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People v. Wilson

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 18, 1975.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

LAURA WILSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DAVID CERDA, Judge, presiding.

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

Defendant, Laura Wilson, was convicted of direct criminal contempt of court by the circuit court of Cook County, and sentenced to 40 days' imprisonment. She appeals, raising the issue of whether the evidence showed that she was guilty of criminal contempt of court.

We affirm.

The record of proceedings shows that defendant was a spectator in one of the more congested branch courtrooms of the circuit court of Cook County when she became involved in verbal altercations with three court bailiffs who requested that she remain quiet during the court proceedings. The affair culminated when the courtroom captain (bailiff-in-charge) told the defendant to be quiet, and the defendant loudly responded saying "Fuck you, you mother fucker." The judge heard those words. The assistant State's attorney then filed the following petition:

"Now comes BERNARD CAREY, State's Attorney of Cook County on a Motion of this Honorable Court to move said Court to hold Laura Wilson, respondent, in direct contempt and in support thereof alleges the following:

1. Respondent appeared in the Courtroom of the Honorable David Cerda on November 13, 1974 as a spectator.

2. That while in the Courtroom the Respondent became abusive in that she used loud language, loud enough to disturb the proper function of said Court.

3. The Court directed the Bailiffs to maintain the said dignity of said Court.

4. While instructing the Respondent to remain quiet, said Laura Wilson used the following language; `Fuck you, you mother fucker', again causing the Court to stop its normal procedure.

WHEREFORE, your petitioner prays that said Respondent be found in direct contempt of this Honorable Court and prays for sentence instanter."

A hearing was held in the matter. The bailiffs testified as to the incident, as did defendant. Defendant's testimony was that the courtroom captain called her a bitch. The prior testimony of the courtroom captain was that he may have called her a name in the heat of argument, but could not remember what he called her. At the end of the hearing, the trial court found defendant guilty of contempt of court, stating: "The defendant was loud and noisy and interrupted the court proceedings, and she did say to [the deputy], `Fuck You'." The court then added:

"With so many female defendants picked up for loitering-prostitution or for prostitution, a very difficult task falls on the deputy sheriffs to maintain quiet in the courtroom, so that an orderly proceeding of cases continue to flow.

I think we have to set an example with this defendant so that the other girls in the future will be quiet and not interrupt court proceedings, and not use ...


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