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City of Rockford v. Maxwell

FEBRUARY 23, 1968.

CITY OF ROCKFORD, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

MELVIN MAXWELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Magistrate Division; the Hon. EDWIN J. KOTCHE, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

The City of Rockford, herein referred to as City, appeals from a judgment finding the defendant, Melvin Maxwell, not guilty of violating a city ordinance.

The ordinance in question makes it unlawful for any resident of the City to drive a motor vehicle upon the public ways of the municipality without first obtaining a license for said vehicle. All such licenses, by ordinance, expire on the 31st day of May following the date of issuance.

There being no verbatim transcript of evidence available, a proposed report of proceedings in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 323(c) was filed herein which disclosed that on February 8, 1967, the defendant, an employee of Chas. Ind Co., an Illinois corporation, was driving a truck owned by the corporation within the geographic boundaries of the City without said license and was arrested.

At the bench trial before a magistrate, the City called the arresting officer who testified that the truck was without a city vehicle tag and that 1415 Point Avenue is located within the confines of the City of Rockford. The City then introduced into evidence, over the objection of the defendant, a publication issued by the Secretary of State of Illinois entitled "The Certified List of Foreign and Domestic Corporations for the Year 1966," where at page 371 the following entry was made:

Chas. Ind Co. Chas. Ind-1415 Point Avenue, Rockford

Point Ave. R.R. #1 Louise Poivey, 1415 Point Avenue, Rockford

Rockford Chas. Ind

Neither this exhibit or a copy of the same is to be found in the record.

The defendant, without objection, introduced into evidence a copy of the registration card of the vehicle issued by the Secretary of State. This exhibit indicated the address of Chas. Ind Co. to be 5548 Warehouse Road. The defendant's only witness, Chas. Ind, testified that at this address there is a warehouse in which vehicles are stored and that the address is not within the confines of the City. On cross-examination, the City attempted to determine the place from which vehicles owned by the corporation were dispatched but the magistrate sustained the defendant's objection to such inquiry.

On the reverse side of the traffic ticket and complaint, under which this cause was tried, there appears the following written statement signed by the magistrate:

"Not Guilty — testimony and evidence presented indicated vehicle in question was registered (verified) at 5548 Warehouse Rd. on February 2, 1967 — (outside limits of City of Rockford) Court also notes arrest was made on Feb. 8, 1967." [Emphasis added.]

It is contended by the appellant (1) that a motor vehicle assumes the legal residence of its owner and the evidence in this case established the owner of the truck (Chas. Ind Co.) to be a resident within the City of Rockford; (2) in the alternative, that the trial court committed reversible error by restricting cross-examination.

The City argues that the residence of a corporation is the address of its registered agent; that the Secretary of State's certified list disclosed the address of the registered agent in this case to be 1415 Point Avenue, Rockford, Illinois; that the evidence is uncontradicted that such address is within the corporate ...


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