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City of Chicago v. Abdullah

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 4, 1979.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

HASSAN ABDULLAH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. BEN EDELSTEIN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE CAMPBELL DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial in the circuit court of cook county, the defendant, Hassan Abdullah, was convicted of the "improper display of a Chicago flag insignia" in violation of section 173-9 of the Municipal Code of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois, Municipal Code 1977, ch. 173, § 173-9) and was fined $25. On appeal the defendant contends that the municipal ordinance under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague. We reverse.

The only evidence adduced at the trial was the testimony of Officer James Herman, a Chicago police officer, Lieutenant Walter Duffy, commanding officer of the special police unit, and the defendant.

Officer Herman, the complaining witness in the instant appeal, testified that on June 15, 1977, he arrested the defendant at the Traffic Headquarters Building located at 320 North Clark Street. On direct examination the following colloquy took place:

"Q. And what if anything unusual did you notice about the defendant's clothing on that day?

A. On this date I observed the defendant wearing what appeared to be a special police uniform, and on his right sleeve, he was wearing the official patch of the Chicago Police Department, as I have here."

The city then responded, "Indicating for the record, your Honor, a flag, rectangular in shape, outlined in gold." The record fails to indicate whether the flag in question, or the defendant's special policeman's uniform were ever marked as exhibits or introduced into evidence.

Lieutenant Duffy testified that on the day of his arrest the defendant was a special policeman employed by the St. Mark Day Care Center. He further testified:

"Q. And officer, on that date, or prior to that time — I beg your pardon — Lieutenant, had you given the defendant permission to wear the Chicago flag insignia?

A. No.

Q. And you have seen the insignia that Officer Herman pointed to, and you recognize that?

A. Yes.

Q. What is that?

A. The Chicago flag.

Q. And, sir, who is authorized to wear that flag if you know?

A. Chicago policemen, firemen."

The defendant testified that he had received the uniform in question from the day care center and that this uniform had a flag of the City of Chicago attached to its right sleeve when it came into his possession. ...


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