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People v. Castanza

FEBRUARY 29, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Rehearing denied April 16, 1968.

This is an appeal from an order of revocation of probation. Defendant was originally granted probation on April 20, 1965, following his plea of guilty to a charge of violation of sections 8-2 and 11-19 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev Stats 1963, c 38, §§ 8-2 and 11-19). Those sections prohibit conspiracy to solicit and pimping. The orders granting probation provided that defendant "shall not, during the period of said probation, violate any criminal law of the State of Illinois or any ordinance of any municipality of said State. . . ."

On June 8 and June 16, 1966, Castanza's probation officer recommended to the trial court that a warrant issue for violation of probation because, on June 4, 1966, defendant had been arrested and charged with soliciting for prostitution and being a keeper of a house of ill fame. On June 16, 1966, the court issued rules to show cause why probation should not be terminated. On July 15, 1966, a hearing was held on the matter and the court, upon finding that there had been a violation of the terms of defendant's probation orders, revoked and terminated them and sentenced defendant to a term of one year in the county jail.

Defendant contends on appeal that (1) the evidence failed to prove any solicitation for prostitution or that defendant was a keeper of a house of ill fame; (2) evidence was improperly admitted, over defendant's objections, which related to activities of which defendant was given no notice nor opportunity to prepare against, thereby depriving him of due process, and (3) the decision was founded in part on conclusions of the court not fairly deducible from the evidence.

At the revocation hearing detective John McCormick testified that he entered a tavern called Vineyard A Go-Go on North Sheridan Road in Chicago about 10 p.m. on June 2, 1966. He was not in uniform. He sat down at the bar and began a conversation with the defendant by buying him a drink. McCormick said he was willing to pay money for a girl for purposes of prostitution, and defendant told him there was nothing there that night, but he should come back the following evening, a Friday. McCormick said that while he was in the tavern he observed defendant directing the bartender and the dancing girls in their duties.

He also stated that he observed numerous people come in, hand Castanza money, and leave. Castanza would then pocket the money and write some figures on pieces of paper.

McCormick returned to the tavern on June 3, 1966, about 11:30 p.m. He sat down at the bar and greeted Castanza who told Delana Rothchild to sit next to McCormick. After a conversation between the girl and the detective he told the defendant that he had offered her $40 to spend an hour with him in bed but that she refused and said she was sick. Castanza said, "Well, . . . she was sick." McCormick added that he was going to leave because there were no girls around, to which Castanza replied, "Stick around, wait awhile, somebody will be in."

Shortly after that conversation Diane Popek entered the tavern and took the seat next to McCormick, although there were other vacant seats at the bar. As she sat down Castanza grabbed the detective's arm and said, "Talk to that girl, . . . she'll take care of you." McCormick talked with the girl and then told Castanza that she said she could not go with him (McCormick) because she had a date in 45 minutes. Castanza replied, "I'll take care of things, I'll fix you up." He walked over to Popek and said, "Diane, this is a good friend of mine, I want you to take care of him. He will spend money with you."

Another conversation between McCormick and Popek occurred, McCormick told her to wait a second, he got up from his seat, went over to Castanza and said he was going to Popek's place and was going to pay her $20 to engage in sexual intercourse with him. He asked if that was too much. Castanza said, "No, do what you want, she'll tell you what she wants." The detective and the girl, who had been together for about 15 minutes, then left the tavern and went to her apartment.

McCormick related a conversation between him and Popek at the apartment concerning what he would get for his $20. The girl told him she would engage in sexual intercourse with him if he would wear a contraceptive. The girl undressed and got into bed and McCormick arrested her.

McCormick met his fellow officers, returned to the tavern, arrested defendant and searched the premises. Castanza cleared the cash register, ran a tape on the night's receipts and pocketed the money. He then took keys from his front pocket and locked the front door. The tavern owner registration was in the name of Thomas Gatto. Castanza listed his occupation with the probation officer as an employee of the place. McCormick testified that Castanza told him he owned the place. Money other than the cash register receipts was confiscated from defendant along with several slips of paper containing first names and initials and figures.

Police officer William Meade testified that he was at the Vineyard A Go-Go on June 2nd. He saw the defendant answering the phone numerous times and giving directions to two dancing girls and the bartender. He also saw at least two persons come in, hand currency to Castanza and leave.

A police officer assigned to the "juice section" of the intelligence division, John Williams, examined three slips of paper recovered from Castanza and testified that, based on his investigating experience, the slips were records of usurious loans.

Diane Popek testified that she is not a prostitute and had never been arrested prior to this time. She stated that defendant did not tell her to take McCormick to her apartment. She admitted that she always kept contraceptives in her apartment and that, upon taking McCormick there, she undressed and got into bed.

Delana Rothchild testified that Castanza never asked her to commit acts of prostitution nor directed her in her work at the tavern. She testified that she took directions in her work from the bartender and she worked only for tips. She said she knew Castanza from the tavern and that he was in there about three or four nights a week.

Officers Palmeri and McCormick testified in rebuttal that in the squad car on the way to the tavern to arrest the defendant, Popek said Castanza had previously sent her three "tricks" for purposes of prostitution.

Defendant first contends that the evidence failed to prove any solicitation for prostitution by him or that he was a keeper of a house of ill fame. Section 11-14 of the Criminal Code provides in part:

"(a) Any person who performs, offers or agrees to perform any of the following acts for money ...

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