The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Colwell
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County.
Honorable Terence M. Sheen, Judge, Presiding.
Contemnor, Michael D. Canulli, a licensed attorney representing respondent Dorothy J. Bartlett, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Du Page County summarily finding him in direct criminal contempt of court and imposing a $500 fine. We reverse.
On January 22, 1998, contemnor filed a motion to continue the February 13, 1998, trial date in this matter. On February 3, 1998, contemnor filed a supplement to his January 22, 1998, motion. The supplement concerned contemnor's theory on petitioner's alleged dissipation of assets and requested that the court order petitioner to produce certain documents and to instruct that the report of his individual retirement account (IRA) be updated. The supplement also requested that depositions be set after the production was completed.
The trial court held a contested hearing on February 3, 1998. During that hearing, contemnor began to discuss the supplement to his motion when opposing counsel objected because he had received a copy of the supplement just the previous day. The trial court then addressed contemnor's dissipation theory in the supplement and made findings and rulings regarding that theory. After a short exchange with contemnor, the court then commented that the supplement was not properly filed.
Contemnor then began to speak and was interrupted by opposing counsel, who again objected, stating that contemnor was arguing his motion. The following exchange then occurred:
"MR. CANULLI (the contemnor): Let me just -- let me just finish.
THE COURT: I have already made my ruling on that issue.
MR. CANULLI: I understand.
THE COURT: That's all. That [sic] all. You can't keep arguing after a Court has made a ruling. Proper procedure is somebody to argue, hear responses. I disagree with you. We're done with the issue. You can preserve it at the time of trial, if you wish. I don't think that it's an issue at the trial. I'm holding it's not an issue. That's my ruling. It will be binding on the trial. I don't think there is a legal basis, I've said that enough now.
So, thank you, you gentlemen are done. You're done. Step away. When the court makes a ruling, you are required to step away.
MR. CANULLI: I'm not arguing with your ruling, Judge.
THE COURT: No, you can file any written papers that you wish, that I will ...