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People v. Baltzer

January 22, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
JAMES D. BALTZER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 99-CF-136 Honorable George J. Bakalis, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

PUBLISHED

Defendant, James D. Baltzer, appeals his conviction of and sentence for perjury (720 ILCS 5/32--2(a) (West 1998)). We affirm as modified.

The following is taken from the record. The following facts are uncontroverted. On or about January 11, 1994, defendant borrowed approximately $9,845 from West Suburban Bank. Defendant provided his 1982 Corvette as security for the loan, and West Suburban Bank held the title to the Corvette. Defendant then defaulted on the loan and, in response to West Suburban Bank's request, the circuit court issued an order of replevin against the defendant's Corvette. Defendant was served with the order on September 8, 1995. In November 1995, defendant reported to the police that the Corvette had been stolen in Wisconsin. On December 22, 1995, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of West Suburban Bank, and a citation to discover assets was issued to enforce the judgment.

In March 1996, defendant applied for a new title for the Corvette, falsely stating on the title application that the original title, still held by West Suburban Bank, was "missing." Defendant did not identify West Suburban Bank as a lienholder. After receiving the duplicate/new title for the Corvette in April 1996, defendant sold the car to Joseph Williams, an attorney who had previously represented defendant. On October 12, 1996, defendant transferred the title to Williams. Three months later on January 17, 1997, during the citation proceeding, defendant provided the following sworn testimony, essentially stating that the car had been stolen and then recovered and denying recalling what happened to the Corvette or the title. The italicized statements are those alleged to have been perjury in the indictment.

"Q: What became of the title?

A: For the car?

Q: Right.

A: I said I don't have it.

Q: Well, when you last had it, where did it go? Did it get up and walk away?

A: I don't recall.

Q: Did you ever deliver the title to any other person or entity?

A: I don't recall.

Q: Was the title stolen?

A: I don't recall.

Q: Have you ever reported the title stolen?

A: I don't recall. If it was in the vehicle, perhaps it disappeared with that. It has been a while.

Q: Have you ever applied to the Secretary of State for a duplicate or a renewal title?

A: Yes.

Q: When did you do that?

A: I don't recall.

Q: What calendar year, Mr. Baltzer?

A: I don't remember."

As the examination continued, counsel for West Suburban Bank asked defendant additional questions about his application for a duplicate title and how and where defendant recovered the Corvette after it was allegedly stolen. The following colloquy occurred. Again, the italicized statements were alleged to constitute perjury.

"Q: But it did come back into your possession; correct?

A: Yes.

Q: How long did you have it?

A: I don't recall exactly.

Q: Was it more than a week?

A: Well, I have indicated to you I don't recall, so I am standing by that answer.

Q: Okay. Was it more then a month?

A: I don't recall.

Q: Was it more than a day?

A: I don't recall.

Q: What did you do with the vehicle after it came back into ...


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