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Day v. Illinois Liquor Commission

JANUARY 24, 1963.

ROBERT G. DAY, MAYOR AND LIQUOR COMMISSIONER FOR THE CITY OF PEORIA, ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ILLINOIS LIQUOR COMMISSION AND HAROLD L. PARKER, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. J.E. RICHARDS, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

WRIGHT, P.J.

Rehearing denied April 2, 1963.

The defendant-appellant, Harold L. Parker, d/b/a Harold's Club, holds a Class A Liquor License issued by the plaintiff-appellee, Robert G. Day, as Mayor and Liquor Commissioner of the City of Peoria, Illinois. Defendant-appellant has operated a dram shop in Peoria for about eight years last past at 103 North Washington Street. The license requires the operator to close at 4:00 o'clock a.m.

Pursuant to notice and after hearing held on July 14, 1961, plaintiff-appellee on July 18, 1961, rendered a decision finding that the defendant-appellant was guilty of operating his tavern after closing hours and the commission of the crime of bribing or attempting to bribe a police officer and entered an order revoking defendant-appellant's local liquor license.

Defendant-appellant appealed this decision to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the commission on November 8, 1961, reversed the decision of the plaintiff-appellee, and subsequently denied a Petition for Rehearing.

Plaintiff-appellee afterwards on December 6, 1961, filed in the Circuit Court of Peoria County a Complaint for Administrative Review of the decision of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and that court on May 17, 1962, entered its order finding that the decision of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence and reversed the decision and affirmed the order revoking the defendant-appellant's local liquor license entered on July 18, 1961, by the plaintiff-appellee, and further ordering that the liquor license issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission to the defendant-appellant be revoked. From this order, defendant-appellant appeals.

Defendant-appellant contends that the facts in the record sustains the finding of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and that the Circuit Court erred in decreeing that the findings of the commission were contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence and in reversing its order.

Briefly the evidence adduced at the hearing before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission discloses that on the morning of June 25, 1961, police officers Boucher and Trefry arrived at Harold's Club between 4:20 and 4:30 o'clock a.m. to make a routine check as to whether the tavern was closed. They found the door locked and upon knocking at the door, they were admitted by Parker, defendant-appellant herein, and found eighteen persons in the tavern, seven of whom were employees, the other eleven being customers. There were glasses on the tables and the bar partially filled with various beverages. No drinks were served while the officers were in the club. Shortly afterwards, Sgt. Barber arrived at the club and the names and addresses of those present were taken but no arrests were made.

During the course of the investigation by police officers, a conversation was held by the defendant-appellant and Sgt. Barber. The testimony concerning this conversation is somewhat conflicting.

Sgt. Barber testified that the defendant-appellant wanted to talk to him and that a conversation did take place outside the building immediately after Barber arrived and that the defendant-appellant asked him "if there was any way to square this beef, he couldn't stand it," and I said, "I don't know how," and he said, "he could go to 35 or 40 bucks." Barber testified that he told defendant-appellant that he would have to see someone else besides him that he could not square it. Barber testified that he re-entered the building and called Lt. McMillan at Police Headquarters and advised him of defendant-appellant's conversation and offer of bribe. Barber further testified that Parker again called him to the front of the tavern and offered him an "Ace" $100 to squash the beef.

With reference to this conversation, defendant-appellant stated that he asked Barber to step outside and that he had said to Barber that we have been friends for years and that he asked Barber if all of these people are going to jail and Barber stated he did not know and then Parker said surely you can suggest something. I can't stand this beef. Every time I open my door, I am written up in the paper. He further stated that Barber then suggested that he take $100 down to the Lieutenant. Parker further testified that about twenty-five or thirty minutes later, he went to the police station where he entered the office of Lt. McMillan and that there was present in the office Lt. McMillan, officers Boucher, Trefry and Sgt. Barber, and that concealed in a closet in the office was Officer Helm, whose presence was unknown to the defendant-appellant, and that after some discussion about being open after closing hours he placed a roll of bills on McMillan's desk which he thought was a hundred dollars and McMillan said, "is that for bribery," and I said, "I wouldn't think of bribing you." McMillan then called for Helm to step out of the closet and ordered defendant-appellant placed under arrest.

Subsequently a city warrant was issued charging the defendant-appellant with a violation of the closing hour regulation of the City of Peoria. Later the defendant-appellant was found guilty of the violation in the Justice of the Peace Court and in the Circuit Court and a fine assessed in the amount of $100 plus costs.

Defendant-appellant was also indicted for bribing of a police officer but no action has been taken on this indictment.

The question before us on this appeal is whether or not the Illinois Liquor Control Commission was justified in reversing the order of the local commissioner of the City of Peoria on the basis of the evidence adduced at the hearing. The relevant statutory ...


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