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People v. Webb

OPINION FILED JUNE 3, 1986.

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

v.

GROVER WEBB, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Montgomery County; the Hon. Joseph L. Fribley, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WELCH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial in the Montgomery County circuit court, the defendant, Grover Webb, was found guilty of perjury and official misconduct. On appeal, the defendant contends that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of official misconduct. We reverse.

The alleged perjury and official misconduct concerns the defendant's testimony offered at the trial of Guy Levine (People v. Levine, cause No. 78-CF-30).

On Sunday, May 28, 1978, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., a man driving a silver and white El Camino abducted and sexually assaulted Rick Jenkins, in Litchfield, Illinois. A few days later, Guy Levine was charged with and arrested for the crime.

When Beverly Delong, Levine's daughter, heard about the arrest, she called the defendant and inquired about the charges. The defendant had known Mrs. Delong since 1975 and had at one point dated her. During 1977 to 1979, the defendant and Mrs. Delong saw each other about twice a month. After her call, the defendant telephoned the Montgomery County State's Attorney, Kelly Long. Mr. Long stated that the defendant was only making an inquiry and he did not think anything unusual about the telephone conversation.

After the defendant spoke with Mr. Long, he met with Mrs. Delong at Lake Springfield and told her the charges against her father. At that time, the defendant did not discuss the charges or tell her that he was going to testify. Mrs. Delong found out after the trial that the defendant had testified at her father's trial.

After the defendant's call to Mr. Long, he saw Levine and told him that he had seen him on the date and at the time in question. In April 1979, Mr. Levine's attorney contacted the defendant. The defendant gave Levine's attorney a statement of what he had observed on May 28, 1978. The defendant had discussed the matter with Mr. Long. Eventually, the defendant was served a subpoena by the State to appear as a witness in the Levine trial.

On December 11, 1979, the defendant appeared at Levine's trial. Since the defendant was a special agent with the Department of Law Enforcement (Department), he was wearing a gun which he promptly gave to the clerk. After he stated that he was presently employed as a special agent for the Department, the State stipulated to the rest of his credentials. In his testimony, he stated that he was familiar with Levine. He also stated that on May 28, 1978, he saw Levine and his El Camino in Springfield between the hours of 1:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. and later that day he saw the El Camino and not Levine between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. at the same location. He remembered the time because he was on his way to a local bar that opened at 1 p.m. on Sunday. His route to and from the bar took him by Levine's residence. About a week later, Mrs. Delong contacted him regarding the charges against her father. After the phone conversation, the defendant called State's Attorney Long to find out more about the charges. Later, the defendant contacted Long again and told him that he had seen Levine at the time in question.

Under cross-examination, the defendant stated that he met Levine when he was looking for an apartment. He stated that he did not have any business dealings with Levine and did not consider Levine a friend. He had talked to Levine on several occasions. Furthermore, the defendant wanted to help Levine because Levine had given him information on some of his own cases. However, he said Levine was not a confidential source and none of his information led to any arrests.

Three days later, the defendant pursuant to orders wrote a memorandum regarding his observations of Levine on May 28, 1978, and all conversations with State's Attorney Long. The memorandum was addressed to the defendant's superior McGrew. Copies of the memorandum were sent to assistant deputy director Gerald J. Schilling and area III Commander Kenneth R. Metcalf, both with the Department.

Soon after the jury found Levine guilty, William Dolahite, Litchfield chief of police, went to the Department in Springfield and informed them of his belief that the defendant had perjured himself at the trial. Dolahite heard the defendant's testimony and retraced the defendant's route and concluded that the defendant could not have traveled around Springfield as he claimed.

It was not until April 22, 1981, that the Department began an investigation. On that date, the Department interviewed Beverly Delong regarding her relationship with the defendant. On December 14, 1982, the Department interviewed the defendant. The defendant explained his relationship with Levine and Mrs. Delong and stated his testimony at trial.

The defendant was interviewed again on December 16, 1982, by the professional standards division of the Department. At that time the defendant signed a waiver of counsel and his administrative proceedings rights. The investigators then asked the defendant in detail the same matters discussed on December 14, 1982. The same investigators questioned the defendant again on December 27, 1982.

After the December 27 interview and continuing into March 1983, the Department did a more intensive investigation. They conducted interviews of the people who were in attendance at a graduation party in Perryville, Missouri, the same one at which the defendant attended. After the interviews, the Department concluded that the defendant had ...


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