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05/09/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. TONY P. JANOWSKI

May 9, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
TONY P. JANOWSKI, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Logan County. Nos. 94CF92, 94MR49. Honorable Gerald G. Dehner, Judge Presiding.

Honorable Robert W. Cook, P.j., Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Honorable Rita B. Garman, J., Concurring. Presiding Justice Cook delivered the opinion of the court: Steigmann and Garman, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cook

PRESIDING JUSTICE COOK delivered the opinion of the court:

This court is asked to determine what must be pleaded to state an offense under section 5-25(a) of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code (Code) (515 ILCS 5/5-25(a) (West 1992)).

Defendant Tony P. Janowski was charged by information with unlawful possession of protected aquatic life for commercial purposes, a Class 3 felony, in violation of section 5-25(a) of the Code. 515 ILCS 5/5-25(a) (West 1992). The information alleged defendant "for profit or commercial purposes knowingly possessed aquatic life protected by the fish code of Illinois contrary to the provisions of that code inthat said defendant possessed turtles and snakes valued in excess of $300.00." The State also filed a complaint for forfeiture of defendant's 1987 Toyota van based upon its use in the commission of the offense.

Defendant moved to dismiss both the information and the complaint for forfeiture because they failed to allege that the aquatic life "was taken from waters and lands wholly or in part within the boundaries of the State of Illinois as required by 515 ILCS 5/10-75 [(West 1992)]."

At the hearings on defendant's motions to dismiss, the State contended that section 10-75 of the Code was inapplicable to the charged offense, and thus the State did not need to allege that defendant possessed aquatic life from waters wholly or partially in Illinois. The trial court stated that since the statute was vague and unclear, the question should be resolved in defendant's favor. Accordingly, the trial court dismissed the complaint for forfeiture and the criminal information. The State appeals both dismissals. The cases have been consolidated on appeal.

Section 5-25 provides:

"(a) Any person who, for profit or commercial purposes, knowingly captures or kills, possesses, offers for sale, sells, offers to barter, barters, offers to purchase, purchases, delivers for shipment, ships, exports, imports, causes to be shipped, exported, or imported, delivers for transportation, transports or causes to be transported, carries or causes to be carried, or receives for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export any aquatic life, in part or in whole of any of the species protected by this Code, contrary to the provisions of the Code, and that aquatic life, in whole or in part, is valued in excess of a total of $300, as per value specified in subsection (c) of this Section, commits a Class 3 felony.

***

(c) For purposes of this Section, the value of all species protected by this Code, whether dressed or not dressed, is as follows:

(3) For processed turtle parts, $6 for each pound or fraction of a pound. For each non-processed turtle, $8 per turtle.

(4) For frogs, toads, salamanders, lizards, and snakes, $2 per animal ...


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