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People v. Holder





Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Second District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, the Hon. Robert C. Gill, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Carl Holder, was convicted of intimidation under section 12-6 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 12-6) at a jury trial in the circuit court of Winnebago County and sentenced to 18 months' probation and fined $1,000. The defendant appealed. The appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction in declaring section 12-6(a)(3) of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 12-6(a)(3)) to be unconstitutionally overbroad. (103 Ill. App.3d 353.) On May 28, 1982, this court granted the State's petition for leave to appeal from that judgment.

The circumstances of this case involve a labor dispute which arose during June and July of 1979 at the Rockford Redi-Mix Company, Inc., a Rockford corporation engaged in the business of delivering liquified cement by truck to local construction and commercial sites. Duane Countryman was the president of the company and his son Curtis L. Countryman was the general manager.

In June of 1979, several of the truck drivers employed by the Rockford Redi-Mix Company contacted the defendant, Carl Holder, who had worked for nine years as a business representative for Teamsters Local 325, to investigate the possibility of joining the union. The employees were dissatisfied with their wages and their working conditions.

The defendant advised the employees that there were two procedures available to them in seeking union recognition. Under the "long route," the drivers could petition the National Labor Relations Board for a representation election, a process which could take three or more months. Pursuant to the "short route," the drivers could sign cards authorizing the union to act as their collective-bargaining representative, whereupon the defendant could demand recognition from the company. The drivers chose the "short route" at a meeting on July 24, 1979, and signed authorization cards.

The defendant suggested that the drivers accompany him in presenting the authorization cards and contract to the company, but the drivers asked that the defendant go alone. The employees agreed at the meeting on the 24th that the following morning they would leave the employer's plant as scheduled and proceed to Genoa Road on the way to the Kirkland job site in De Kalb County. It was agreed that the employees would wait on Genoa Road while the defendant would enter the company's office and demand that the company recognize the union and sign the union's standard ready-mix contract. Holder would tell the employer that if the demands were not met the employees would strike. The employees hoped that Holder's unannounced appearance and threat of a strike with the trucks full of cement and scheduled for a pour at the Kirkland job site would be added leverage to have the employer recognize the union and sign the standard contract.

On July 25 at about 7:45 a.m., after the employees had left the plant, Holder and Russ Olson, the union's secretary-treasurer, entered the employer's office and found Curtis Countryman alone. According to Countryman, Holder said that he was from the Teamsters Union Local 325, that he represented the majority of the employees, that they had signed authorization cards, that the trucks had just left and were sitting down the road, and "that the drums aren't turning until I [Countryman] signed the contract." The defendant denied referring to the trucks or drums.

The defendant then laid a contract on Countryman's desk. Countryman said that he would have to read the contract. He thumbed through the pages and asked a question about article I of the contract. Countryman looked at the contract again and then indicated that he could not sign it. Holder testified that he then said, "Okay, sir, you've got a strike on your hands."

Thereafter the defendant returned to the drivers and informed them that the contract would not be accepted. They proceeded to the Kirkland job site and advised the company office of their arrival by radio, but received no response. According to the drivers, the concrete in the drums had been agitating until this time; they stated that they then shut down the trucks, left the keys in the ignitions, and drove to the union office with the defendant and Olson.

Jim Prunty, an associate of Duane Countryman, testified that he arrived at the job site and found the cement hardened in the trucks' drums. Defense witnesses testified that the cement would not have hardened in that time and that Prunty could not have felt the hardened cement in the drum of one truck as Prunty had described. Witnesses for the defense testified that there simply was not enough time between the point at which the drums stopped turning and the point at which Mr. Prunty said that he felt the cement hardened for that cement to harden. Curtis Countryman stated that it was necessary to replace one of the drums and to jackhammer the others to remove the hardened cement.

Holder and the employees were charged in an amended seven-count information with the felonies of conspiracy, intimidation and criminal damage to property. The jury acquitted the drivers and convicted Holder on count II, intimidation, from which this appeal arose.

The defendant asserts that section 12-6(a)(3) of the Criminal Code of 1961 is overbroad and in conflict with the first amendment. Generally, a person to whom a statute may constitutionally be applied will not be permitted to challenge the statute on the ground that it could in another context be applied unconstitutionally to another party. (United States v. Raines (1960), 362 U.S. 17, 4 L.Ed.2d 524, 80 S.Ct. 519.) However, the traditional rule of standing is not applicable when a party is asserting his first amendment rights. The validity of an overly broad statute may be contested "with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with the requisite narrow specificity." Dombrowski v. Pfister (1965), 380 U.S. 479, 486, 14 L.Ed.2d 22, 28, 85 S.Ct. 1116, 1121.

The defendant claims that section 12-6(a)(3) of the Code can be applied unconstitutionally in other contexts to other people that are legitimately exercising their first amendment rights. Holder can attack subsection (a)(3) on the grounds that it is overbroad under the first amendment without showing that his conduct is protected. (Talsky v. Department of Registration & Education (1977) 68 Ill.2d 579, 590; Gooding v. Wilson (1972), 405 U.S. 518, 521-22, 31 L.Ed.2d 408, 413-14, 92 S.Ct. 1103, 1105-06.) An exception is culled out from the general rule of standing in first amendment cases since application of that rule would "itself have an inhibitory effect on freedom of speech." (United States v. Raines (1960), 362 U.S. 17, 22, 4 ...

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