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City of Chicago v. Roman

December 17, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice Freeman:

Agenda September 30, 1998.

Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Edwin Roman, was convicted of the Chicago municipal offense of assault against the elderly. Chicago Municipal Code §8-4-080 (1990). The circuit court imposed a sentence that was less than the mandatory minimum sentence prescribed by the ordinance. The City appealed. The appellate court reversed and remanded for resentencing consistent with the ordi- nance. 292 Ill. App. 3d 546. We allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal (155 Ill. 2d R. 315) and now affirm the appellate court.


The City's evidence at trial was essentially as follows. On August 23, 1994, Anthony Pupius (also spelled "Puprus" in the record) was 60 years old. On that day, he and a visitor, Violeta Valaityte, saw a rental truck enter an alley (also referred to as an "unpaved street" in the record) near his home in Chicago. They came out from his house, and saw defendant and Ricardo Diaz removing packing material, i.e., cardboard cartons and styrofoam, and dumping it in the alley.

Pupius approached defendant and told him to stop dumping garbage. Using abusive language, defendant told Pupius that what they were doing was none of his business, and that he should leave.

Pupius returned to his house and telephoned "911." He went back to the alley with a camera and took pictures of defendant. When defendant saw Pupius photographing him, he, according to Pupius, "became very violent." Defendant, while swearing at Pupius, picked up a stick or tree branch approximately four feet long and two fingers wide and tried to hit Pupius, who was standing four or five feet away from defendant. Pupius, fearful that defendant would hit him with the stick, backed away from defendant and retreated into his house. He again telephoned "911." During this time, defendant returned some of the packing material to the truck. Pupius again came outside with his camera, hoping to take more pictures. By then, defendant had backed the truck around to the front of Pupius' house. The truck stopped as Pupius approached. Defendant and Diaz exited the truck. Defendant approached Pupius, who was backing off; Diaz stood by the truck. Defendant swore at and threatened Pupius, saying that defendant knew what Pupius looked like and where he lived. Eventually, defendant and Diaz reentered the truck and drove approximately one block down the street, where they stopped and rear- ranged their cargo. Chicago police arrived, spoke with Pupius, and then stopped defendant and Diaz.

Defendant and Diaz were arrested and charged with dumping garbage in violation of section 221b of the Criminal Jurisprudence Act (740 ILCS 55/221b (West 1992)). Defendant was also charged with assault against the elderly, i.e., Pupius, in violation of section 8-4-080 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. Chicago Municipal Code §8-4-080 (1990). The defense case was essentially as follows. Defendant and Diaz were delivering home furnishings for Harlem Furniture. They made a delivery on Pupius' street. Defendant admitted placing the packing material in the alley. However, he intended to cut it down in size, return it to the truck, and rearrange it with the remaining furniture. Harlem Furniture was paid for returning and recycling the packaging.

After defendant had put the packing material in the alley, and as he was getting his utility knife, Pupius came out of his house with a camera and accused defendant of dumping garbage. Defendant approached Pupius to explain his actions, but Pupius warned defendant that if he touched Pupius, defendant would be arrested.

Defendant told Diaz that Pupius was acting crazy, and that they should quickly reload the truck with the packing material. They would do their cutting in front of the customer's house. As they began driving, Pupius jumped in front of the truck. Defendant admitted that he exited the truck and exchanged words with Pupius. However, defendant denied ever threatening Pupius either verbally or with a stick.

At the close of the evidence, the circuit court found defendant and Diaz not guilty of garbage dumping, but found defendant guilty of assault against the elderly.

The circuit court subsequently denied defendant's motion to reconsider the finding of guilty on the assault charge. Also, the court denied defendant's motion to declare Chicago Municipal Code section 8-4-080 unconstitutional in its entirety. However, the court ruled that the mandatory minimum sentence that the ordinance prescribes-imprisonment for 90 days-exceeds the City's home rule authority. At the close of the sentencing hearing, the circuit court sentenced defendant to 10 days of community service and to one year of probation.

The City appealed. After finding jurisdiction, the appellate court re- versed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the cause for resentencing. The appellate court initially determined that it had jurisdiction to hear the City's appeal. 292 Ill. App. 3d at 550.

Addressing the merits, the appellate court concluded that (1) it was within the City's constitutional powers as a home rule unit to have a sentencing scheme different from that of the state, and (2) state law does not prevent or restrict the City from prescribing mandatory imprisonment as a penalty in the ordinance. 292 Ill. App. 3d at 550-53. Defendant appeals to this court. We note that we allowed the Illinois Municipal League leave to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the City (155 Ill. 2d R. 345).


I. Preliminary Matters

Prior to reaching the merits, we must first determine whether: (A) the appellate court had jurisdiction to hear the City's appeal from defendant's sentence, and (B) the appeal placed defendant in double jeopardy.

A. The City's Appeal

Defendant first contends that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to hear the City's appeal from his sentence. He argues that a municipality lacks the authority to appeal from a ...

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