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07/13/88 the People of the State of v. Donald Tangwall

July 13, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

DONALD TANGWALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Before turning to the merits of the defendant's contentions, we note that his brief does not contain an adequate statement of facts, as required by Supreme Court Rule 341(e)(6) (113 Ill. 2d R. 341(e)(6)). In addition, defendant's arguments are, for the most part, incoherent, with numerous citations to cases entirely irrelevant to the issues at hand. While we have the authority to dismiss an appeal for violation of Supreme Court rules, we have the discretion to consider the merits of the appeal (Lindenmier v. City of Rockford (1987), 156 Ill. App. 3d 76, 79, 508 N.E.2d 1201, 1204) and will do so here.

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

526 N.E.2d 649, 172 Ill. App. 3d 487, 122 Ill. Dec. 390 1988.IL.1089

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lee County; the Hon. Thomas Hornsby, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE NASH delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and INGLIS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE NASH

Defendant, Donald Tangwall, was convicted of eavesdropping (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 14-2(a)) after a jury trial in the circuit court of Lee County and was sentenced to 18 months' probation, 15 hours of community service, a fine, and court costs. On appeal, he contends that the trial court did not have personal jurisdiction over him and that his sixth amendment right to counsel was violated when he was not permitted to have a non-attorney represent him at trial. We affirm.

On August 27, 1986, defendant was arrested for eavesdropping for allegedly using a tape recorder to record a conversation between Lee County State's Attorney Eugene Stockton and Bureau County Circuit Court Judge C. Howard Wampler without their consent.

At trial, State's Attorney Stockton testified that on April 15, 1986, he accompanied the sheriff of Lee County to Kenneth Leffelman's farm to assist the sheriff in serving a court order authorizing the seizure of certain pieces of farm machinery. After the sheriff and Stockton arrived, the Leffelmans produced a document indicating that the Leffelmans had filed a bankruptcy petition and asked Stockton to call Judge Wampler, who had issued the order. Stockton did so and was advised by Wampler to seize the property despite the bankruptcy petition because the Leffelmans could not be trusted. At that point, Terry Leffelman, who was listening to the conversation on another extension, began to argue with Judge Wampler. The Judge thereupon instructed Stockton to call him from someplace other than the Leffelman farm. Stockton also testified that he did not consent to anyone listening to the telephone conversation.

Judge C. Howard Wampler, a circuit court Judge in Bureau County, testified that he had a telephone conversation with Eugene Stockton concerning the Leffelmans' purported bankruptcy stay and that he became angry when he discovered that Terry Leffelman was listening to the conversation. Judge Wampler also testified that he did not consent to anyone listening to his conversation with Stockton.

Jean Delhotal, a certified court reporter for Lee County, testified that she was the court reporter who recorded Donald Tangwall's testimony as a witness during a criminal trial involving Terrence Leffelman. Delhotal stated that a transcript of Tangwall's testimony, which was marked as an exhibit, was accurate, and it was admitted into evidence.

The final witness for the State was Judge John Payne, who presided at Terrence Leffelman's criminal trial. Judge Payne stated that Donald Tangwall testified at Terrence Leffelman's trial, and that the transcript admitted in evidence was a true and accurate report of his testimony. Judge Payne then read the following questions and answers from Donald Tangwall's testimony:

"Yes. I'll preface these with answer and question. The answers are being given on this page by Mr. Tangwall, and the questions are by Miss Walker, who was the prosecutor.' Answer: 'Was I present on the property at that time. Yes, I was.' Question: 'And did you see Sheriff Nehring?' Answer: 'No, I did not.' Question: 'Now you don't recall having seen him at all through the day?' Answer: 'None whatsoever, no.' Question: 'Where were you when this purported incident involving the tool shed and Mr. Leffelman and the sheriff took place?' Answer: ' I was in the basement tape recording conversations between Mr. Wampler, the attorney at Bureau County, the State's Attorney of this county, and Mr. Terry Leffelman.' Question: 'Was that with the permission of any of those people?' Answer: 'Permission of what people?' Question: 'Any of the people involved in that conversation you just described.' Answer: 'No, but of course it's not offered as evidence right now.' Question: 'All right. Thank you. You say there was a Mr. Wampler?' Answer: 'C. Howard Wampler I believe.' Question: 'Is that by some chance a Judge of Bureau County?' Answer: 'That's who it is; correct.' Question: 'You were tape recording conversations involving Judge Wampler, State's Attorney of Lee County' -- and then there's an interrupted answer. Answer: 'State's Attorney Stockton and Mr. Nehring and Mr. Terry Leffelman. That's correct.'" (Emphasis added.)

The State concluded its case in chief by asking the court to take judicial notice that a tape recorder is an eavesdropping device. Defendant's motion for a directed verdict was denied, and he opened ...


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