Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Burns v. Police Bd. of City of Chicago





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES C. MURRAY, Judge, presiding.


Appellants Robert Burns and Robert Shanahan were separated from their positions as Chicago police officers after hearings were held by appellee Police Board of the City of Chicago (the Board). Burns and Shanahan filed a complaint for judicial review of this administrative decision in the circuit court of Cook County. The circuit court eventually affirmed the administrative determination. Burns and Shanahan appealed. Burns' appeal was dismissed by this court for failure to file an appearance or an appellant's brief. Shanahan's appeal is presently before the court.

Shanahan argues (1) he was denied due process at the administrative level because the charges and specifications filed by the Board were vague and ambiguous and because the hearing officer denied a motion for a bill of particulars; (2) he was denied due process when, although no member of the Board was present at any hearing, the Board's decisions were taken as prima facie correct by the court; (3) the Board lost jurisdiction over him when it failed to set a date for a hearing upon remand within the time limits allegedly applicable; and (4) the Board's decision was against the manifest weight of the evidence.

Since we are no longer concerned with the evidence which relates to Burns, the following brief summary of the facts focuses upon the Board's case against Shanahan. On October 31, 1978, the police superintendent of Chicago filed charges with the Board against Shanahan. The latter received a copy of the allegations, which charged him with violation of three rules of conduct of the Chicago Police Department. *fn1 The specifications attached to the charges stated that on July 14, 1978, Shanahan did:

"stop and search and solicit and accept a bribe from aliens by threat of use of their office * * *." (Rule 2.)

"use their official position as police officers to obtain a sum of money from aliens." (Rule 4.)

"falsely state their location to the Communications Operators at approximately 2256 hours." (Rule 14.)

Also attached to the charges was a list of civilian and police witnesses and their addresses. The Board reserved the right to call these witnesses at a hearing. Shanahan was also suspended for 30 days.

Hearings on these charges commenced on December 21, 1978, before a hearing officer appointed by the Board. Several civilians testified to a July 14, 1978, occurrence. Essentially, their testimony related that Romulo Bahena, a Spanish-speaking noncitizen of the United States, was stopped by two Chicago police officers and requested to tender $35 ($40 was given) in order to prevent his arrest. The various witnesses testified that the event took place between 9:30 and 11 p.m. on that date. None of the witnesses positively identified Shanahan as one of the officers. Two witnesses did identify Burns. Two witnesses stated the officers were driving squad car 7481. A police officer testified that Burns and Shanahan were partners on July 14, 1978, and that they were assigned squad 7481.

Also testifying were several other policemen. Two officers who worked as partners on that night related how Shanahan and Burns had assisted in the arrest of offenders in a non-related incident, which occurred near 11 p.m. at a scene a few miles from the site of the alleged shakedown. Two other policemen related how they had been identified in a lineup as the policemen who had taken the money. These identifications were made on July 17, 1978, by several of those civilians who testified at the hearing. (These officers were not in fact under any suspicion.)

Shanahan testified concerning his whereabouts at 10:30 p.m. and after on July 14, 1978. His testimony largely concerned his and Burns' participation in the arrest of offenders which had been testified to by other officers. He also stated he had driven the squad car most of the shift on July 14, 1978. Burns was his partner that night.

On May 2, 1979, the Board found Shanahan guilty of the charges against him and ordered his separation from the Chicago police force. He filed a complaint for judicial review of this decision. At the hearing before the circuit court, the court stated its concern that Shanahan had not had the opportunity to present a complete defense since he was not informed in the charges the time at which the alleged bribe-taking occurred. Consequently, the court remanded the case to the Board to allow presentation of evidence of Shanahan's activities on July 14 from 7 p.m. onward.

On remand, Shanahan requested a bill of particulars on the charges. This was the first such request. The hearing officer denied the request. Testimony was taken from a policeman who was assigned to investigate complaints against Shanahan. Four separate persons had lodged complaints involving four separate shakedowns which allegedly occurred on July 14. The officer interviewed Shanahan, investigated the complaints, and recommended charges be entered on all four incidents. The recommendations were rejected by his superiors except for that complaint which serves as the basis of the present case.

Shanahan testified on remand as to his activities between 7:30 p.m. and the end of his shift at midnight on July 14. Also introduced into evidence was a transcript of radio calls made by Shanahan's squad car on July 14. We note that ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.