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People v. Campbell





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County; the Hon. Lehman Krause, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied May 9, 1984.

Defendant, Terry Steven Campbell, has perfected this appeal from the trial court's finding that he was guilty of criminal contempt of court. Defendant, who was charged with the offense of rape, was tried on two prior occasions in Jefferson County, and both trials resulted in mistrials because the jury was unable to agree upon a verdict. The cause was called for trial for the third time, and the jury was selected on April 6, 1982, and impanelled at 11 a.m. on April 7, 1982. Within the next few hours, defendant filed a civil complaint seeking recovery of: (1) $20,000 compensatory damages and $500,000 punitive damages from the assistant State's Attorney who prosecuted the three trials and (2) $20,000 compensatory and $1,000,000 punitive damages from the complaining witness. The trial court was informed of the filing of the civil suit, and, on motion of the State and over defendant's objection, the court ordered the rape trial jury sequestered at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn for the remainder of the trial. The third trial concluded with jury acquitting defendant of rape. Thereafter, on April 10, 1982, before the jury was discharged, the trial court served upon defendant and his attorney a rule to show cause, charging each with contempt of court. The court also specified: "Bond not to be refunded at this time." Subsequently, the contempt charge against defendant's attorney was dismissed with leave to reinstate and is not involved in this appeal.

After a hearing on May 7, 1982, at which evidence and arguments of counsel were presented both in support of the contempt charge and by defendant, the court found defendant guilty of contempt as charged. The court thereupon sentenced defendant to 90 days in jail and ordered him to pay a fine of $3,275.29, which apparently represented the costs of jury sequestration plus $200. The fine was ordered to be paid from defendant's bail deposit, with the $575.29 unpaid balance to be paid within six months. Defendant was released from custody on May 10, 1982, after he posted an appeal bond in the sum of $5,000 by depositing $500 cash. Defendant has perfected this appeal, contending that he was not proved guilty of contempt and that, if he was, the sentence was inappropriate.

The record indicates that prior to the first trial, the State moved in limine to prohibit defendant from introducing any evidence regarding any prior sexual relations between defendant and the complaining witness without leave of court after an appropriate offer of proof was made in camera to the trial court. Prior to the third trial, the State moved in limine for an order to prohibit defendant from mentioning or eliciting mention of the two prior trials and their outcomes. Both motions were granted.

Defendant alleged in his civil complaint that he had been tried twice for rape, both trials having ended in hung juries; that the prosecutor had, "with malice and forethought," brought him to trial, knowing there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction, in order to embarrass, harass, and harm him; and that the complaining witness had fabricated her account of the acts alleged "to save herself the embarrassment resulting from adultery, unfailthfulness [sic], and total lack of moral character had the true incidents of her relationship with [defendant] been admitted to."

The rule to show cause directed to defendant charged defendant with "having filed certain lawsuit [sic] on April 7, 1982 being cause No. 82 L 16 to hinder and obstruct this court in the administration of Justice and/or lessen the dignity of the court."

At the contempt hearing which was held on May 7, 1982, Emma Gockel, deputy circuit clerk, testified that defendant and William Kruger, an arcade owner and a part-time employee of defendant's rape trial counsel, delivered for filing defendant's civil complaint against the assistant State's Attorney and the complaining witness in the rape trials. According to Ms. Gockel, there were no members of the press in the clerk's office at that time. She further testified that she had not furnished any copies of defendant's complaint to the press, although members of the press normally knew where to look, which they were free to do because the files were open to the public.

William Kruger testified that he first became aware of the civil complaint just minutes before it was filed when defendant handed it to him on the second floor of the county courthouse and asked the witness how to file it. Mr. Kruger related that defendant paid the filing fees. According to Mr. Kruger, it was he, and not defendant, who gave a copy of the complaint to a reporter for the Mt. Vernon Register-News at about 1 p.m. on April 7, 1982, the day it was filed. The witness stated that he had no knowledge of defendant having contacted the press regarding the civil suit.

During defendant's testimony, when he was asked why he had filed the civil complaint, defendant replied that he had been out of work almost a year and a half and needed the money. Asked why he selected the particular time that he did to file the complaint, defendant stated that he had considered filing sooner but that he did not have the $92 filing fee until after noon on April 7, 1982. Defendant stated that he had lived in Jefferson County all his life and, as far as he knew, the Register-News was the county's only daily paper. Defendant related that he had consulted his attorney regarding the civil complaint just after hiring him and that his attorney had advised him that "it probably wouldn't be the proper thing to do until after the trial." According to defendant, his relatives had advised him not to consult with his attorney about the civil complaint. Defendant stated that he knew that the criminal case was being covered intensively by the press and knew that the press would probably report anything related to the criminal case.

There was also testimony concerning the costs incurred to feed and house the jury at the Holiday Inn while sequestered, including overtime pay for the sheriff's deputies on duty. Included in the record on appeal, as exhibits in evidence at the contempt hearing, are bills from Holiday Inn and two sheriff's deputies and a copy of the April 8, 1982, Mt. Vernon Register-News. The latter exhibit includes two pertinent front-page stories. The more lengthy of the two set forth, inter alia, that there had been two previous trials of the criminal charge resulting in hung juries. This story also set forth summaries by both the prosecutor and defense counsel of their respective views as to what the evidence at the third trial would show. The summary attributed to defense counsel referred to prior sexual relations between defendant and the complaining witness.

The second, shorter story concerned defendant's civil complaint. It referred to the two prior trials and the results thereof and quoted the civil complaint allegations regarding the complaining witness' motivation in prosecuting defendant in order to save herself from the embarrassment of having committed adultery.

On appeal, defendant first contends that the record does not establish that he was proved to be guilty of "criminal contempt by proof beyond a reasonable doubt." This issue raised by defendant on appeal requires a consideration of the fundamental aspects of contempt proceedings; and, in this regard we note that since there is no statutory provision relating to the conduct of contempt proceedings, they are governed by common law.

In People ex rel. Kunce v. Hogan (1977), 67 Ill.2d 55, 59-60, 364 N.E.2d 50, 51, the court, quoting from In re Estate of Melody (1969), 42 Ill.2d 451, 452, 248 N.E.2d 104, 105, stated that contempt of court has been defined as being conduct calculated to: (1) embarrass, hinder or obstruct a court in its administration of justice or to derogate from the court's authority or dignity, or (2) to bring the administration of law into disrepute. The Illinois courts> have drawn a distinction between "criminal" contempt and "civil" contempt and have indicated that criminal contempt is to be distinguished from civil contempt solely by reason of the fact that in the former the purpose is to punish the alleged contemnor for his past actions while in civil contempt the court is attempting to coerce compliance with an order of the court. (See Harvey v. Carponelli (1983), 117 Ill. App.3d 448, 452, 453 N.E.2d 820, 824; Pabst Brewing Co. v. Brewery Workers Local Union No. 77 (7th Cir. 1977), 555 F.2d 146, 149.) Furthermore, the cases have drawn a distinction between "direct" and "indirect" contempt of court and have indicated that such distinction results in a difference in the proof required to establish the guilt of the alleged contemnor. While direct contempt, having taken place in the presence of the judge or in an integral part of the court, ...

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