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Greco v. State Police Merit Board

JANUARY 22, 1969.

ALBERT GRECO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

STATE POLICE MERIT BOARD, L.F. TOMLINSON, CHAIRMAN AND MEMBER OF THE STATE POLICE MERIT BOARD, R.E. YALDEN, SECRETARY AND MEMBER OF THE STATE POLICE MERIT BOARD, GENERAL WILLIAM H. ARNOLD, MEMBER OF THE STATE POLICE MERIT BOARD, AND WILLIAM H. MORRIS, SUPERINTENDENT, DIVISION OF STATE HIGHWAY POLICE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. DONOVAN, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DRUCKER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Plaintiff filed an action in the Circuit Court seeking an administrative review of the decision of the State Police Merit Board discharging plaintiff as a Trooper on the Illinois State Police. The court affirmed the Board's decision and plaintiff appealed.

On appeal plaintiff's principal contentions are that Merit Board's denial of his demand for a Bill of Particulars and its refusal to order the production of pretrial written statements of witnesses who testified against him constituted prejudicial error and deprived him of a fair hearing.

Proceedings Before the Merit Board

On December 10, 1963, a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Safety, Division of State Highway Police, against the plaintiff, Trooper Albert Greco. The complaint alleges that respondent (plaintiff) "was guilty of one or more of the following acts, failures to act, courses of conduct, or things," and then proceeds to list seventeen items, two of which have five subparts, one of which has six subparts, and another of which has seventeen subparts. The complaint does not state any persons whom the alleged acts or failures to act affected, nor the times, dates or places where the acts were allegedly committed.

On November 19, 1964, the State Police Merit Board was informed that respondent had changed attorneys and was then being represented by Daniel A. Gallagher. On November 25, 1964, a demand for Production of Written Statements was filed. Only the written statements of respondent were sent to his attorney.

On December 2, 1964, a demand for a Bill of Particulars was filed with the State Police Merit Board. On December 7, 1964, the hearing began and respondent's attorney renewed his demand for a Bill of Particulars and also made a motion to strike and dismiss because of the vagueness of the complaint. These were denied and the taking of evidence began.

During the cross-examination of petitioner's witnesses Victor Jackson, Dorris Howard Brooks and Walter J. Buczkowski, counsel for respondent elicited the fact that they had all given written statements to the Attorney General. Counsel for respondent then specifically demanded these statements and was refused, and the Board refused to direct the Assistant Attorney General to furnish such statements.

The State Police Merit Board rendered its decision as follows:

We conclude, therefore, that respondent in participating in the receipt of kickbacks and the solicitation thereof, is guilty of violating the State Statutes concerning official misconduct, Chapter 38, Section 33-3, Illinois Revised Statutes of 1963, State Police rules and regulations "R-18" and those regulations pertaining to conduct, Articles VIII(d), IX(d), and XIV (f-1, 3, 4 and 7).

2. That irrespective of any rules and regulations of the Illinois State Police Force, the conduct of the respondent in soliciting and accepting kickbacks from tow service operators, demonstrates conduct which is unbecoming any State Police Officer and tends to bring the organization for which he works into disrepute.

Plaintiff was discharged from the State Highway Police Force as of November 15, 1963.

Decision

Plaintiff first contends that he deserves a new hearing before the Merit Board because he was not sufficiently apprised of the charges against him due to the vagueness of the original complaint and the refusal of the Merit Board to grant his request for a Bill of Particulars. The complaint before the Merit Board alleged that plaintiff was guilty of committing one or more of seventeen different "acts, failures to act, courses of conduct, or things" which violate one or more of thirty-two various statutes, oaths of office, rules and regulations, general orders or job descriptions. The complaint did not contain the names of any individuals against whom ...


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