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11/30/88 the People of the State of v. Inc.

November 30, 1988





531 N.E.2d 1001, 176 Ill. App. 3d 951, 126 Ill. Dec. 374 1988.IL.1725

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard J. Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. WHITE, P.J., and FREEMAN, J., concur.


Defendants, I.W.I., Inc., Wellco Chemical, Inc., Itasco of Illinois, Inc., and Glenn Wellman , appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County holding all defendants in contempt of court. On appeal, IWI argues that (1) it was deprived of due process by the summary

and test tote bins. Tote bins are large stainless steel and other material storage or transportation tanks used to transport paint, ink, grease and other material. IWI was served with various subpoenas duces tecum issued by the grand jury of the circuit court of Cook County. These subpoenas sought production of IWI's corporate records detailing IWI's operation from "January 1, 1983 until the present." IWI filed a

Without complying with the order to produce documents, IWI filed another motion to quash the subpoenas. In this motion, IWI argued that any proceeding on the subpoenas before Judge Fitzgerald was collaterally estopped by an order entered on November 21, 1985, in a civil proceeding by Judge David J. Shields. IWI asserted that because Judge Shields had determined that the government's complaint for injunctive relief under Title V of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1001 et seq.) was insufficient, the State was collaterally estopped from criminally prosecuting IWI in relation to the storage, accumulation or disposal of hazardous waste. In denying this second motion to quash, the court, on December 16, 1985, ordered compliance by December 26, 1985, and cautioned that any materials received under the subpoenas were to be used only in the grand jury investigation.

On January 13, 1986, the State informed Judge Fitzgerald that IWI did not intend to comply with the order to produce documents. The State filed a verified petition for a rule to show cause why IWI should not be held in contempt and a hearing was set for January 17. On January 17, IWI appeared and filed a motion to quash the State's petition. At a

later hearing on the State's petition, IWI argued that it had not complied with the order directing it to furnish documents to the grand jury that were commanded by the subpoenas because: (1) the petition was vague and indefinite; (2) the proceeding on the State's petition had denied them due process of law; (3) the petition had defective verification; and (4) compliance with the subpoenas would have an oppressive effect on its business.

On March 25, 1986, the court denied IWI's motion to quash the State's rule to show cause and found that IWI was not justified in its reasons for refusing to comply with the subpoenas. IWI was held in contempt of court and the court imposed a fine of $500 for each additional day of noncompliance. IWI informed the court that it would file a notice of appeal and a motion to stay the fine pending appeal. IWI filed its notice of appeal on March 25, 1986. On April 7, 1986, the court issued an order that the $500 fine would run "from March 25, the date that we entered the order, until final Disposition." IWI first argues that it was denied due process of law in the summary

procedure used by the court in finding it in contempt of court. To support its position, IWI contends that it was held in indirect criminal contempt of court and therefore it was entitled to all of the safeguards afforded to criminal proceedings. We find IWI's position without merit.

We initially note that the court did not specify whether it was finding IWI in direct or indirect contempt of court. Nor did the court specify

Contempt of court is defined as contumacious "verbal or nonverbal conduct calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct a court in its administration of Justice or to derogate from its authority or dignity, or bring the administration of Justice into disrepute." (Sunset Travel, Inc. v. Lovecchio (1983), 113 Ill. App. 3d 669, 674, 447 N.E.2d 891, 895.) Contempt of court may also result from failure to abide by the terms of a court order or judgment. Furthermore, such conduct may be tried as ...

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