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People v. Stiles

November 1, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EMIL J. STILES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable John D. Tourtelot, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Quinn

Following a bench trial, defendant Emil J. Stiles (Stiles) was found guilty of violating an order of protection (720 ILCS 5/12-30 (West 2000)) issued to Jane Meredith Leggett (Leggett) and sentenced to 18 months' supervision, 10 days in the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) and fined $150. On appeal, defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the following reasons, we affirm.

THE FACTS

At trial, Leggett testified that she and Stiles began dating in December 1998 and lived together until December 1999. On January 6, 2000, Leggett obtained a temporary emergency order of protection against defendant. The order provided that defendant was not to physically abuse, harass, stalk, interfere with Leggett's personal liberty, or have contact with Leggett by any means.

Defendant testified that he went to 28 North Clark Street to obtain an order of protection against Leggett on January 11, 2000. That day, defendant completed the paperwork to obtain an order of protection against Leggett and requested that Kelly's Pub be named as a protected location because he was planning to seek employment there. However, the hearing on his order was not held until the following day, on January 12, 2000.

Defendant testified that after completing the paperwork, a court clerk informed him that an order of protection had been obtained some days earlier by Leggett. Based on that information, defendant stated that he went to the Daley Center, where he was served with Leggett's order of protection. However, defendant had previously indicated in the paperwork for his order of protection that there was no other action pending between himself and Leggett. On January 12, the defendant failed, either orally or in his written petition, to inform the court of the existence of Leggett's order.

On the night of January 20, 2000, Leggett was at Kelly's Pub, located at 959 West Webster Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, with her friends George Panothiocas and Greg Sochacki. Leggett testified that the defendant walked into the tavern and upon seeing her screamed "son of bitch." Defendant then said, "Hi, Jane Meredith. Hi Meredith. What are you doing here? What's up?" The defendant was standing approximately 10 feet from Leggett.

Leggett said that the defendant continued to speak to her, still saying things like "How are you doing?" and "What are you doing here?" Defendant then said to Panothiocas, "So, I see you made a new friend." Neither Leggett nor Panothiocas responded to defendant.

Leggett further testified that defendant told her, "I'm going to get you kicked out of here. Just watch." Defendant then went to a public telephone where she overheard him call the police and tell the police that he had a restraining order against her, she was on the premises, and she needed to be removed. When the police arrived, Leggett showed them her order of protection against defendant, and the police informed her that defendant had an order of protection against her as well. When Leggett told the police she had not been served with defendant's order, they told her to consider herself served. The police then told her that defendant was in violation of her order of protection and would be removed from the tavern.

Panothiocas testified that he, Leggett and Sochacki had been at Kelly's Pub for approximately an hour when the defendant entered the bar. When defendant entered he "made some kind of derogatory comment." Panothiocas stated that he thought defendant said, "son of a bitch or all s***." Panothiocas said that he did not believe that the comment was directed at Leggett but instead was a general comment that the defendant made upon seeing Leggett. Defendant then said, "you should not be here" and "you have to leave." Defendant then "walked to the end of the bar. He took a seat, [and] made a comment to me." The defendant said, "have you found a new friend?" Panothiocas did not respond. Panothiocas stated that the defendant said, "watch this." The defendant then spoke to a couple of guys at the end of the bar and called the police, who arrived shortly thereafter.

Sochacki testified that when the defendant walked into the bar, he made a comment after seeing Leggett. Sochacki said that he thought the defendant said, "god damn it or Jesus Christ or son of a bitch." Defendant then walked to the end of the bar. Sochacki said that there were some verbal exchanges, none of which he could discern. Sochacki stated that Leggett did not reply. The defendant then said that he was going to call the police, and he requested the phone number or the telephone book and made a phone call. While they were waiting, defendant asked Panothiocas "did you make a new friend or have you made a new friend or something like that." The police arrived next.

Defendant testified that he had been a "regular" at Kelly's Pub for several years before, during and after his relationship with Leggett. Defendant testified that on the evening of January 20, 2000, when he saw Leggett at Kelly's Pub, he informed Leggett of his order of protection against her and told her that she should leave the tavern, believing that his order meant that he could go to Kelly's Pub but Leggett could not. Defendant then called the police. Defendant denied uttering an expletive upon seeing Leggett or going near her in the tavern.

In finding defendant guilty, the court stated that defendant's order of protection had been fraudulently obtained and that defendant had violated Leggett's order of protection. The court specifically stated that the case "really comes down to a matter of the documents. *** The order of ...


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