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Village of Oak Park v. Flanagan

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 10, 1975.

THE VILLAGE OF OAK PARK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JOHN FLANAGAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. — THE VILLAGE OF OAK PARK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JAY LANE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. NORMAN A. KORFIST, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DIERINGER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendants, John Flanagan and Jay Lane, appeal from judgments of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Fourth Municipal District, finding them guilty of violating section 30.6(1) of the Code of the Village of Oak Park, pertaining to parking.

The issues presented for review are whether the Village's complaints were legally sufficient and whether section 30.6(1) of the Code of the Village of Oak Park, which prohibits parking on any Oak Park street between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., except for emergency vehicles, is a reasonable exercise of the power conferred by the legislature on local authorities.

On October 5, 1971, the Village commenced an action against Jay Lane alleging he had violated the ordinance in question at a particular time and place and alleged he had a total of 14 unpaid parking summonses in the amount of $57.

On October 8, 1971, the Village commenced a similar action against John Flanagan, charging him with violating the ordinance at a particular time and place and charging him with having a total of 87 unpaid parking summonses in the amount of $408.

The violations all accrued prior to the effective date of the home rule provisions of the Constitution of 1970 of the State of Illinois.

John Flanagan moved to strike the allegation of the complaint which referred to the total number of violations as being surplusage and to dismiss the cause. The motion was denied by the court.

At trial on July 31, 1973, in the case of John Flanagan, the court allowed the Village to file a computer print-out designating the ticket number, date of violation, license number, violation location, and amount of fine of each of the 87 unpaid summonses as a bill of particulars. Flanagan renewed his motion to strike the allegation of the additional unpaid parking summonses and the motion was denied. The defendant therein stipulated that the violations occurred on the dates and at the locations indicated on the print-out sheet.

On July 31, 1973, the court found both defendants guilty of violating the ordinance. Jay Lane was fined a total of $70 plus $5 costs, and John Flanagan was fined a total of $435 plus costs of $5.

The defendants first contend the court erred in denying the motion to strike the portion of the complaint alleging a total number of unpaid parking summonses. They contend there was a joinder of separate claims or causes of action upon which separate recoveries might be had contrary to section 33(2) of the Civil Practice Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 110, § 33(2).) At trial counsel for the defendant stated that 87 separate offenses required a separate charge for each.

• 1 In Illinois a municipality's authority to collect fines for ordinance violations has been traditionally characterized as quasi-criminal, and the Civil Practice Act applies. (City of Danville v. Hartshorn (1973), 53 Ill.2d 399; Village of Midlothian v. Walling (1969), 118 Ill. App.2d 358.) It is well established that a quasi-criminal complaint need not be drawn with the precision of an indictment or information, and it is adequate if it informs the defendant sufficiently to enable him to prepare his defense. If circumstances are such as to make a more detailed statement necessary, a motion of that nature can be made. (Village of Park Forest v. Nicklas (1968), 103 Ill. App.2d 99; City of Chicago v. Dowdell (1970), 126 Ill. App.2d 58.) Section 33(3) of the Civil Practice Act requires that the pleadings be liberally construed with a view to doing substantial justice between the parties.

In essence, the Village's complaint, together with the computer print-out as the bill of particulars, is one complaint with 87 separate counts. It was adequate to inform the defendant as to the nature of the offense and he was fully able to contest the facts of each violation had he chosen to do so. Flanagan, however, neither answered the complaint nor denied guilt, but stipulated to the facts.

Under these circumstances, there was no prejudice to the defendant, and the complaint was sufficient.

The defendants next contend section 30.6(1) of the Code of the Village of Oak Park prohibiting parking between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. is not a reasonable exercise of the power ...


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