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In Re Extradition of Leonard

APRIL 30, 1975.


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. MICHAEL A. ORENIC, Judge, presiding.


Petitioner Thomas C. Leonard appeals from an order of the Circuit Court of Will County which denied his petition for habeas corpus, and which remanded him to the custody of the authorities for extradition to the State of Alabama.

The record in the case discloses that Thomas C. Leonard was convicted of aggravated incest by a Cook County Circuit Court on April 12, 1968, and that he was sentenced to a term of 4 to 8 years in the penitentiary. Six days thereafter, the State of Alabama filed a detainer on petitioner Leonard in the nature of a requisition demand signed by Alabama Governor Wallace.

The demand stated that:

___________________________________________ "Thomas C. Leonard aka Ned Wilder ISP 63337 stands charged with the crime of Convicted of Robbery (1st & 2nd) Assault with Intent to Rob and Escaped from Lawful Custody * * *." (The portions underlined represent the language filled in the blanks on the printed demand form.)

According to underlying indictments and the petition of L.B. Sullivan, Commissioner of the Alabama Board of Corrections, one T.C. Leonard was indicted in 1939 on a robbery charge and upon conviction was sentenced to several years on probation. In 1941 he was indicted again on two robbery charges. Upon conviction in both cases, he was sentenced to consecutive terms of 12 1/2 years in the penitentiary; his probation on the earlier conviction was revoked; and the probation sentence was replaced with a consecutive 5-year sentence. Leonard thus began a 30-year sentence in prison. According to Commissioner Sullivan's petition, Thomas Leonard escaped from the penitentiary at Montgomery, Alabama, on July 25, 1960.

Petitioner Leonard was granted parole by Illinois Parole Board effective on February 22, 1974, subject to the dismissal of the outstanding Alabama fugitive warrant. Leonard was still in custody on June 28, 1974, when his attorneys notified the Will County State's Attorney, Martin Rudman, Stateville Warden Joseph Cannon, and Commissioner Sullivan, that they would file a petition on July 10 for habeas corpus. Copies of the four-page petition and the accompanying documents were attached. On July 19, 1974, petitioner and his attorneys appeared in court and filed the petition and supporting documents. An assistant State's attorney was present, appearing on behalf of Warden Cannon. No responsive pleadings were filed by anyone. The assistant State's attorney was permitted to argue in the case over defense objections. The only testimony in the case consisted of brief questioning of petitioner, in the course of which he simply denied ever being known as "T.C. Leonard."

The trial court concluded that the requisition demand of Governor Wallace on behalf of Alabama, and the resulting rendition warrants signed by Governor Walker on behalf of the State of Illinois, were regular on their face and that no grounds existed for granting a writ of habeas corpus. The extradition of fugitives from justice, from one State to another, is provided for in the United States Constitution (art. IV, § 2), and in the Federal Statutes (18 U.S.C. § 3182). In Illinois and other States, more specific rules are set forth in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 60, pars. 18-49).

• 1 In People ex rel. Jolley v. Koeppel (1969), 42 Ill.2d 257, 260, 246 N.E.2d 247, the Illinois Supreme Court states:

"The only purpose of extradition is the return of the fugitive to the place of the alleged offense. The proceeding is not attended with the rules and formalities of an inquiry into the merits of the charges, and the statute should be given a liberal application to accomplish a return of the fugitive summarily."

(See also People ex rel. Hackler v. Lohman (1959), 17 Ill.2d 78, 84, 160 N.E.2d 792.) In a further outline of principles applicable to extradition, the supreme court of this State stated in People ex rel. Ritholz v. Sain (1962), 24 Ill.2d 168, 173, 180 N.E.2d 464:

"Nonetheless, the right of personal liberty the fugitive enjoys under the United States constitution gives him the right to require in an extradition proceeding that he be substantially and in good faith charged with an offense against the laws of the demanding State, that he be afforded an opportunity to show he is not in fact a fugitive from justice, and that the demand be made in due and proper form."

• 2, 3 It is thus apparent that a person sought to be extradited may contest the propriety of such action by bringing a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 60, § 27). The scope of inquiry in such proceeding is limited to three questions: (1) whether the accused is substantially charged with the crime under the laws of the demanding State; (2) whether the person in custody is the person charged; and (3) whether he is a fugitive from justice (People ex rel. Kubala v. Woods (1972), 52 Ill.2d 48, 54, 284 N.E.2d 80; People ex rel. Hackler v. Lohman (1959), 17 Ill.2d 78, 84, 160 N.E.2d 792). Petitioner contends that the trial court committed error in denying his petition and that the Alabama requisition demand and Illinois rendition warrant executed thereon are insufficient. He also contends that the State failed to make a prima facie case against the petitioner. The arguments are framed in contentions that (1) the trial court did not read the relevant documents or the petition; (2) the respondents did not file a written answer to the petition; (3) it was not shown that petitioner is the same person as is being sought by Alabama; and (4) that it was not shown that petitioner was a fugitive from justice.

As to the first argument of petitioner, he asserts that the hearing lasted only about 30 minutes and contends that the trial judge could not possibly have read the papers in that time. While the petition and the other documents were apparently filed the same day of the hearing, it is not known how much time the judge might have had to read the papers before the hearing. The court could also have read the papers sufficiently to understand what was being presented during the hearing. The court pointed out to counsel that he had heard many such extradition cases in the past and ...

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