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People v. Doe





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Putnam County; the Hon. CHARLES M. WILSON, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied May 31, 1978.

This is an appeal from the circuit court of Putnam County which found respondent Wosik, an attorney, in contempt of court and imposed a fine in the sum of $500 upon him when he, the respondent, refused to surrender to a grand jury a document characterized as a suicide note and which he had received from someone other than the author of the note.

In July of 1977 Larry Bogner was under indictment in Putnam County for the crime of rape. On August 1, 1977, Larry Bogner was found in his bedroom unconscious as the result of an apparent suicide attempt. Greg Bogner, the brother of Larry, found the suicide note in his brother's room and took it with him to the hospital where his brother Larry had been taken for treatment.

On August 31, 1977, various members and friends of the Bogner family were called before the Putnam County grand jury. *fn1

Cathy Schrock, a roommate of Larry's sister Linda, testified that she had seen and briefly scanned the note but could not remember what it said. Mary Scheer, a girl friend of Larry, testified that she had read the note at the hospital, along with Greg Bogner and Linda Bogner. Linda Bogner testified that she saw the note at the hospital, that it consisted of two pages and that it was given to her by her brother Greg and that she in turn gave it to her parents in the afternoon of August 1, 1977, when in the company of her parents she was at the home of attorney Wosik. At this meeting attorney Wosik also read the note and then kept the same. It was the testimony of Linda Bogner that the family went to the home of Wosik for the purpose of discussing the rape charges which were pending against her brother Larry.

A subpoena was served upon attorney Wosik commanding him to appear on September 6, 1977, before the Putnam County grand jury and to bring with him various documents including any suicide note authored by Larry Bogner. This command was later limited to a request for only the suicide note. Attorney Wosik responded to the subpoena but declined to produce the document requested and claimed that the production of it would be a violation of an attorney-client relationship. The State then filed in the circuit court a petition for rule to show cause. The petition was captioned "People of the State of Illinois vs. John Doe." The petition alleged that the State believed that the attorney-client privilege claimed by attorney Wosik was unavailable to him and the petition prayed that attorney Wosik be ordered to appear before the grand jury and to surrender the note given to him on August 1, 1977, and to further testify fully about his conversations with the Bogner family concerning the contents of the note. The petition was later amended to a request for only the production of the note.

Respondent, attorney Wosik, moved to dismiss the petition, which motion was denied. During the rule to show cause hearing respondent Wosik again claimed an attorney-client relationship privilege with his client, presumably said clients being all members of the Bogner family.

At the conclusion of the hearing the trial court held that the attorney-client privilege was not applicable. Upon being asked by the trial judge if he had the note, respondent Wosik refused to answer and adhered to his claim of attorney-client privilege as well as his right to refuse to answer under the fifth amendment which protects one against self-incrimination.

The respondent Wosik was found to be in contempt of court and fined in the sum of $500. This appeal ensued.

Before addressing ourselves to the issues raised in this appeal it should be noted that prior to the oral argument had in this appeal the State filed a motion praying for leave to supplement the record with two grand jury transcripts which they deemed pertinent to this appeal. The respondent Wosik filed objections to this motion and this court has the motion and objections thereto with the appeal for consideration and determination.

Without passing upon the point we are of the opinion that a reviewing court is entitled to a record of grand jury proceedings in a case of this nature. Further, we note that the respondent Wosik both during his rule-to-show-cause hearing and in his objections to the State's motion to supplement the record has fluctuated on the question in that at times through his counsel he has on several occasions indicated that he had no objection to a disclosure as to what the testimony was before the grand jury; however, he would then retreat from this position and object to the additional transcripts being filed. We will accept the latter position as being the one which the respondent desires to maintain.

The trial court refused to permit the entire transcript of the grand jury proceedings to be admitted into evidence. The trial court presumably was concerned with the cloak of secrecy that surrounds such proceedings. This court is also concerned with the secrecy of such proceedings and therefore we rule that the motion of the State to supplement the record is denied. We do not deem it necessary to have before us a transcript of the entire proceedings of the grand jury in order to determine the issues presented in this appeal. Our statement of facts and procedural matters heretofore set forth are terse and succinct. All of such information was obtained only from the transcript of the report of proceedings of the rule-to-show-cause hearing, yet it is sufficient to enable us to make the requisite determinations of the various issues raised.

We will first consider the contention of the respondent that the proceedings in the trial court were procedurally and jurisdictionally defective so as to prevent this court from reaching the attorney-client ...

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