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02/18/88 the City of Park Ridge, v. Mchenry Larsen

February 18, 1988

THE CITY OF PARK RIDGE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

MCHENRY LARSEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

519 N.E.2d 1177, 166 Ill. App. 3d 545, 117 Ill. Dec. 10 1988.IL.225

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Nicholas Zagone, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and JOHNSON, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCMORROW

The police department of the city of Park Ridge received complaints one night of a loud party at a residence in the city. Officers responded to the complaints and there ensued a series of events leading ultimately to the arrests of more than 50 young persons on charges of disorderly conduct and underage possession of alcohol. Following a bench trial, defendant, McHenry Larsen, was found guilty of disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol and fined a total of $200, in accordance with ordinances of the city of Park Ridge. Park Ridge, Ill., Municipal Code §§ 14 -- 5 -- 2, 14 -- 12 -- 3 (1985).

Defendant appeals from his convictions. Upon review, he raises several interrelated grounds for reversal of his convictions. Briefly stated, these claims are founded on two basic premises asserted by defendant: (1) the provisions of the Park Ridge Municipal Code regarding disorderly conduct and underage possession of alcohol are vague or overbroad, either on their face or as applied to defendant, in violation of due process; and (2) defendant's prosecution for disorderly conduct and underage possession of alcohol in violation of the municipal ordinance should have been treated as criminal, rather than civil, matters.

We affirm.

Background

On April 12, 1985, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the Park Ridge police department received complaints regarding a party at a home in Park Ridge. When they arrived, police discovered that certain of those attending the party were drinking beer, littering the area, and acting in various unruly fashions. Police repeatedly ordered the persons to leave the house but their orders were not followed, and the group continued its raucous behavior. Later, the homeowner admitted police into her home to remove the crowd.

Upon entering the house, police found 58 persons, many of whom were under the age of 21. They also discovered a keg of beer, beer cans, and plastic cups containing beer. The group inside the home was arrested; each person was charged with disorderly conduct for failure to obey a lawful police order to disperse. Those under the age of 21 were also charged with being minors in possession of alcohol.

Defendant, who was 18 years of age at the time, was among those arrested and charged with both offenses. He was taken to a police station in Park Ridge for processing. While there, two officers observed that defendant's breath smelled of alcohol. An individual who had attended the party stated that she saw defendant drinking beer in the home and heard the police order to disperse several times during the evening.

Defendant testified at trial that he had nothing to drink at the party, had not acted in an unruly fashion at the party, and had not heard the police order to disperse. He stated that he had gone to the home, was there for a short time, went outside the residence momentarily where he was assaulted by unknown persons, and went back into the house for his own safety. He also presented evidence to indicate that the individual who testified that he had been drinking beer at the party had a motive to testify falsely against him.

Defendant was convicted of disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol although underage in violation of the Park Ridge Municipal Code and ...


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