Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard
in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County;
the Hon. David Cerda, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
In a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County defendant, Alexander Pujoue, was convicted of unlawful use of weapons in violation of section 24-1(a)(10) of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 24-1(a)(10)) and sentenced to 90 days in the House of Corrections. Defendant appealed, the appellate court reversed (23 Ill. App.3d 810), and we allowed the People's petition for leave to appeal.
This action was commenced by the filing of a complaint prepared on a printed form apparently intended for use in charging violations of either section 24-1(a)(4) or 24-1(a)(10) of the Criminal Code. Section 24-1, in pertinent part, provided:
"(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(4) Carries concealed in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business any pistol, revolver or other firearm; or
(10) Carries or possesses in a vehicle or on or about his person within the corporate limits of a city, village or incorporated town, except when on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business, any loaded pistol, revolver or other firearm."
As reproduced in the record and briefs the complaint contains three versions of the reference to the statute allegedly violated, but as set forth in defendant's brief the complaint reads as follows:
"Officer W. Gehl complainant, * * * states that Alexander Pujoue has, on or about 4 Nov 1972 at Arthington & Kedzie, Cook County Ill committed the offense of Unlawful Use of Weapons in that he knowingly carried
concealed (in a vehicle) or (on or about his person) a firearm to wit: 32 Cal H & R Revolver Serial Number AJ 77584 in violation of Chapter 38, Section 24-1a410 * * *."
The appellate court reversed the conviction on the ground that in omitting the allegation that the revolver was loaded the complaint failed to set forth an element of the offense and therefore did not comply with section 111-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 38, par. 111-3), which in pertinent part provided:
"(a) A charge shall be in writing and allege the commission of an offense by:
(2) Citing the statutory provision alleged to have been violated;
(3) Setting forth the nature and elements of the offense charged;"
The People contend that the judgment of the appellate court is erroneous and argue: "A statute that is specifically cited by name and section on the face of a complaint is `incorporated by reference' into the pleading for purposes of determining the court's jurisdiction, the accused's notification of the charge and the accused's freedom from double jeopardy." They argue further that "with the advent of an array of discovery mechanisms and the availability of trial transcripts, criminal pleading has been liberalized to such an extent that a formal complaint is no longer narrowly construed with pretended naivete. People v. Jones, 53 Ill.2d 460, 464, 292 N.E.2d 361 (1973); People v. Garmon, 19 Ill. App.3d 192, 195, 311 N.E.2d 299 (1st Dist. 3d Div. 1974). A plain evaluation of the complaint in this case reasonably shows that the charge, read in its entirety ...