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Village of Mundelein v. Taylor

OPINION FILED JANUARY 31, 1985.

THE VILLAGE OF MUNDELEIN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

WILLIAM K. TAYLOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Henry C. Tonigan III, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE REINHARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, William K. Taylor, following a bench trial, was found guilty of delivering an alcoholic liquor to a minor in violation of village of Mundelein ordinance 80-5-16, section 2 (Mundelein, Ill., Ordinance 80-5-16, sec. 2 (1980)). Defendant was fined $260 and placed under court supervision for a period of one year.

Defendant raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the village proved by a clear preponderance that defendant delivered an alcoholic liquor to another person under the age of 21 years; (2) whether the village proved by a clear preponderance that the liquid involved was an "alcoholic liquor"; and (3) whether the trial court erred in taking judicial notice that the liquid was an "alcoholic liquor."

The facts in the instant case have been agreed to on appeal by written stipulation of the parties in lieu of a verbatim transcript of the record. (87 Ill.2d R. 323(d).) In sum, the agreed facts provide that defendant was charged with knowingly and unlawfully distributing a 12-pack of "Old Style Beer" to Debbie Warsaw and Erika Remikas, both minors, on the night of January 9, 1984.

At a bench trial, held on January 30, 1984, Debbie Warsaw testified that on January 9, 1984, at approximately 6 p.m. she, another female, and three male friends drove to Cardinal Liquors on Lake Street in Mundelein; that she and the other female entered Cardinal Liquors, asked what the price of beer was, purchased a pack of cigarettes, and left the store, returning to the car; that two males then entered the store and attempted to purchase beer, but were refused when they were unable to produce adequate identification; that she was seated in the front seat of the car between the two males when she saw defendant exit his car; that she asked defendant to purchase beer for her; that defendant, after hesitating, consented to make the purchase; that she handed defendant a $5 bill; that defendant entered the store and returned shortly thereafter, handing a brown paper bag through the car window; that she saw two six-packs of "Old Style Beer" inside the bag; and that she was 16 years of age.

Erika Remikas next testified and substantially corroborated Warsaw's testimony. Remikas also added that the bag defendant handed through the car window contained two six-packs of "Miller Beer"; that they neither opened nor drank the beer; that they had left the unopened beer in a field; and that she was 15 years of age. On cross-examination Remikas stated that she was seated in the back seat of the car during the transaction.

James Shepard testified that on January 9, 1984, at approximately 6 p.m., he was employed as a stock boy for Cardinal Liquors; that the store owner told him to go outside and watch a car in which several youths were seated; that he saw defendant exit the store, hand a paper bag through the right front window of the car, and walk to another car; and that the car in which the youths were seated then drove away.

Barbara Brown testified that she was working as a salesperson for Cardinal Liquors on January 9, 1984; that at approximately 6 p.m. she sold defendant two six-packs of "Miller Beer" and a case of Coke; that she placed the two six-packs of "Miller Beer" in a brown paper bag, but did not put the sales receipt in the bag; and that plaintiff's exhibit No. 1 was the receipt from defendant's purchase. On cross-examination, Brown stated that although the sales receipt (plaintiff's exhibit No. 1) was for the same items, she could not positively identify the receipt as the same one from defendant's sale.

At the close of its case in chief, the village asked the court to take judicial notice that the beer delivered by defendant was an alcoholic liquor within the meaning of the applicable ordinance. No witnesses were presented on behalf of defendant.

During closing argument defendant asserted that since the "Old Style" or "Miller Beer" allegedly distributed to the minors was never recovered or examined, the village had failed to overcome its burden of establishing that the liquid delivered had an alcoholic content in excess of .5% as required under the applicable Mundelein ordinance. Defendant further maintained that judicial notice was improper because the alleged alcoholic liquid was not introduced into evidence, no chemical analysis was made of its alcoholic content, and no one had testified as to the alcoholic nature of the liquid other than to use the phrase "Miller Beer" or "Old Style Beer."

The trial court rejected defendant's arguments and ruled that it would take judicial notice that the liquid was an alcoholic liquor as defined by the applicable ordinance. Defendant was then found guilty, fined $260, and placed under court supervision for a one-year period.

Village of Mundelein ordinance 80-5-16, section 2 (Mundelein, Ill., Ordinance 80-5-16, sec. 2 (1980)) provides, in relevant part, that:

"No person, after purchasing or otherwise obtaining alcoholic liquor, shall sell, give or deliver such alcoholic liquor to another person under the age of twenty-one years except in the performance of ...


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