any wrongdoing.
The trial judge directed a verdict as to the defendants Epstein and Seawood because of the inconsistencies in the testimony of the accomplice, Mary Evans.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty as to Glickman, Scott, Wheat and Winters and the trial judge entered an order thereon sentencing Glickman, Scott and Wheat to one year in the County Jail and in addition, imposed a fine of $2,000 on Glickman and a fine of $1,000 on Scott. This appeal is taken from that order.
It would appear that there is little difference between the defendants as to the nature of her testimony. The testimony having been held unbelievable in regard to Epstein and Seawood, would sufficiently raise a question as to her responsibility and dependability ...