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Thanasouras v. Police Board

OCTOBER 24, 1975.

MARK THANASOURAS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE POLICE BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding.

PER CURIAM (BEFORE DRUCKER, LORENZ AND SULLIVAN, JJ.):

Rehearing denied December 10, 1975.

In this appeal, pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Review Act, plaintiff challenges the validity of a police board order discharging him from the Chicago police force for violations of various departmental rules.

Plaintiff had been found in violation of Rule 3, "Failing to promote the Department's efforts to accomplish its goals," by deceiving the Department into thinking he had cooperated with the grand jury. He was also found to have violated Rule 13, "Making a false report," in that when asked by his commanding officer whether he refused to answer questions at a Federal grand jury inquiry relative to his conduct as a police officer, he replied that the only question he had refused to answer was not specific to his duty as a police officer.

At the police board hearing, it was stipulated that plaintiff's commanding officer had asked him the following question concerning his testimony at the grand jury inquiry and that he had answered as follows:

"Q: Did you refuse to answer any questions relating to your conduct as a police officer of the City of Chicago?

A: The questions that I refused to answer were, I believe, not specific to my duty as a police officer, that is to me personally."

A transcript of the grand jury testimony of plaintiff revealed that he exercised his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer all questions, including the following: "Are you presently employed by the Chicago Police Department? and "How long have you been on the police department?"

• 1 Plaintiff first objects that the grand jury questions and answers were improperly received in evidence by the police board. It appears that plaintiff and others had sued in the United States District Court to enjoin the board from proceeding against them. In that suit, an Assistant United States Attorney, without objection, read into the record the grand jury testimony of plaintiff, which included the questions and answers set forth above. Plaintiff now asserts that his "grand jury testimony was hearsay and should not have been admitted in the federal court." We note, however, that although the manner in which his testimony was received in the Federal court may have been violative of the hearsay rule, there was no objection made to his testimony being read into the record there. Thus, it became competent evidence in that proceeding. Knight v. Chicago & North Western Ry. Co., 3 Ill. App.2d 502, 123 N.E.2d 128; 34 Ill. L. & Pr. Trial § 72 (1958).

• 2 Plaintiff also contends that this testimony was improperly received by the police board as direct evidence and not for the purposes of impeachment. In this regard, we consider that the questions and answers were properly received as admissions against his interest (see McCormick on Evidence § 262 et seq. (Cleary ed. 1972); 18 Ill.L.& Pr. Evidence §§ 131 et seq. (1956)) on the issue of whether he made a false report to his commanding officer in violation of Rule 13 and thus they were admissible as direct evidence (Woodruff v. Pennsylvania R.R. Co., 52 Ill. App.2d 341, 202 N.E.2d 113; Jacks v. Woodruff, 9 Ill. App.2d 224, 132 N.E.2d 603). In any event, it appears that substantially the same testimony was given by plaintiff before the police board in the following questions and answers concerning his grand jury testimony:

"Q: But they did ask you whether you were a Police Officer?

A: Something I recall, if I was a Police Officer or where I was employed, something of that nature, yes. Specifics I can't relate.

Q: And you took the Fifth ...


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