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Murphy v. Police Board of City of Chicago

APRIL 10, 1968.

ULYSSES MURPHY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

POLICE BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND O.W. WILSON, SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



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

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This appeal is from a judgment of the Circuit Court under the Administrative Review Act, upholding the action of the Police Board of the City of Chicago in ordering the discharge of plaintiff from his position as a patrolman in the Police Department. Plaintiff raises the sole contention that the hearing which led to the Board's discharge order was void for want of jurisdiction.

On June 6, 1963, the Superintendent of Police filed with the Police Board certain charges against plaintiff alleging violations of the Rules and Regulations of the Chicago Police Department. Plaintiff was notified that a hearing on the charges would be held July 11, 1963. On that date a hearing was convened and, after the prosecution had presented all its witnesses, the matter was continued to September 12, 1963. On September 12, the defense witnesses were heard, and at the conclusion of that hearing the matter was taken under advisement until November 7, 1963, when a "Finding and Decision" was issued, reading in pertinent part:

"The Police Board of the City of Chicago, as a result of its investigation of the charges, finds and determines that:

"2. The charges were filed in writing, and a notice, stating the time and date when and the place where a hearing of the charges was to be held, together with a copy of the charges, was served upon the respondent more than five (5) days prior to the hearing on the charges.

"3. The hearing on the charges was completed before Theophilus M. Mann, a Member of the Police Board, on September 12, 1963.

"4. Throughout the hearing the Respondent did appear in person and was represented by legal counsel of his own choosing.

"By reason of the findings of fact and of guilt herein, cause exists for the discharge of the Respondent from his position as a patrolman and as a member of the Department of Police of the City of Chicago, therefore,

"It Is Hereby Ordered, that the Respondent Ulysses Murphy, be and is discharged, from his position as a patrolman in the Department of Police, and from the service of the City of Chicago,

"Dated at Chicago, County of Cook, State of Illinois, this 7th day of November, 1963.

/s/ Theophilus M. Mann Member of Trial Board /s/ Paul W. Goodrich /s/ Theophilus M. Mann /s/ F.M. Kreml /s/ William L. McFetridge /s/ Morgan F. Murphy Member of Police Board /s/ R.J. Hauser Secretary of Police Board"

It is undisputed that on the hearing dates mentioned above, the only member of the Police Board who sat and heard the evidence was Theophilus M. Mann. Consistent with this fact, it may be noted that the "Finding and Decision" was signed by Mann as "Member of Trial Board" and also as one of the five Members of the Police Board.

No issue was raised as to the Board's purported appointment of Mann as the "Trial Board," and if there had been any technical defect in such appointment, it would have been cured by the actions taken by the Board on November 7, 1963. People v. Powell, 127 Ill. App. 614. However, plaintiff does contend that the statute empowering the Board to remove or suspend a police officer require that a hearing be conducted before the entire Board.

The empowering statute as it existed at the commencement of this provided, and the current statute still ...


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