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People v. Siegel

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 9, 1981.

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

v.

MARA SIEGEL, CONTEMNOR-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES M. BAILEY, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Mara Siegel appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County which held her in direct contempt of court and fined her $1000.

Contemnor was the attorney for Marie Rodriguez, a member of the F.A.L.N. (Armed Forces for National Liberation of Puerto Rico), who was charged with armed robbery, armed violence and possession of a stolen vehicle. When she appeared in court on April 28, 1980, Rodriguez asserted that she was a prisoner of war, that the trial court had no jurisdiction over her, and that she waived her right to counsel. Because of Rodriguez' disruptive conduct at the court appearance, the trial court ordered that she be gagged.

The following day the court ordered that Rodriguez be returned to the courtroom so that he could advise her of her right to counsel pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 401. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 110A, par. 401.) When the case was called, the contemnor approached the bench and the following colloquy occurred:

"Ms. Siegel: Judge, I'd like to object for the record, Mara Siegel, and I am one of the legal advisors of the defendant. I'd like to protest, she is a prisoner of war. This court does not have jurisdiction to bar people from the courtroom, nobody was even allowed * * *

The Court: Have you filed your appearance?

Ms. Siegel: I do not have an appearance on file. I am going to object to the binding and gagging of Miss Rodriguez. The Court does not have jurisdiction to try her. She is a prisoner of war. It is her demand as the demand of all of her friends is that they be transferred to an international tribunal where their case can be heard and they be adjudged as prisoners of war. This is outrageous display of the United States cruel and inhumane treatment. * * *

The Defendant: Imperialist.

Ms. Siegel: For people and especially their political belief. I will object to this, to the defendant presently being bound and gagged and handcuffed and held by three marshalls.

The Court: Let the record show I stated to you when you came into my chambers, you will not be allowed to stay in this courtroom unless you file an appearance the way an appearance should be filed * * *

The Defendant: I waive the right of counsel. I am here against my will.

The Court: Let me say this, I asked you when you came out and because of your outrageous behavior * * *

The Defendant: I am a prisoner of war.

The Court: Behavior, you are in contempt of this Court. You are fined $1000.00 and you will remain in the custody of the sheriff until that money is paid. * * * I wish the State to draw up a ...


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