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Kerr v. Police Board of Chicago

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 18, 1974.

CLARENCE F. KERR, APPELLEE,

v.

THE POLICE BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edward J. Egan, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This case arises from proceedings originally held before the Police Board of the City of Chicago. The Police Board suspended Clarence Kerr for six months. The circuit court of Cook County, hearing the case on administrative review, reversed the judgment of the Police Board, and found that the judgment of that body was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. (12 Ill. App.3d 901.) We granted leave to appeal.

The appellants argue that the courts below have exceeded their statutory jurisdiction by substituting their evaluation of the credibility of witnesses for that of the finder of facts; and that the "manifest weight of the evidence" rule should be abandoned in favor of the "substantial evidence" standard followed in the Federal courts.

We will first consider the suggestion that we adopt the "substantial evidence" test. That contention was recently raised by the same Police Board in the case of Basketfield v. Police Board of Chicago (1974), 56 Ill.2d 351. In Basketfield, this court, at pages 358-359, stated:

"Initially appellant seeks to have this court apply a `substantial evidence' standard as used in the Federal system for review of administrative matters (5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(E)). It suggests adaptation of the Pedrick norm to define the term `substantial evidence.' (Pedrick v. Peoria and Eastern R.R. Co., 37 Ill.2d 494, 510.) We reject this contention. Under the Administrative Review Act the permissible scope of judicial inquiry concerning factual determinations by administrative agencies has been limited to ascertaining if the agency decision was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. (Davern v. Civil Service Com. of Chicago, 47 Ill.2d 469, 471-2, cert. denied, 403 U.S. 918.) This court, however, will not hesitate to grant relief where the record does not disclose evidentiary support for the agency's determination. Harrison v. Civil Service Com. of Chicago, 1 Ill.2d 137."

We will therefore look to the facts as established in the record and apply the "manifest weight of the evidence" rule.

The charges against Sergeant Kerr were set forth in the following specifications:

"It is charged that Sergeant Clarence Kerr, Star No. 1250, a sergeant of police in the service of the City of Chicago was guilty of violating Rule 2, `Any action or conduct which impedes the Department's efforts to achieve its goals, or brings discredit upon the Department,' as specified in the following paragraphs:

It is further charged that Sergeant Clarence Kerr, was guilty of violating Rule 5, `Failure to perform a duty', in that on November 13, 1969, having knowledge that one Helmuth Konrad had committed several traffic violations he did not take appropriate action to have Konrad charged with said violations.

It is further charged that Sergeant Clarence Kerr, was guilty of violating Rule 5, `Failure to perform a duty', in that on November 13, 1969 he did not exercise his supervisory authority over patrolman Frank Visco, his subordinate, to see that the proper reports and citations were made and issued regarding their investigation of an accident involving one Helmuth Konrad.

It is further charged that Sergeant Clarence Kerr, was guilty of violating Rule 21, `Failure to report to the Department any violation of the Rules and Regulations or any improper conduct,' in that on November 13, 1969, though being present when patrolman Frank Visco solicited a sum of money and accepted the sum of approximately $300.00 from a Mrs. Konrad, he did not report said actions to the Department.

It is further charged that Sergeant Clarence Kerr, was guilty of violating Rule 21, `Failure to report to the Department any violation of the Rules and Regulations or any improper conduct,' in that on November 13, 1969 having knowledge that his subordinate did falsify an official report regarding an accident did not report said act to the Department."

The Police Board made specific findings of fact after the hearing was had, and found Sergeant Kerr guilty of violating Rules 2 and 5, the violation of ...


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