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People v. Wasilewski

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1978.

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

v.

JAMES WASILEWSKI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of La Salle County; the Hon. ROBERT G. WREN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court of La Salle County which denied a motion of the defendant James Wasilewski to quash certain search warrants and to suppress and return certain evidence which was seized as the result of the search conducted pursuant to the authority contained in the warrants.

The defendant Wasilewski resides in Bureau County, Illinois, and manages and operates the Green Front Tavern located in the city of Peru, La Salle County, Illinois.

On June 8, 1977, Lieutenant Washkowiak of the La Salle County sheriff's office obtained a search warrant from the circuit court of La Salle County to search the defendant's residence in Bureau County. The following day the lieutenant again appeared before the circuit court of La Salle County and obtained a search warrant to search the tavern located in La Salle County and which was operated and managed by the defendant.

The search warrants were executed and resulted in the seizure of certain evidence, to-wit, a $500 check made in payment for a riding lawn mower and a large quantity of gambling paraphernalia. Articles were seized at both the defendant's residence and his place of business. The defendant was thereafter indicted for burglary, felony theft and gambling in La Salle County and was charged by a misdemeanor complaint in Bureau County for the offense of gambling.

On July 27, 1977, the defendant moved in the circuit court of La Salle County to quash the search warrants and to suppress the evidence seized as the result of their execution. The defendant's motions were grounded on the assertion that there was lack of probable cause which would justify the issuance of the warrants. The circuit court of La Salle County found that there was probable cause for the issuance of the warrants and denied the defendant's motions to quash and suppress.

The defendant filed notices of appeal from the denial of his motions to quash and suppress and further obtained a continuance of the criminal prosecution being pursued in La Salle and Bureau Counties.

Prior to the briefs being filed by either party in this appeal the State moved to dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction. It was the State's contention that the defendant has no right to appeal, before trial, from an adverse ruling on a pretrial motion to quash and suppress. Alternatively the State contended that assuming arguendo that the case was civil in nature, the trial court's denial of the motion to quash and suppress was not a final order nor is it the type upon which an interlocutory appeal is permitted, and further the defendant did not seek permission for an interlocutory appeal under Supreme Court Rule 308 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 308). The defendant answered the State's motion to dismiss the appeal and asserted that he was appealing only in search warrant cases which were separate civil cases and not connected with the criminal charges pending against him. He further argued that civil cases involving search warrants were final upon their return and therefore appealable. The State filed a reply to the defendant's answer. This court neither granted nor denied the State's motion to dismiss this appeal but ordered that the jurisdictional question raised by the motion be taken with the merits of this appeal.

The State in its brief renews in the form of an issue its motion to dismiss this appeal on jurisdictional grounds.

• 1 A question concerning a court's jurisdiction is of threshold importance so we first address ourselves to this issue.

Proceedings relating to search warrants emanate from our Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Authority for the issuance of such a warrant is found in section 108-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 108.3). The Code further permits a defendant to file a motion for the return of property and to suppress evidence obtained by an illegal search and seizure. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 114-12, and Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 108-11.) It is clear that the issuance, execution and motions relating to the search warrants and the evidence obtained by their use all stem from provisions in our Code of Criminal Procedure. In the instant case subsequent to the execution of the search warrants the defendant was charged in Bureau County with having committed a criminal offense and was charged in La Salle County with three criminal offenses. It should be noted that both Bureau and La Salle Counties are in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and the defendant had the status of a criminal defendant before the circuit court of that judicial circuit.

The defendant argues that the proceedings on the search warrants issued as to his residence and place of business were separate civil actions by virtue of the fact that they were given "MR" (miscellaneous remedy) docket numbers by the circuit court clerk at the time the complaint for the search warrants was filed. As authority for this contention the defendant cites the "Manual on Recordkeeping" published by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts>. Paragraph 1425 of the manual provides that:

"When a complaint for search warrant is filed which does not relate to a pending case a Miscellaneous Remedy (MR) case number is to be assigned * * ...


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