Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

People v. Verstat

OPINION FILED JANUARY 26, 1983.

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

v.

MARY VERSTAT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. C. Andrew Hayton and the Hon. John J. Nelligan, Judges, presiding.

JUSTICE REINHARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The State appeals from the judgments of "acquittal" of 11 defendants who were charged separately with various misdemeanor and traffic violations in the court below and whose cases were consolidated on appeal by this court. Since each case involves a similar though not identical procedural history, we briefly set out the relevant facts in the record in each of the 11 cases.

Appeal No. 81-919. The defendant, Mary Verstat, was charged by complaint with unlawful sale of alcoholic liquor to a minor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 43, par. 131). After arraignment, the case was set for trial on September 28, 1981, and then continued to October 28, 1981, after the court granted a continuance requested by the State upon its affidavit which represented that a material witness, Officer Panek, would be "away on leave." On October 28, 1981, the defendant and her attorney appeared for the scheduled jury trial; the State stipulated that the court enter an order to suppress any statements Verstat made on the way to the police station or while in custody; the State then orally requested a continuance because its main witness, who was also charged with an offense, would not testify until his case was disposed of; the State requested a four-week continuance which the defendant opposed; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, stated there were insufficient grounds for a continuance and denied the continuance; the State then moved to nol-pros, which was denied by the trial court after the State indicated it might refile the case; the trial court then swore in the defendant, asked her her name and address, and whether she committed the offense; upon her denial that she committed the offense, the trial court found her not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-975. The defendant, David W. Ek, was charged by complaint with battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-3(a)(1)). He failed to appear on August 19, 1981, and his bond was ordered forfeited. On September 23, 1981, defendant appeared and the case was set for a bench trial on November 17, 1981. The defendant appeared pro se on November 17, 1981, ready for trial; the State orally moved for a continuance, stating only that its witnesses were not present; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion for continuance; the State then moved to nol-pros, which was also denied even though the State indicated it would not refile; the trial court then swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and whether he committed the offense; upon his denial that he committed the offense, the court found him not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1017. The defendant, Charles M. Sitkowski, was charged by a uniform citation and complaint ticket with driving while license suspended (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303). Defendant failed to appear, and an arrest warrant was issued. After his arrest on July 13, 1981, the case was continued to August 11, 1981, then continued to October 6, 1981, then reset for October 20, 1981, for the setting of a trial date, which was thereafter set for November 23, 1981. It appears that the State sought one of these continuances. On November 23, 1981, defendant appeared with an attorney who filed his appearance instanter and requested a continuance; the State indicated it was not prepared to proceed and said it "would have to nolle pros"; the court asked, "you are not making a motion"; the State then joined defendant in moving for a continuance; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the continuance, asked the State if it intended to refile, and denied its motion to nol-pros when the prosecutor responded he could not then determine if he would refile; the trial court then swore in the defendant and asked him his name and address; the trial court then found the defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1013. The defendant, Randy Bibbs, was charged by three uniform citation and complaint tickets with improper backing (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1402), no valid registration (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 3-701), and driving while license suspended (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303). After arraignment on October 22, 1981, the case was set for a bench trial on November 24, 1981. On that date defendant and his attorney, the public defender, appeared ready for trial; the State requested a continuance stating that an officer was notified but had not appeared; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion for continuance; the State then moved to nol-pros which the court also denied; the court then swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked the State if it wished to ask any questions; the prosecutor then asked if defendant was driving an automobile on the date charged in the tickets; the trial court sustained an objection by defendant's counsel to the question; the court then found defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1015. The defendant, Michael J. Moore, was charged by complaint with assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-1(a)). The defendant failed to appear for arraignment and was arrested. Thereafter the case was set for a bench trial on November 24, 1981. On that date the defendant appeared pro se for trial; the State requested a continuance and the prosecutor indicated she didn't know whether the witness was notified; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion for continuance; the prosecutor moved to nol-pros, which was denied; the court swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked the State if it had any questions; the prosecutor asked no questions and the trial court found the defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1014. The defendant, Kenneth Goral, was charged by complaint with theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 16-1(e)(1)) not exceeding $150. The case was continued once on defendant's motion and thereafter set for a bench trial on November 24, 1981. On that date the defendant appeared pro se for trial; the State moved to nol-pros, stating its witnesses were not there; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion, stating the motion to nol-pros was an attempt to circumvent his anticipated denial of a motion for continuance; the trial court swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked the prosecutor if she had any questions; the prosecutor objected to the proceedings being carried on and declined to ask any questions; the trial court found the defendant not guilty and further stated that this was a continuing course of conduct by the State's Attorneys office of Du Page County and that he had a right to control his court call.

Appeal No. 81-1018. The defendant, Joseph Strickland, was charged by three uniform traffic citation and complaint tickets with improper lane usage (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-708), illegal transportation of alcoholic liquor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-502), and driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)). The cases were set for a bench trial on September 29, 1981. The State filed its affidavit requesting a continuance, alleging therein that the State trooper would be on vacation on September 29. The cases were continued to November 24, 1981. On that date the defendant and his attorney appeared ready for trial; the prosecutor stated its witnesses were not present and he was not sure whether they were notified; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, stated he was denying the motion for continuance which, in fact, had not been requested; the prosecutor, instead, moved to nol-pros, which was denied by the court, who stated that the nolle prosequi was an attempt to circumvent his anticipated denial of a motion for continuance; the trial court swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked the prosecutor if he had any questions; the prosecutor objected to the proceedings and asked no questions; the trial court then found the defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1023. The defendant, Dennis C. Roggelin, was charged by complaint with criminal damage to property (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 21-1(a)), resisting a peace officer (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 31-1), and criminal trespass to land (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 21-3(a)). On the date set for trial, November 24, 1981, the defendant appeared pro se ready for trial; the prosecutor indicated she had the same problem as in the other cases that the witnesses had not appeared and she could not say whether they were notified; the prosecutor then moved to nol-pros; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion, noting this had occurred in over half of the cases on call that morning; the trial court then swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and then found him not guilty.

Appeal No. 81-1016. The defendant, Wesley A. Plohr, was charged by complaint with disorderly conduct (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 26-1(a)(1)). The defendant failed to appear on more than one occasion each of which led to a bond forfeiture which was later vacated. Thereafter the case was set for trial for October 23, 1981. The State was granted a continuance from that trial date on its affidavit that a material witness was under medical care and receiving radiation treatment. Trial was set for November 25, 1981. On that day the defendant and his attorney appeared ready for trial; the State presented an affidavit that the same witness was in the hospital and was unavailable; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, questioned the prosecutor concerning when the witness would be out of the hospital and then denied the motion for continuance; the State moved to nol-pros; the trial court denied the motion after the prosecutor refused to represent that it would not refile charges; the court stated the prosecutor was trying to circumvent his denial of the motion to continue; the trial court swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked if the State had any evidence to present; the prosecutor declined to proceed, and the trial court found the defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 82-1. The defendant, Laura Foster, was charged by complaint with obstructing a peace officer (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 31-1). On December 8, 1981, the date set for trial, the defendant appeared pro se; the State moved for a continuance and filed an affidavit representing that Officer LaPointe could not be in court because he would be in traffic court on that day; the trial judge, the Honorable John J. Nelligan, denied the motion, stating that the State did not make a sufficient showing of due diligence; the State moved to nol-pros which was never ruled upon; the trial court then swore in the defendant, asked her her name and address, and asked the prosecutor if he had any questions; after the prosecutor indicated he had no questions, the trial court found the defendant not guilty.

Appeal No. 82-26. The defendant, Paul L. Williams, was charged by complaints with theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1)) not exceeding $150, unlawful use of weapons (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 24-1(a)(1)), contributing to the delinquency of a child (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 23, par. 2361a), and improper use of registration (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 3-703). On the date set for trial, the defendant appeared pro se ready for trial; the prosecutor stated he notified the witnesses the night before but they were "unable to be here this morning"; the State requested a continuance; the trial judge, the Honorable C. Andrew Hayton, denied the motion for continuance; the prosecutor moved to nol-pros, indicating he did not know if he would refile charges; the trial court denied the motion and stated that this was an attempt to circumvent the denial of the motion for continuance; the trial court swore in the defendant, asked him his name and address, and asked the prosecutor if he had any questions; after the prosecutor indicated he had no questions, the trial court found defendant not guilty.

Only two of the defendants, Bibbs and Strickland, have filed appellate briefs, and the defendant Verstat has filed a motion to dismiss the State's appeal. Nonetheless, we review all the cases under the guidelines prescribed in First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill.2d 128, 345 N.E.2d 493.

The State maintains that the proceedings below which resulted in judgments of "acquittal" for all 11 defendants did not constitute trials, but were dismissals of the cases which the State may appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (87 Ill.2d R. 604 (a)(1)). In the appellate briefs filed and in the motion to dismiss the State's appeal, the arguments are raised that the State's appeal of the cases is improper because: these are judgments of acquittals not appealable under the Illinois Constitution; the defendants are placed in double jeopardy by these appeals; ...


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.