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Roberts v. Illinois Liquor Control Commission

APRIL 15, 1965.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CHARLES S. DOUGHERTY, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


This is an appeal by retail liquor licensees from an order of the circuit court of Cook County affirming an order of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, which in turn affirmed an order of the DuPage County Local Liquor Control Commissioner. The order of the Du Page County Local Liquor Control Commissioner provided for the suspension of sale of alcoholic beverages by the plaintiffs for a period of five days, on the grounds that they had sold liquor to a minor, and the plaintiffs were placed on probation for a six months period. The order of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission sustained the five-day suspension imposed by the local liquor control commissioner and set aside the provision for the six months period of probation.

The plaintiffs contend: (1) the sale was illegally induced by entrapment; (2) the local liquor control commissioner and the Illinois Liquor Control Commission acted outside their powers because the hearings conducted by them were not fair, reasonable and impartial; (3) the proceedings violated the rights of the licensees to due process of law under the United States and Illinois Constitutions, and (4) the Illinois Liquor Control Commission failed to make proper findings of fact and therefore its order is invalid.

In their briefs the parties refer to the local liquor control commission although Paul Ronske is made a defendant in this case as local liquor control commissioner of DuPage County. By section 2 of Article 4 of an act relating to alcoholic liquors (Ill Rev Stats 1961, c 43, par 111) the president or chairman of the County Board shall be the local liquor control commissioner and his authority extends to only that area in the county which lies outside of the corporate limits of the cities, villages and incorporated towns therein. When reference is herein made to the local liquor control commissioner we are referring to Paul Ronske.

The order of the local liquor control commissioner of DuPage County was based upon the sale of a quart bottle of beer to a minor, one John Moore, on the night of July 20, 1962.

Ralph Fortman, a detective sergeant for the city of Wheaton, testified that on July 8, 1962 the police department had received complaints from neighbors to the effect that there was a lot of drinking going on and excessive noise at a certain address within the city limits of Wheaton. Subsequently police officers went to the address given and found hundreds of empty beer cans laying all over the lawn. They went into the house and found between one and two cases of liquor. There were also three or four boys present who were quite intoxicated, all of whom were juveniles. One fifteen year old boy was carried out into the car. The fifteen year old boy was arrested, together with a couple of other boys and the sergeant proceeded to interrogate them the next day and learned that there had been approximately 90 "kids" who had been at the party at one time or another. The sergeant talked to 20 or 30 boys and girls and they all said they did not know where the liquor came from but that it was just brought in by the bundles, and they had never seen a party like it. They said that they had also seen boys with beers in their hands but they didn't know where it came from.

One of the boys who was brought to the station at a later date was John Moore. He said that he did not bring in any beer, that it was quite a drinking party, that he didn't stay there very long and that he never saw anything like it. The sergeant told him that he was trying to find out where these purchases were being made. Moore stated that he believed he could make purchases at several of the taverns and he heard that different taverns sold liquor (presumably to minors). The sergeant then asked Moore if he would be willing to make purchases, and said that he wanted to talk to the State's Attorney and others and see what the circumstances would be.

The sergeant then consulted with Robert K. Matthews, chief investigator of the State's Attorney's office, William Bauer, the State's Attorney, and William Hopf, the First Assistant State's Attorney and with Sheriff Lawrence Springborne. He also talked to Mr. Ronske, whom he described as the head of the Supervisors of DuPage County; also to a Mr. Karr and Mr. George Pratt, whom he described as supervisors, and Basil White, Chief of Police of the city of Wheaton.

On the evening of July 20th at about 7 p.m. there were present at the police department John Moore, Gary Beck and Barret Johnson, all of whom were minors, Chief Investigator Matthews, Detective Gihle of the Sheriff's Department, Mr. Ronske, Mr. Karr and Mr. Pratt. The State's Attorney instructed the boys to attempt to make purchases at certain taverns and that there would be no arrest.

Fortman further testified that the plan was worked out with the Sheriff's office, the Chief of Police of the city of Wheaton, the local liquor commissioner and the State's Attorney's office of DuPage County, for these three boys to visit various retail licensees on a certain night in an endeavor to purchase liquor. The money was furnished by State's Attorney's Investigator Robert Matthews.

John Moore testified that he was born on November 27, 1943; that he was a student at the University of Illinois, and that on July 20, 1962 he was in the vicinity of Longy's Tavern at about 8:20 p.m.; that the tavern is located on Roosevelt Road, south side of the street, east of Glen Ellyn in Lombard. (The Lombard address must be a postoffice address, because if the tavern was within the municipal boundaries the county liquor control commissioner would have no jurisdiction. However, no point is made of this.)

He further testified that he was in his car with Sergeant Fortman, Barret Johnson and Gary Beck; that in a separate car trailing them were Detective Gihle and Investigator Matthews. When they reached Longy's Tavern he got out of the car, went in the front entrance, walked into the bar, waited for a bartender to come over and asked him for a quart of Budweiser. The bartender went into the back, got a quart of Budweiser beer, brought it out and put it in a paper bag. Moore paid him and brought it out to the car and gave it to Sergeant Fortman, who marked it for identification. He remembered no other conversation with the bartender and no request was made by the person who served him as to his identity and age. That on the evening of July 20th, after leaving the police station, they visited between 31 and 34 establishments and made purchases in 22 establishments.

One of the plaintiffs, Loring Schatz, testified that he is the licensee of the premises known as Longy's Tavern; that he was on the premises on the evening of July 20th at approximately 8:15; that the dining room seats about 60 and the bar would seat approximately 18 to 20. As for John Moore, he testified that he never saw the man before in his life until he went into the courthouse in Wheaton; that his practice with regard to selling to persons who may appear to be to be under age is to have them put up at least two means of identification, their ID card and a driver's license. He further testified that he might have been away from the bar at about the time that Moore testified he entered, but that he would be seated so that he could observe both the dining room and the bar. That a Mr. Frederick was behind the bar and would be the person who would wait on a customer who bought a package of liquor.

Mr. Frederick, called as a witness, testified that he is employed as a bartender at Longy's Tavern, and that he did not recall serving Mr. ...

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