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08/31/87 the People of the State of v. George Dougherty

August 31, 1987





513 N.E.2d 946, 160 Ill. App. 3d 870, 112 Ill. Dec. 337 1987.IL.1261

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edward M. Fiala, Jr., Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN, P.J., and MANNING, J., concur.


Defendant George Dougherty was convicted of bribery pursuant to section 33-1(e) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 33-1(e)) and sentenced to three years' felony probation with the first six months to be served in the Cook County House of Corrections. On appeal, he argues: (1) that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) that the trial court erred in allowing into evidence testimony concerning certain prior acts; and (3) that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion in limine to exclude a tape-recorded conversation. We affirm.

Defendant was arrested at Skorpio's Restaurant in Streamwood, Illinois, for bribery. Prior to trial, defendant made a motion in limine to exclude any conversations or acts prior to the May 6, 1982, bribery with which he was charged. This motion was denied. He also made a motion to exclude the tapes of the conversation that took place at Skorpio's on grounds that the tapes were unintelligible in part. The trial court ruled that the inaudible portions were not so substantial as to render the recording as a whole untrustworthy.

Testimony at trial revealed the following facts. Dennis Shoup (Shoup) owned a body shop in Schaumburg doing business as D. J. Auto Body. Shoup decided to install a paint booth in his shop and called the village of Schaumburg building department on April 21, 1982, to inquire about licensing requirements and to obtain necessary building permits. He was referred to defendant, George Dougherty (Dougherty).

On April 21, 1982, Dougherty was a plans examiner whose duties included examining all building permit drawings to insure compliance with the village building code. As an employee of the village, Dougherty was prohibited from doing outside work, such as architectural drawings, and from accepting any money from persons who had submitted plans to him. His job with the village was scheduled to terminate on April 23 for financial reasons unrelated to this matter.

During the phone conversation, Dougherty informed Shoup that the improvement he planned would cost $10,000 to $15,000 and that they should meet to discuss the matter. Dougherty then gave Shoup his home phone number when Shoup declined and instructed him to call that night and set up a meeting. When Shoup called, defendant advised him that for $300, he might be able to help Shoup get around some of the building code restrictions. He told Shoup to come to his house at 8 p.m. that evening with certain drafting supplies. That night, Dougherty drew up a plan for Shoup's business and explained procedures for completing the forms at City Hall. Shoup then paid $300 to Dougherty.

The next day Shoup met defendant at City Hall, where Dougherty helped him fill out some forms. On April 23, 1982, defendant called Shoup to tell him that he could pick up his documents and building permits. He told Shoup that he would need another $125 to pay off Eugene Wright (Wright), the village electrical inspector and directed Shoup to put two $50's, a $20, and a $5 in a paper clip under the front seat of Dougherty's car. Shoup did so after making a Xerox copy of the bills.

Nels Hornstrum, director of buildings for the village of Schaumburg, testified that he learned of the incident involving Shoup and approached him on April 27, 1982. Shoup informed Hornstrum about the $300 and $125 payments and told him that Dougherty had told him that the money was being used to pay off two inspectors.

On May 3, 1982, Shoup met with Officer Kenneth Alley of the Schaumburg police department. Later that day, the officer listened in on a conversation between Shoup and defendant during which defendant told him not to worry about a business license or a final inspection of his premises. On May 4, 1982, defendant called Shoup and stated that he needed an additional $100 to pay off Wright. On May 5, again with Officer Alley listening in, Shoup called defendant to tell him that he would have the $100 for him the next day. When Shoup asked Dougherty what had become of the previous payments, Dougherty responded that most of the money had gone to other people and he had only kept $50. Shoup then set up a meeting with Dougherty for 3 p.m. on May 6, 1982, at Skorpio's.

Gene Wright testified that on either May 3 or 4, Dougherty asked him to stop by his house. Wright did so and Dougherty told him that he wanted Wright to help out somebody who had a body shop. Wright called his office to find out if there was a problem with Shoup's certificate of occupancy and found out ...

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