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People v. Dillon

MARCH 18, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ALLEN F. ROSIN, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


A complaint was filed in the Third Municipal District in which the complainant, Mrs. Estelle Ellison, as agent for Chesterfield Interiors, ". . . states that John F. Dillon, a/k/a Edward McCormick, a/k/a E. Leonard has, on or about June 26, 1965 . . . committed the offense of theft of labor and services in that he knowingly obtained by deception the use of services and property upon which complainant had a lien and claim for services and materials furnished, which said property exceeds in value, the sum of $150.00, in violation of Chapter 38 Section 16-3 Illinois Revised Statute . . ." The defendant waived a trial by jury, and was found by a magistrate guilty as charged in the complaint. The court sentenced him to eight months in the County Jail.

On appeal, the defendant contends:

(1) that the complaint does not set out a violation of the criminal laws;

(2) that the complaint, such as it is, charges a felony; therefore, the magistrate had no jurisdiction to try the case and render ultimate judgment;

(3) insufficient evidence was introduced upon which the magistrate could make a finding of guilty;

(4) that the magistrate ordered defendant to testify in violation of his constitutional right to remain silent; and

(5) that the evidence disclosed that the state was a willing vehicle in the collection of delinquent accounts for complainant.

We summarize the evidence. Estelle Ellison, Secretary-Treasurer for Chesterfield Interiors, Inc., testified that on June 8, 1965, she received a phone call from a woman, representing herself to be Mrs. Dillon, and that Mrs. Dillon requested that someone be sent out to her home to estimate the cost of reupholstering three chairs and a sofa. Robert Ellison, President of Chesterfield Interiors, testified that he went out to 630 Maple Court in Mount Prospect, Illinois, to make the estimate previously referred to. He met a man at the door who stated that he was John Dillon. The witness then identified the defendant as the man who had claimed to be Dillon. Ellison further testified that the defendant told him to wait until his wife got home. When the defendant's wife arrived, Ellison showed her sample fabrics and they agreed on a price for the work. Ellison then made out an order for the work which he stated was signed by the defendant with the name of John Dillon. An order signed "J. Dillon," which set forth certain work to be performed on a sofa and three chairs by Chesterfield Interiors, was then introduced in evidence. Ellison testified that he received a $25 deposit from the defendant and arranged to have the furniture picked up the following morning. After the work on the furniture had been completed, delivery was arranged for Saturday, June 26.

Ronald McHugh, a driver for McHugh Van Lines, testified that on June 26, 1965, he delivered a sofa and three chairs to 630 Maple Court in Mount Prospect, and was met at the door by the defendant, who said to bring the furniture inside. McHugh further testified that he then told the defendant that an amount of $400 C.O.D. was due, and that the defendant responded by stating, "Mr. Dillon is out and he didn't expect delivery until around 2 o'clock." The defendant represented himself to McHugh as the brother-in-law of Mr. Dillon. McHugh stated that he then called the office and was told to get the defendant's signature on the delivery receipt. According to McHugh, the defendant signed the receipt; and a delivery receipt of Chesterfield Interiors, stating that the furniture had been accepted for "Mr. Dillon" and signed by one "E. Leonard" was introduced in evidence.

Estelle Ellison also testified to the fact that on June 26th, she received a phone call from a man who claimed to be Mr. Dillon, and Dillon, at that time, complained that the work done on the furniture was unsatisfactory in some respects. Robert Ellison testified that on the evening of June 26, he went out again to the defendant's home. The defendant complained about the sofa frame, and Ellison offered to send a man out the next day to fix it; Ellison also offered to take $20 off of the price, and asked the defendant to pay him the balance. Ellison testified that the defendant said no, and stated that he would pay the man when the work was finished. He and the defendant agreed that the "finisher" would come out the next evening, but the defendant was not at home when the man arrived to fix the furniture. Ellison stated that the defendant retained the reupholstered furniture and never made any attempt to pay the total amount due of $463.76.

The defendant took the stand and stated that his name was Edward McCormick, and that he, his wife, his child, and John Dillon, his brother-in-law, all resided together at 630 Maple Court in Mount Prospect. He testified that on June 9, 1965, he and his wife returned home and found his brother-in-law talking with Mr. Ellison. His wife then joined the conversation and he went into another room to talk on the phone. He further testified that the articles of furniture reupholstered by complainant were owned outright by John Dillon. McCormick denied that he talked to Ellison at any time after June 9th; and he also stated that he had neither given the $25 deposit to Ellison nor signed the order for the work. On June 26th, when McHugh came to deliver the furniture, he told him that he wouldn't sign the delivery receipt, and he didn't sign it.

John Dillon testified that he resided with the McCormicks, and that he had lived with them at 630 Maple Court for a little over a year. He further testified that he owned the furniture that had been reupholstered, and that he, and not his brother-in-law, Edward McCormick, had made the deal with Ellison and paid the $25 deposit. Dillon stated that he had not signed the order. Dillon said he called up to complain about the quality of the reupholstery work, and he was at home when the man was supposed to come out to fix the furniture; however, no one showed up. When recalled as a State's witness, Dillon produced his driver's license which showed that he resided at 5853 North Winthrop Avenue in Chicago. He stated, however, on cross-examination, that the aforementioned address was where his mother resided, and although he received his mail there and had his car registered to that address, he travelled two-thirds of the time. When he came to Chicago he said he stayed with the McCormicks.

At the conclusion of the evidence, the court denied the motion to dismiss, which it had previously taken under advisement at the close of the State's case, and found that the defendant ...

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