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People Ex Rel. Legislative Com. v. Keefe

OPINION FILED JANUARY 19, 1967.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON LOW INCOME HOUSING, APPELLEE,

v.

RICHARD A. KEEFE ET AL., APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. DONOVAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This direct appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County directing compliance with certain subpoenas issued by the Legislative Commission on Low Income Housing attacks the constitutional sufficiency of the subpoena provisions and the correctness of certain rulings of the circuit court in the subpoena enforcement proceeding instituted by the commission.

On August 17, 1965, the General Assembly created the Legislative Commission on Low Income Housing by House Bill 2035. Section 3 authorizes the commission to:

"(a) Collect, correlate, analyze and evaluate information relating to rental housing expenditures of recipients of public aid, the housing conditions under which public aid recipients live and the availability of additional low income or public housing for all citizens of Illinois in need thereof;

"(b) Investigate the feasibility, practicability and desirability of legislation which will improve programs for the housing of recipients of public aid and recommend such legislation as it deems appropriate."

Section 5 of the act provides that: "In the conduct of any investigation hereunder, the Commission may subpoena witnesses and issue subpoenas to require the production of books, records, papers and other documents relevant to the matter under inquiry.

"If any person refuses or neglects to appear and testify or to produce the relevant books, records, papers or other documents, the Commission may petition any Circuit Court for an order requiring the witness to attend and testify or to produce the documentary evidence. The Circuit Court shall hear the petition and may enter an order requiring the witness to obey the subpoena. The Court may compel obedience to the order by attachment for contempt or in the same manner as production of evidence may be compelled before that court."

The commission is required to file its report by March 1, 1967, and the commission is terminated effective July 1, 1967.

On February 18, 1966, the commission issued subpoenas directing the defendants to appear before it and produce listed documents. The subpoenas stated that:

"The People of the State of Illinois, by and under authority of an `Act creating a commission to study rental housing expenditures of recipients of public aid, the housing conditions under which recipients of public aid live and the availability of additional low income or public housing for all citizens of Illinois in need thereof, defining its powers and duties and making an appropriation therefor,' approved August 17, 1965, House Bill No. 2035, 74th General Assembly of the State of Illinois, do hereby command, all and singular excuses being set aside, that you be and appear before the Commission established by said Act at Room 2100, State of Illinois Building, 160 North La Salle Street in the City of Chicago, County of Cook, Illinois, on the 2d day of March 1966, at the hour of 12:01, P.M., and from day to day thereafter as you may be directed, then and there to give testimony and answer such questions as shall be put to you concerning matters and things pertinent to the investigation then to be conducted by the Commission pursuant to said Act.

"You Are Commanded Also to bring at said time and place the documents and other things requested by the list which is attached hereto and made a part hereof."

The subpoenas were personally served on February 20 and 21. While the lists attached to them varied, the one attached to defendant Keefe's will be used as an example:

"Contract to Purchase Deed Trust ...


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