Pro Se Chicago's Weblog

January 19, 2010

Massive federal memorandum of law proving IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan & judges lack immunity – liable for malicious prosecution


The civil rights suit against Lisa Madigan, Jorge Alonso, Kathleen Pantle, John Fearon, Patrick Murray, William Reibel, Patrick Keenan, Nicholas Cozzolino, Julia Lovett, Charlene Wells can be read at this link.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

EASTERN DIVISION

 

LINDA SHELTON v. ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN et al.

Case Number 06 C 4259

before Honorable Judge Joan H. Lefkow        

MEMORANDUM OF LAW – JURISDICTION

 

                Defendant, Pro Se, respectfully presents to this Honorable Court the following memorandum of law concerning statutes and case law regarding total and complete lack of prosecutorial and judicial jurisdiction of sham prosecutors and judges in this case.

Judges and prosecutors have absolute immunity unless they totally lack subject-matter or personal jurisdiction in the case. A judge acting without subject-matter jurisdiction is acting without judicial authority. Cohens v. Virginia,  19 U.S. (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821) The U.S. Supreme Court, in Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974) stated that "when a state officer acts under a state law in a manner violative of the Federal Constitution”, he "comes into conflict with the superior authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his official or representative character and is subjected in his person to the consequences of his individual conduct. The State has no power to impart to him any immunity from responsibility to the supreme authority of the United States." [Emphasis supplied in original].

State officials may be sued as individuals in § 1983 actions. Brokaw v. Mercer County, 235 F.3d 1000 (7th Cir. 2000).

Plaintiff alleges that the prosecutors and judges sued in this case totally lacked subject matter jurisdiction and therefore pursued this prosecution and presided over this prosecution without any legal authority as individuals and trespassers of the Constitution of the United States. The sham prosecutors had no constitutional or statutory authority or jurisdiction to bring the Medicaid vendor fraud charge. The court had no subject matter jurisdiction because the indictment was legally insufficient and failed to state a charge, the charges were void as a violation of the Supremacy clause, the charges were void due to vagueness, and therefore there was a total and complete failure to charge a crime.

[The following are the subtitles in the document. See link for full document of 42 pages. A limited number of excerpts are included as follows:]

INDICTMENT LEGALLY INSUFFICIENT

SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION OF THE COURT

            A Judge may not claim jurisdiction by fiat. All orders or judgments issued by a judge in a court of limited jurisdiction must contain the findings of the court showing that the court has subject-matter jurisdiction, not allegations that the court has jurisdiction. “. . . in a special statutory proceeding an order must contain the jurisdictional findings prescribed by statute.” In re Jennings, 68 Ill.2d 125, 368 N.E.2d 864 (1977) A judge’s allegation that he has subject-matter jurisdiction is only an allegation. Lombard v. Elmore,  134 Ill.App.3d 898, 480 N.E.2d 1329 (1st Dist. 1985), Hill v. Daily, 28 Ill.App.3d 202, 204, 328 N.E.2d 142 (1975). Inspection of the record of the case is the controlling factor. If the record of the case does not support subject-matter jurisdiction, then the judge has acted without subject-matter jurisdiction.  “If it could not legally hear the matter upon the jurisdictional paper presented, its finding that it had the power can add nothing to its authority, – it had no authority to make that finding.” The People v. Brewer, 328 Ill. 472, 483 (1928) Without the specific finding of jurisdiction by the court in an order or judgment, the order or judgment does not comply with the law and is void. The finding can not be merely an unsupported allegation.

The law is well-settled that a void order or judgment is void even before reversal. “Courts are constituted by authority and they cannot go beyond that power delegated to them. If they act beyond that authority, and certainly in contravention of it, their judgments and orders are regarded as nullities. They are not voidable, but simply void, and this even prior to reversal.” Vallely v. Northern Fire & Marine Ins. Co.,  254 U.S. 348, 41 S.Ct. 116 (1920)

           A court has no jurisdiction where the public policy of the State of Illinois is violated [a crime must be alleged and state ALL the elements of the offense for the complaint to be valid], People v. Meyers, 158 Ill.2d 46, 51 (1994);  Martin-Tregona v. Roderick, 29 Ill.App.3d 553, 331 N.E.2d 100 (1st Dist. 1975).

            Courts may not attempt to resolve controversies which are not properly presented to them for, if they should do so, it would violate not only the precepts of Constitutional due process, but would fly in the face of the American tradition of adversary litigation. In Re Custody of Ayala, 344 Ill.3d 574, 800 N.E.2d 524, 534-35 (1st Dis. 2003); Ligon v. Williams, 264 Ill.App.3d 701, 637 N.E.2d 633, 639 (1st Dis. 1994); In re Estate of Rice, 77 Ill.App.3d 641, 656-57, 396 N.E.2d 298, 310 (1979)

            The Constitutional source of a circuit court’s jurisdiction does not carry with it a license to act in ways inconsistent with controlling statutory law. In re D.W. (People v. Lisa M.), 214 Ill.2d 289, 827 N.E.2d 466, 480 (Ill. 2005); In re Lawrence M., 172 Ill. 2d 523, 529, 670 N.E.2d 710, (Ill. 1996), citing In re M.M., 156 Ill. 2d 53, 75, 619 N.E.2d 702, (Ill. 1993) (Miller, C.J., concurring, joined by Bilandic, J.)

            A void judgment, order, or decree is one in which the rendering court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, lacked personnel jurisdiction, lacked the inherent power or authority to make or enter or enforce the particular order involved. In re D.W. (People v. Lisa M.), 214 Ill.2d 289, 827 N.E.2d 466, 480 (Ill. 2005); People v. Thompson, 209 Ill.2d 19, 23, 805 N.E.2d 1200, 1203 (Ill. 2004); Sarkissian v. Chicago Board of Education, 201 Ill.2d 95, 103, 776 N.E.2d 195, (Ill. 2002), quoting Barnard v. Michael, 392 Ill. 130, 135, 63 N.E.2d 858 (1945).  A judge should not proceed in any action in which the judge does not have subject-matter jurisdiction, since she has no lawful authority to act. Any acts made without jurisdiction are void.

FRAUD UPON THE COURT BY PROSECUTOR OR COMPLAINANT

INVALIDATES ALL ORDERS OF COURT

            Fraud upon the court in obtaining a complaint, information, or indictment invalidates all orders of the court and causes the case to be null and void ab initio.  “Fraud upon the court” has been defined by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to “embrace that species of fraud which does, or attempts to, defile the court itself, or is a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery can not perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudging cases that are presented for adjudication.” Kenner v. C.I.R., 387 F.3d 689 (1968); 7 Moore’s Federal Practice, 2d ed., p. 512, ¶ 60.23. The 7th Circuit further stated “a decision produced by fraud upon the court is not in essence a decision at all, and never becomes final.”

 It is also clear and well-settled Illinois law that any attempt to commit “fraud upon the court” vitiates the entire proceeding. People v. Sterling, 357 Ill. 354; 192 N.E. 229 (1934) (“The maxim that fraud vitiates every transaction into which it enters applies to judgments as well as to contracts and other transactions.”); Moore v. Sievers, 336 Ill. 316; 168 N.E. 259 (1929) (“The maxim that fraud vitiates every transaction into which it enters …”); In re Village of Willowbrook, 37 Ill.App.2d 393 (1962) (“It is axiomatic that fraud vitiates everything.”); Dunham v. Dunham, 57 Ill.App. 475 (1894), affirmed 162 Ill. 589 (1896); Skelly Oil Co. v. Universal Oil Products Co., 338 Ill.App. 79, 86 N.E.2d 875, 883-4 (1949); Stasel v. The American Home Security Corporation, 362 Ill. 350; 199 N.E. 798 (1935).
        Under Illinois and Federal law, when any officer of the court has committed “fraud upon the court”, the orders and judgment resulting from such fraud on that court are void, of no legal force or effect.

In this case the fraud consisted of the Illinois Attorney General fraudulently claiming to have the authority to prosecute vendor fraud without the at least minimal participation and knowledge of the States Attorney of Cook County, the State fraudulently presenting the law to the court and ignoring the Supremacy clause as well as the State Codes and Rules, the State fraudulently claiming Defendant had committed a crime, the State fraudulently claiming that the indictment was legally sufficient, the State fraudulently claiming that the statute of limitations had not run out, the State fraudulently agreeing with the court that Federal Medicaid Code was not applicable in this case of Medicaid vendor fraud,

JUDICIAL TRESPASSERS OF THE LAW

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that "if the magistrate has not such jurisdiction, then he and those who advise and act with him, or execute his process, are trespassers." Von Kettler et.al. v. Johnson, 57 Ill. 109 (1870)

Under Federal law which is applicable to all states, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that if a court is "without authority, its judgments and orders are regarded as nullities. They are not voidable, but simply void; and form no bar to a recovery sought, even prior to a reversal in opposition to them. They constitute no justification; and all persons concerned in executing such judgments or sentences, are considered, in law, as trespassers." Elliot v. Piersol, 1 Pet. 328, 340, 26 U.S. 328, 340 (1828)

The Illinois Supreme Court held that if a court "could not hear the matter upon the jurisdictional paper presented, its finding that it had the power can add nothing to its authority, - it had no authority to make that finding." The People v. Brewer, 128 Ill. 472, 483 (1928). The judges listed below had no legal authority (jurisdiction) to hear or rule on certain matters before them. They acted without any jurisdiction.

When judges act when they do not have jurisdiction to act, or they enforce a void order (an order issued by a judge without jurisdiction), they become trespassers of the law,and are engaged in treason (see below).

The Court in Yates v. Village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, 209 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1962) held that "not every action by a judge is in exercise of his judicial function. ... it is not a judicial function for a judge to commit an intentional tort even though the tort occurs in the courthouse."

When a judge acts as a trespasser of the law, when a judge does not follow the law, the judge loses subject-matter jurisdiction and the judge’s orders are void, of no legal force or effect.

By law, a judge is a state officer. The judge then acts not as a judge, but as a private individual (in his person).

VIOLATION OF JUDGE’S OATH OF OFFICE

In Illinois, 705 ILCS 205/4 states "Every person admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor at law shall, before his name is entered upon the roll to be kept as hereinafter provided, take and subscribe an oath, substantially in the following form:

'I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be), that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Illinois, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of attorney and counselor at law to the best of my ability.'"

In Illinois, a judge must take a second oath of office. Under 705 ILCS 35/2 states, in part, that "The several judges of the circuit courts of this State, before entering upon the duties of their office, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, which shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State:

'I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of Illinois, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of judge of ______ court, according to the best of my ability.'"

Further, if the judge had enlisted in the U.S. military, then he has taken a third oath. Under Title 10 U.S.C. Section 502 the judge had subscribed to a lifetime oath, in pertinent part, as follows: "I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; ...".

The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that "No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it.". Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1401 (1958).

Any judge who does not comply with his oath to the Constitution of the United States wars against that Constitution and engages in acts in violation of the Supreme Law of the Land. The judge is engaged in acts of treason.

Having taken at least two, if not three, oaths of office to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, any judge who has acted in violation of the Constitution is engaged in an act or acts of treason (see below).

If a judge does not fully comply with the Constitution, then his orders are void, In re Sawyer, 124 U.S. 200 (1888), he/she is without jurisdiction, and he/she has engaged in an act or acts of treason.

TREASON BY A JUDGE

Whenever a judge acts where he/she does not have jurisdiction to act, the judge is engaged in an act or acts of treason. U.S. v. Will, 449 U.S. 200, 216, 101 S.Ct. 471, 66 L.Ed.2d 392, 406 (1980); Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821)

        The Supreme Court has also held that if a judge wars against the Constitution, or if he acts without jurisdiction, he has engaged in treason to the Constitution. If a judge acts after he has been automatically disqualified by law, then he is acting without jurisdiction, and that suggest that he is then engaging in criminal acts of treason, and may be engaged in extortion and the interference with interstate commerce.
        Courts have repeatedly ruled that judges have no immunity for their criminal acts. Since both treason and the interference with interstate commerce are criminal acts, no judge has immunity to engage in such acts.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WITHOUT ANY JURISDICTION TO

INDEPENDENTLY PROSECUTE VENDOR FRAUD

            Statutes and case law regarding constitutional and statutory authority of Illinois Attorney General do not allow the Illinois Attorney General to prosecute Medicaid Vendor Fraud without the invitation, consent, or participation of the Cook County State’s Attorney.

            The Illinois Constitution, Article V, Section 15 states: “The Attorney General shall be the legal officer of the State, and shall have the duties and powers that may be prescribed by law.”

     15 ILCS 205/4 (from Ch. 14, par. 4) states:

 
“The duties of the Attorney General shall be:

Fourth – To consult with and advise the several State’s Attorneys in matters relating to the duties of their office; and when, in his judgment, the interest of the people of the State requires it, he shall attend the trial of any party accused of crime, and assist in the prosecution…

Fifth – To investigate alleged violations of the statutes which the Attorney General has a duty to enforce and to conduct other investigations in connection with assisting in the prosecution of a criminal offense at the request of a State’s Attorney…”

            People v. Massarella, 53 Ill. App. 3d 774 (1977)” states:

“Although a court may request that the Attorney General act in place of the State’s Attorney if he is sick, absent, uninterested, or unable to attend, Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 14, para. 6 (1973), in the absence of such circumstances, even the court may not substitute one official for the other. Moreover, since the State’s Attorney has the duty to take charge and prosecute all criminal offenses in his county, the attorney general has no power to interfere while that duty is being honestly, intelligently, and carefully discharged.

            Nowhere in the Illinois Statutes does it state that an Attorney General may initiate

and pursue a prosecution, independent of the State’s attorney, in a category of crimes not specifically assigned to the Attorney General by Statute, but which falls under the duties of the State’s attorney according to the following Statute:

55 ILCS 5/3-9005(a) states:

“The duty of each State’s attorney shall be: (1) To commence and prosecute all actions, suits, indictments and prosecutions, civil and criminal, in the circuit court for his county…”

            The Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Massarella, 72 Ill.2d 531, 382 N.E.2d 262 (1978), held that the Illinois Attorney General has authority to prosecute any crime with acquiescence of and absent of objection by State’s Attorney. The key is that the state’s attorney had knowledge of the case and actively acquiesced or failed to make an objection. It also held that the Illinois Attorney General has authority to appear before the grand jury without prior approval of the State’s Attorney.

            In People v. Buffalo Confectionery Co., 78 Ill.2d 447, 36 Ill.Dec. 705, 401 N.E.2d

546 (1980) the Illinois Supreme Court, under common law, found that “duties of the Attorney General…include the initiation and prosecution of litigation on behalf of the people.” They state that this power “may be exercised concurrently with the power of the State’s Attorney to initiate and prosecute all actions, suits, indictments, and prosecutions in his county as conferred by statute.”

However, they also ruled that the State’s Attorney is the only official whom by statute can initiate and prosecute criminal charges in that county (Ill.Rev.Stat. 1973, ch. 14, § 5) and that the Illinois Constitution gives the Attorney General only the “duties and powers that may be prescribed by law.” They also ruled that the statutes prescribe the Attorney General’s duties to include to “attend…and assist in the prosecution.” (Ill.Rev.Stat.1973, ch. 14 § 4). Therefore, the Illinois Supreme Court concluded that:

As we have previously stated, the aforementioned duties and powers of the two officers are concurrent. Thus, the Attorney General lacks the power to take exclusive charge of the prosecution of those cases over which the State’s Attorney shares authority. (People v. Flynn (1941), 375 Ill. 366, 368, 31 N.E.2d 591.) However, where the statute so provides, the Attorney General has exclusive authority to institute and prosecute. See, e.g., Ill.Rev.Stat. 1977, ch. 120 par. 453.16 (Cigarette Tax Act prosecution); Ill.Rev.Stat. 1977, ch 38, par. 60-6 (Illinois Antitrust Act prosecution). [They explained that since Illinois Revenue Laws do NOT give the Illinois Attorney General exclusive authority to prosecute violation of revenue laws, the Illinois Attorney General may NOT prosecute these violations without the acquiescence of the State’s Attorney – in the revenue violation case in Buffalo Confectionery Co., the State’s Attorney was deemed to have acquiesced because he had been named to the grand jury, he had signed the indictments, he had attended the arraignments and he had filed certain pretrial discovery motions.)

They also found that an indictment is not invalidated because the Illinois Attorney General appears before the grand jury without approval of the State’s Attorney.

            The court then stated that there was no statute prescribing the duties of the Attorney General to include prosecuting revenue claims to the exclusion of the State’s Attorney. (People v. Buffalo Confectionery, Co., Ibid at page 549 [4].) Analogously, in the above captioned case, there is no state statute that grants the Attorney General exclusive authority to prosecute cases of CRIMINAL vendor fraud. The statutes do however, proscribe the duties of the Attorney General to include exclusive prosecution of CIVIL vendor fraud. (305 ILCS 5/8A-7I.)

            In Buffalo Confectionery, Co. (Ibid at page 548) the court noted that in that case the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) told the grand jury that he had obtained permission of a named Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) to prosecute the case. The named ASA was present at the arraignment and filed a motion for pretrial discovery. The signature of the Cook County State’s Attorney appeared on the indictment. In the case at bar the AAG told the grand jury he had permission of the State’s Attorney, but does not name any such person. The ASA has not appeared at any hearing or before the grand jury in this case and has filed no motions. A signature stamp for SA Richard Divine on the indictment is the only documentation of involvement of the state’s attorney. This signature stamp does not verify that ANY person from the State’s Attorney’s office ever was consulted about this case, was shown evidence  about this case, decided what charges should be filed, and consented to the prosecution of this case by the Attorney General with exclusion of ANY involvement of the State’s Attorney in this case.

            In Buffalo Confectionery, Co. (Ibid at page 548 and 550) the court noted that there was an “obvious acquiescence by the State’s Attorney”, who was present at the arraignment and made a motion for pretrial discovery. In that case, it was clear that the State’s Attorney had considered the case and had decided to allow the AAG to proceed with prosecution without the ASA.

            In, Shelton v. Brown, 126 S.Ct. 51, 163 L.Ed.2d 472, certiorari denied by the United States Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, the Illinois Appellate Court agreed with Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine stated in his Illinois Appellate Court response brief page 12,

“It is clear that in Illinois, even the Attorney General, a constitutionally created prosecuting office, cannot invade the exclusive jurisdiction of the State’s Attorney to bring charges absent some evidence of abuse by the state’s attorney, or a conflict of interest.

            This issue in this case was whether or not citizens can file criminal complaints with the court clerk, without the approval or signature of police or the state’s attorney. The clerk had refused to accept criminal complaints by Shelton against corrupt State and County officials, including the State’s Attorney and police. The Appellate Court ruled that this refusal was proper and that citizens had no standing to file such complaints. The reasoning agreed with Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Divine who opined that the Attorney General has no statutory authority to indict and prosecute a person absent consent and participation of the State’s Attorney. This is binding precedent, so much so that any criminal prosecution of vendor fraud by the AG is null and void if the AG did not have the invitation, consent, and participation or acquiescence of the SA.

            This position was later re-iterated in People v Dosaky,  303 Ill.App.3d 986, 709 N.E.2d 635 Ill.App. 1 Dist., 1999, where the court ruled:

Attorney General lacks the power to take exclusive charge of the prosecution of those cases over which the State’s Attorney shares authority, but is authorized to consult with and advise the several State’s Attorneys and attend the trial of any party accused of a crime and assist in the prosecution.

            Illinois statutes and case law are explicit in that an Attorney General, in Illinois, can only initiate and prosecute a criminal offense if they are invited to do so by the states attorney and the states attorney participates at hearings and at trial, if the State’s Attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, taken some initial steps towards prosecution and acquiesces to the Illinois Attorney General prosecuting without the State’s Attorney’s participation, or if statutory authority is granted, as it is in CIVIL prosecution of vendor fraud (after approval by OIG-DHHS), in certain environmental crimes or in certain cases involving drug crimes  and other statutorily specified crimes.

            Medicaid vendor fraud is not such a special statutory category subject to independent and exclusive prosecution by the Attorney General and cannot be criminally prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General without the written approval of the OIG-DHHS and the request, and at least initial participation of the States Attorney, after the State’s Attorney has evaluated the evidence and determined which offense with which offender should be charged.

            More recently, in People v. Knippenberg, 325 Ill.App.3d 251, 757 N.E.2d 667 Ill. App. 3 Dist., 2001, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the “Attorney General has exclusive authority to initiate and prosecute cases only when a statute so provides.”

            The court in People v. Mitchell, 1971, 131 Ill.App.2d 347, 268 N.E.2d 232 states:

It is the responsibility of State’s attorney of county to appraise evidence against accused and determine offense with which he should be charged.

The court in People v Rhodes, 1967, 38 Ill.2d 389, 231 N.E.2d 400 states:

 

State’s attorney as a representative of the people has responsibility of evaluating evidence and other pertinent factors and determining what offense can properly and should properly be charged.

Therefore, without a specific statute giving the Illinois Attorney General authority to exclusively prosecute criminal Medicaid vendor fraud, the Illinois Attorney General may not prosecute anyone including Defendant in case at bar if there has been no review of evidence by the State’s Attorney, no determination of the charges by the State’s Attorney, no initial participation by the State’s Attorney, and no acquiescence by the State’s Attorney.

            Without the authority of the Attorney General to prosecute the charges, the charges were not properly before the court and the case was void ab initio.

PROSECUTORS ACTING OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THEIR PROSECUTORIAL DUTIES DO NOT ENJOY ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY

            The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals in McGhee v. Pottawattamie Co., 547 F.3d 922 (2008) ruled that malicious and willful acts to fabricate  probable cause are substantive due process violations and subject the prosecutor who fabricated probable cause to liability under § 1983. This is because the United States Supreme Court in Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478 (1991) took a functional approach as to the role of a prosecutor. If his acts were not intimately tied to the prosecution of the case, but were tied to the investigation, the prosecutor was not immune. This is consistent with Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 428, 430 (1971) where the court held that prosecutors are absolutely immune for acts intimately tied to the prosecution.

            In this case prosecutorial absolute immunity does not attach to a prosecutor who never had statutory or constitutional authority to prosecute the alleged crime; does not attach to an Illinois Police investigator prior to the charging of the crime; does not attach to Illinois Medicaid Office of Inspector General nurses serving as investigators; does not attach to Defendant AAG Murray who served as an investigator gathering evidence and later joined the prosecution team; and does not attach to an Attorney General or her staff who willingly and intentionally ignore Illinois Code and Rules as well as Federal Medicaid Code in order to bring false charges to whistle blowers, who are witnesses to their corruption, as is Defendant and the persons the Illinois Attorney General have prosecuted for Medicaid Vendor fraud using virtually identical fraudulent indictments, using the same investigator and witnesses (Inv. Reibel and Lovett), and fraudulently presenting the same false information about the law to the multiple grand juries. These persons have included Dr. Maisha Hamilton Bennett, Vernon Glass, M.S., and Naomi Jennings R.N., as well as Plaintiff.

            Therefore, the Illinois Attorney General, her staff, and her investigators are not immune from liability.

VOID FOR VAGUENESS DOCTRINE

            It is impermissible to prosecute a person, per due process requirements, for a crime if it relies on a vague, ambiguous, or conflicting legal requirement. As the Seventh Circuit Court recently emphasized in Gresham v. Peterson, 225 F.3d 899 (7th Cir. 2000), criminal penalties require a “high degree of clarity.” Id. at 908. A year earlier, the Seventh Circuit Court also held:

The vagueness doctrine holds that a person cannot be held liable for conduct he     could not reasonably have been expected to know was a violation of law.  It is well-settled that, as a matter of due process, a criminal statute that fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute, or is so indefinite that it encourages arbitrary and erratic arrests and convictions is void for vagueness. [United States v. Brierton, 165 F.3d 1133, 1138-39 (7th Cir. 1999) (as amended)]

            The Supreme Court has emphasized this same principle on numerous occasions. In United States v. Harriss, 347 U.S. 612 (1954), the Court held that:

The constitutional requirements of definiteness is violated by a criminal statute that fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute. The underlying principle is that no man shall be held criminally responsible for conduct which he could not reasonable understand to be proscribed. [Id.at 617 (citations omitted)]

See also Dowling v. United States, 473 U.S. 207, 229 (1985) (reversing a conviction because “Congress has not spoken with the requisite clarity” and affirming the “‘time-honored interpretive guideline’ that ‘ambiguity concerning the ambit of criminal statutes should be resolved in favor of lenity’”) (quoting Liparota v. United States, 471 U.S. 419, 427 (1985) and United States v. Hudson, 7 Cranch 32 (1812), inner quotations omitted.)

            Even if the Illinois regulation per the Administrative Code is upheld to deny reimbursement for these counseling services to the poor, all defendants in any similar vendor fraud cases indictments and prosecutions cannot be sustained amid the uncertainty and vagueness created by the federal-state conflict. Indictment and prosecution of any defendant under a similar theory to this case of substitute billing run afoul of the Seventh Circuit Court’s holdings in Gresham and Brierton, and the Supreme Court precedents following Harriss.

            “It is well known that ‘no one may be required at peril of life, liberty or property to speculate as to the meaning of penal statutes.’” United States v. Ward, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15897 (E.D. Pa Sept. 5, 2001). *12 (quoting Lanzetta v. New Jersey,  306 U.S. 451 (1939)). The Ward court then detailed the rigorous threshold test necessary for criminalizing conduct in the regulatory arena:

Especially where a regulation subjects a private party to criminal sanctions, ‘a regulation cannot be construed to mean what an agency intended but did not           adequately express.’ Diamond Roofing Co., Inc. v OSHRC, 528 F.2d 645, 649 (5th Cir 1976). As Bethlehem Steel made clear, ‘if the language is faulty, the Secretary has the means and obligation to amend.’ [Ward, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15897, *19 – *19 (quoting Bethlehem Steel v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Comm’n, 573 F.2d 157, 161 (3rd Cir. 1978)).]

            The Ward Court cited a legion of precedents requiring dismissal of the indictment, which likewise require dismissal of the indictment in the vendor fraud case against Plaintiffs. “[I]t is our view that courts should not defer to an agency’s informal interpretation of an ambiguous statute or regulation in a criminal case.” Ward, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15897, *22. See United States v. McGoff, 831 F.2d 1071, 1077 (D.C. Cir. 1987),

In the criminal context, courts have traditionally required greater clarity in draftsmanship than in civil contexts, commensurate with the bedrock principle that in a free country citizens who are potentially subject to criminal sanctions should have clear notice of the behavior that may cause sanctions to be visited upon them.[;]

See also United States v. Apex Oil Co., Inc.,  132 F.3d 1287 (9th Cir. 1997) (affirming dismissal of indictment because the conduct was not clearly forbidden by the regulations); United States v. Plaza Health Laboratories, Inc., 3 F.3d 643, 649 (2nd Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 512 U.S. 1245 (1994) (in criminal cases, “a court will not be persuaded by cases urging broad interpretation of a regulation in the civil-penalty context”). See also, United States v. Whiteside, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 4610, *18 – *19 (11th Cir. Mar. 22, 2002) (“The government cannot meet its burden in this case because, despite its contention to the contrary, no Medicare regulation, administrative ruling, or judicial decision exists that clearly “proscribes defendants’ conduct.)

            The indictments in the vendor fraud case against defendant and all defendants in similar cases fail to cite violation of any binding federal rule. Accordingly, the indictments directly contravene Supreme Court teaching in Christensen v. Harris County, 529 U.S. 576 (2000), and over 150 decisions that have relied on it. Defendant and similarly situated defendants in other cases administered much-needed services to the poor under the federally funded Medicaid program, in full compliance with all applicable federal laws and formal regulations. It is contrary to Christensen and its progeny to sustain Defendant’s and similarly situated defendants’ indictments for conduct that did not violate any clear and binding rules.

            The Medicaid program has been recognized to constitute one of the most complex and intractable regulatory systems in our country. See Herweg v. Ray, 455 U.S. 265 (1982) Burger, J., dissenting) (observing that ‘the Medicaid program is a morass of bureaucratic complexity.”) Medicaid generally provides the lowest level of reimbursement, and requires treatment of the most ill and difficult patients. Physicians who participate in the low-paying Medicaid program should not be imprisoned based on a game of “gotcha”. See United States v. Harris, 942 F.2d at 1132 (“If the obligation . . . is sufficiently in doubt, willfulness is impossible as a matter of law, and the ‘defendant’s actual intent is irrelevant.’”) (citing Garber, 607 F.2d at 98, quoting United States v. Critzer, 498 F.2d 1160, 1162 (4th Cir. 1974)). Indictment and/or conviction of Medicaid physicians based on regulatory gamesmanship is both unjust to defendants and catastrophic to the needy patients, because it drives small practitioners out of Medicaid.  Courts are increasingly dismissing these types of fraud charges against physicians, and dismissal is appropriate in the vendor fraud case against Plaintiffs. See, e.g State v. Vainio, 2001 MT 220, 35 P.3d 948 (Mont. 2001) (reversing a Medicaid conviction because it was based on an improperly promulgated state regulation); Siddiqi v. United States, 98 F.3d 1427, 1429 (2nd Cir. 1996) (reversing Medicare fraud convictions for “claim[s] for services rendered by somebody else”); id. at 1438 (“It takes no great flash of genius to conclude that something is wrong somewhere.”)

            The vendor fraud case against Defendant and similarly situated defendants is void for vagueness, similar to the Siddiqu and the Vainio cases as explained in the precedent setting and controlling cases such as Harriss, Gresham, and Brierton. “Void for vagueness” means criminal responsibility should not attach where one could not reasonably understand that his contemplated conduct is proscribed. United States v. Chandler, 66 F. 3d 1460 (8th Cir. 1995) The vendor fraud case against Defendant and similarly situated defendants clearly falls under the void for vagueness doctrine and should have been dismissed ab initio. Therefore, the trial court never had subject matter jurisdiction.

SUBSTITUTE BILLING NOT A CRIME

Alleged vendor fraud crime outside of statutory authority and

barred by Supremacy Clause

            This is not a matter of an unconstitutional statute. There is no statute or administrative rule in Illinois barring this allegedly criminal act of substitute billing in the case at bar as fraudulently charged. This act is specifically authorized by the federal Medicaid Code, Federal Code of Regulations, State Statutes, and State Administrative Code. Therefore, this case is a matter of enforcing federal code, which is being violated by this fraudulent prosecution, and not a matter of constitutionality of a state statute.

FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES FUNDING OF NON-PHYSICIAN EMPLOYEES OF

PHYSICIANS SERVICES TO THE POOR

 SUMMARY

            In summary, a prosecutor who acts without State or Constitutional authority as a prosecutor, who then generates legally insufficient indictments, using illegally impaneled grand juries, to charge a person with a crime despite the Supremacy clause providing that the act is NOT a crime under federal law, and the fact that the charge is void due to vagueness has failed to state a claim and is not properly before the trial court. The sham prosecutor, her assistants, and their investigators are acting as individuals without legal authority and are all personally liable under § 1983 and state tort law.

            All judge who act on such an indictment, despite the fact it was not properly before the court, especially when they ignore extensive motions by the defendant about these issues, are committing acts of treason and are grossly violating their oaths of office as well as the United States and Illinois Constitutions.

            Therefore, none of the Defendants in this case are immune from liability as prosecutors or judges.

Respectfully submitted by:

__________________________                               

Linda L. Shelton, Pro Se                                           


[1] People v. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d 724 (1996): The defendant was charged by information with disorderly conduct based on transmitting a false report of sexual misconduct to the Department of Children and Family Services. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d at 727. The reviewing court held that the information was insufficient because it did not specify the contents of the false report, and basic fairness required the State to identify the allegedly false statements. Foxall, 283 Ill. App. 3d at 727.

Davis: The reviewing court found that the indictment was insufficient when the defendant was charged with official misconduct based on “disseminat[ing] information,” but the indictment did not identify the contents of the alleged communication. Davis, 281 Ill. App. 3d at 990.

People v. Stoudt, 198 Ill. App. 3d 124 (1990): The reviewing court held that a complaint that charged defendant with resisting a police officer was insufficient when the complaint stated that the officer was engaged in the execution of his official duties but did not identify the authorized act the officer was performing. Stoudt, 198 Ill. App. 3d at 128.

People v. Leach, 279 N.E.2d 450 (Ill.App.1st, 1972): The defendant in Leach was charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer. The charging instrument was insufficient because it only stated that the defendant committed the above offense by knowingly obstructing a police officer. Id. at 453-454

United States v. Bobo, 344 F.3d 1076 (11th Cir, 2003): The indictment was insufficient because it failed to specify the nature of the scheme used by the defendant to defraud the State of Alabama and the United States.

United States v. Nance, 533 F.2d 699 (D.C. Cir., 1976): The indictment was insufficient because it failed to apprise the defendant of the nature of the false pretenses by which the defendant gained unauthorized control over money.

People v. Gerdes, 527 N.E.2d 1310 (Ill.App.5th, 1988): The defendant in Gerdes was charged with obstructing justice by giving false information to the police. The charging instrument did not specify the nature of the allegedly false information. The defendant was therefore left to wonder which of many statements to the police the basis for the charge against him was, so the appellate court dismissed the indictment. Id. 

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June 10, 2009

Sample Appeal of Wrongful Conviction


I have now filed my Illinois Appellate Court appeal of my wrongful conviction for aggravated battery of a correctional officer. Sgt. Anthony Salemi had attacked me, falsified his records, committed perjury, and with the help of Nifong-like prosecutorial misconduct of ASAs Andrew Dalkin and John Maher and extreme judicial misconduct by Judge Joseph Kazmierski, I was convicted and sentenced to two years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections plus one year of mandatory supervised release.

I served the minimum 6 months and the full supervised release and was not able to appeal due to illegal conduct of staff at the Cook County Dept. of Corrections and Illinois Dept. of Corrections where I was held and due to damage to my health requiring several hospitalizations within the last year since my release on March 27, 2008 from prison. The damage to my health was a result of torture at the CCDOC and IDOC by ignorant, sociopathic, poorly trained officers and incompetent medical staff (with the exception of Dr. Baker). The social workers even told me they purposely were told not to allow me to use the law library. My medications were withheld in illegal acts of willful indifference to medical needs.

I have informed the FBI and asked them to prosecute for felony conspiracy to violate rights under color of law, etc.

I will never forget the comment to me at CCDOC by Sgt. Molevetti “We got you on one made charge so I can write anything I want and get you on another.” Officer Levy said the same thing. It appears that falsification of records is common practice at CCDOC. We need to take him down and jail him too!

As soon as I win this one, the mother of all civil rights suits will be filed against these creeps. Any officer who has aided and abetted this wrongful conviction is a target in my book to be arrested, removed as an officer, and jailed for felony conspiracy to violate rights under color of law under federal law.

I strongly suggest that ANY officer or CCDOC staff who has knowledge about this wrongful conviction march over to the FBI on Roosevelt Road, ask for a duty agent and confess and turn in the corupt officers and sergeants. The time is NOW to clean up the CCDOC and get rid of decayed and dead wood! If you don’t turn them in, you are part of the corruption and are condoning it! I have no sympathy for you!

You can read my appeal and the evidence of innocence and Sgt. Salemi’s guilt along with the incomptence of Inv. Sofus, as well as the prosecutorial misconduct at: Appeal-of-Wrongful-Conviction-Battery-Shelton-Illinois-2009

Note that the appeal exceeds the 50 pages allowed by the Appellate Court. I have written a motion for leave to file this 82 page appeal due to the extreme prosecutorial and judicial misconduct resulting in 18 different issues justifying appeal and overturning verdict.

Note that the appendix has case law on spoilation of or failure to produce critical evidence, self-representation, and insufficient indictments – all what I have already posted on this site elsewhere.

October 26, 2008

More Info On Standby Counsel and Self-Representation (Pro Se & Faretta Rights)


The following proves that failure to do a “Faretta inquiry” by the court is reason to overturn a conviction, as is failure to allow a defendant to represent themselves.  See previous posts for more details. The following gives case law as to criteria to be used to decide if a court will appoint standby counsel.

__________________________________________________

 

Case law is clear that the trial court has broad discretion to appoint counsel for advisory or other limited purposes and to determine the extent and nature of standby counsel’s involvement. People v. Redd, 173 Ill.2d 1, 38, 218 Ill.Dec. 861, 670 N.E.2d 583 (1996).

 

Standby counsel may be appointed to assist a pro se defendant “in overcoming routine procedural or evidentiary obstacles to the completion of some specific tasks, such as introducing evidence or objecting to testimony, that the defendant has clearly shown he wishes to complete” and may also help “ensure the defendant’s compliance with basic rules of courtroom protocol and procedure.” McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 104 S.Ct. 944, 79 L.Ed2d 122 (1984).

 


“In deciding whether to appoint standby counsel, the court should consider the following criteria: ‘(1) the nature and gravity of the charge; (2) the expected factual and legal complexity of the proceedings; and (3) the abilities and experience of the defendant.’” People v. Mazur, 333 Ill.App.3d 244, 249, 266 Ill.Dec. 573, 775 N.E.2d 135,140(2002), quoting People v. Williams, 277 Ill.App.3d 1053, 1058, 214 Ill.Dec. 741, 661 N.E.2d 1186 (1996).

 

The Public Defender Act of Illinois permits appointment of a public defender to serve as standby counsel for accused who elects to represent himself in a criminal proceeding. Case law is clear that the trial court has broad discretion to appoint counsel for advisory or other limited purposes and to determine the extent and nature of standby counsel’s involvement. People v. Redd, 173 Ill.2d 1, 38, 218 Ill.Dec. 861, 670 N.E.2d 583 (1996).

 

 Standby counsel may be appointed to assist a pro se defendant “in overcoming routine procedural or evidentiary obstacles to the completion of some specific tasks, such as introducing evidence or objecting to testimony, that the defendant has clearly shown he wishes to complete” and may also help “ensure the defendant’s compliance with basic rules of courtroom protocol and procedure.” McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 104 S.Ct. 944, 79 L.Ed2d 122 (1984).


“In deciding whether to appoint standby counsel, the court should consider the following criteria: ‘(1) the nature and gravity of the charge; (2) the expected factual and legal complexity of the proceedings; and (3) the abilities and experience of the defendant.’” People v. Mazur, 333 Ill.App.3d 244, 249, 266 Ill.Dec. 573, 775 N.E.2d 135,140(2002), quoting People v. Williams, 277 Ill.App.3d 1053, 1058, 214 Ill.Dec. 741, 661 N.E.2d 1186 (1996).

 

The Public Defender Act of Illinois permits appointment of a public defender to serve as standby counsel for accused who elects to represent himself in a criminal proceeding. People v. Gibson, 136 Ill.2d 362, 556 .N.E. 2d 226, 144 Ill.Dec. 759 (1990)., 136 Ill.2d 362, 556 .N.E. 2d 226, 144 Ill.Dec. 759 (1990).

 

October 25, 2008

Standby Counsel for Pro Se Defendant – a Right?


I have a number of times successfully convinced the judge to appoint me standby counsel. An attorney used as standby counsel may NOT  speak in the courtroom, but may offer the defendant technical advice and advice on courtroom procedure. He may even agree to help the defendant with research.

A judge who appoints standby counsel has the responsibility to delineate the limits of the duty of the standby counsel, but they NEVER do this in my experience. This may or may not include assistance in serving subpoenas or formatting documents or legal research.

I have used standby counsel to find out what to say when introducing evidence in court and what is the procedure to present certain evidence to a witness, as well as what is the law pertaining to certain types of motions or discovery.

 

There is no right to standby counsel. Some judges will deny it all the time. Then you are on your own completely and are still held to the standards of an attorney by the court in that you can lose (not be allowed to introduce evidence, be unable to get a motion in limine granted, etc., because you didn’t follow some unwritten or unclear procedure or policy of the court).

 

In this case I was charged with aggravated battery of an officer and filed this memorandum of law to educate the judge on standby counsel case law. This helped get him to allow standby counsel.

 

The charge stemmed from the following: When I went through the security entrance at Bridgeview Courthouse near Chicago in 2002, I was suffering from severe back pain, walking with a cane, and unable to lift my briefcase from a luggage cart. The Deputy, Rebecca Doran, from Cook County Sheriff Courtroom Services refused to let anyone help me lift my bag up onto the table to be scanned. I was unable to do so. I ended up trying to come in to the courthouse slowly through the security gate pulling my bag on the luggage cart and continuously asking them to stop violating the American with Disabilities Act by not assisting me. Doran pushed me and I lost my balance and my arms went flailing. She falsely testified that I attacked her. The C[r]ook County State’s Attorney suborned perjury by putting her on the stand and Doran committed perjury and the SA has refused to prosecute her for this felony crime. My hand holding my keys made a tiny abrasion (3mm X 4 mm) on her arm when my arms went flailing. The judge said he couldn’t see it on the photo of her “injuries.” In the photo she was laughing. She arrested me for felony aggravated battery of an officer. Bail was set at $10,000 and I was jailed at America’s Abu Ghraib, Cook County Jail.

Most Honorable Judge Rhodes ruled at the end of the prosecution case in chief that I had thoroughly impeached the Sheriff deputies and that he was making a finding of not guilty. The deputies said I walked into the building with no medical problems, but when I showed them the prisoner inventory listing my cane as the first item on the list, I got them! They had perjured themselves by denying I was walking with a cane and saying I wildly attacked them like a linebacker.

 

 

MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT, SIXTH DISTRICT

CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS       )

                        Plaintiff,                                    )

                                                                        )

                        v.                                             )           No. 02 CR 28530

                                                                        )

LINDA SHELTON                                         )           Honorable Thomas Panichi who later recused himself

                        Defendant                                 )           (Hon. Judge Rhodes at trial) Presiding Judge

                                               

MEMORADUM OF LAW – STANDBY ATTORNEYS

 

            A defendant has no absolute right to a standby attorney if they elect to defend themselves pro se. The right of self-representation does not carry with it a corresponding right to legal assistance; one choosing to represent himself must be prepared to do just that. People v. Gibson, 136 Ill.2d 362, 383, 144 Ill.Dec. 759, 556 N.E.2d 226 (1990). However, case law is clear that the trial court has broad discretion to appoint counsel for advisory or other limited purposes and to determine the extent and nature of standby counsel’s involvement. People v. Redd, 173 Ill.2d 1, 38, 218 Ill.Dec. 861, 670 N.E.2d 583 (1996). Standby counsel may be appointed to assist a pro se defendant “in overcoming routine procedural or evidentiary obstacles to the completion of some specific tasks, such as introducing evidence or objecting to testimony, that the defendant has clearly shown he wishes to complete” and may also help “ensure the defendant’s compliance with basic rules of courtroom protocol and procedure.” McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 104 S.Ct. 944, 79 L.Ed2d 122 (1984).

            “In deciding whether to appoint standby counsel, the court should consider the following criteria: ‘(1) the nature and gravity of the charge; (2) the expected factual and legal complexity of the proceedings; and (3) the abilities and experience of the defendant.’” People v. Mazur, 333 Ill.App.3d 244, 249, 266 Ill.Dec. 573, 775 N.E.2d 135,140(2002), quoting People v. Williams, 277 Ill.App.3d 1053, 1058, 214 Ill.Dec. 741, 661 N.E.2d 1186 (1996). The Public Defender Act of Illinois permits appointment of a public defender to serve as standby counsel for accused who elects to represent himself in a criminal proceeding. People v. Gibson, 136 Ill.2d 362, 556 .N.E. 2d 226, 144 Ill.Dec. 759 (1990).

April 6, 2004

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                        ______________________

                                                                        Linda  Shelton, Counsel Pro Se

 

October 24, 2008

Vigorous Defense is NOT Contempt – Intent Must be Shown


 

I was unlawfully convicted of criminal contempt for telling Dishonorable Judge Kathleen Pantle that she was aiding and abetting the criminal and impeachable conduct of IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as well as the fact that she was violating her oath of office by continuing with the criminal case against me although she had no jurisdiction.

 

In order to preserve the issue for appeal and because Dishon. J. Pantle refused to appoint a public defender after de facto removing me as Pro Se Counsel by making a written order that I was NOT ALLOWED to file any pleadings [an unconstitutional act that violates her oath of office], I firmly but politely stated I was leaving and not coming back (because she had no jurisdiction and the case was bogus) and turned around and tried to leave.

 

I was immediately arrested and immediately summarily convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to 30 days in CCDOC. [More about all this later!] This memorandum was given to IL Supreme Court on my direct appeal of this criminal contempt conviction [a petty offense]. The IL Supreme Court denied leave to appeal – [ignored my appeal and made no ruling and refuse to consider it.] This criminal contempt case is presently before the U.S. District Court on a habeas corpus petition, as I have exhausted state remedies. If denied the Circuit Court of C[r]ook County may lift the stay on my sentence and I will have to serve the remaining 13/30 days of the sentence and surrender to the C[r]ook County Sheriff. This would be a gross injustice [see next post also]. 

 

As you all should know, under the IL Constitution a citizen has NO RIGHT to an appeal to the IL Supreme Court. Appeals there are by permission and they only take about 5/100 cases, usually if they find it interesting. Only Capital Cases have a right to appeal to IL Supreme Court. Therefore, the IL Appellate Court is ususally the end of the line except you can appeal by means of habeas corpus to Federal District Court AFTER you exhause all state remedies. [Appeal through IL Supreme Court AND file IL habeas corpus petition by means of motion for leave to file it to IL Supreme Court – which takes two to three years in IL – 6 mo to two years in other states].

 You might also want to note the discrimination against Pro Se Defense Counsel and the double standards. In similar cases regarding defense attorneys the judges usually sentence them to $500 fine. I don’t think 30 days for a pro se counsel = $500 for an attorney. This is grossly disproportionate.

 

No. 105037

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

In the

 SUPREME COURT

Of The State of Illinois

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

)  Petition to Appeal as a Matter of Right

) or in the Alternative Petition for Leave

) to Appeal

                                                                        ) 

LINDA SHELTON                                         )  On Appeal from Appellate Court, First

            Defendant-Appellant-Petitioner             )  District, No. 05-2053

) 

v.                                             )  There Heard on Appeal from Circuit

)   Court of Cook County, County

)   Department, Criminal Division

                                                                        )  

)   No. ACC 050087-01

            )  

STATE OF ILLINOIS                                    )   Honorable Judge Kathleen Pantle,

            Plaintiff-Appellee-Respondent              )           Trial Judge

                                                                        )   Order of Trial Court May 10, 2005

)   Order of Appellate Court

)                       June 19, 2007

 

MEMORANDUM OF LAW – VIGOROUS DEFENSE IS

NOT CONTEMPT

 

            Defendant, Pro Se, respectfully presents to this Honorable Court the following memorandum of law concerning statutes and case law regarding a vigorous defense and criminal contempt.

            “We will reverse a finding of direct criminal contempt if the contemnor can show that his conduct was a good-faith attempt to represent his client without hindering the court’s functions or dignity.” In re Marriage of Bartlett, 305 Ill.App.3d 28 (1999).

            In People v. Coulter, 228 Ill.App.3d 1014 (1992), “trial court’s remarks, taken as a whole, exhibit hostility toward the defense”. The courts have stated that overzealous, inappropriately sarcastic, and lack of civility in language of counsel during a vigorous defense does not automatically constitute contempt. Intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and provocation in the underlying proceedings may be considered in determining intent.

 “In attempting to obtain a favorable ruling on their motion for reconsideration, contemnors could have made better use of the English lexicon to further their client’s cause, and the cause of professional civility, but we conclude that the language employed was not, in itself, sufficient to prove intent to embarrass or hinder the court beyond a reasonable doubt.” People v. Griffith, 247 Ill.App.3d 21 (1993)

 

Search for essential elements of crime of contempt must be made with full appreciation of contentious role of trial counsel and attorney’s duty to zealously represent client’s interests, if conduct complained of is that of attorney engaged in representation of litigant; vigorous, independent bar is indispensable to system of justice. Griffith, id.

 

Even though defense counsel may have been overzealous or improperly sarcastic at times, record disclosed that his conduct in courtroom constituted good faith attempt to represent his client’s without hindering court’s functions or dignity and therefore did not constitute direct contempt of court. People v. Miller, 51 Ill.2d 76, 21 N.E.2d 292 (1972)

           

            Although provocation is not a defense, the circumstances of the underlying proceedings may be weighed to determine whether the offense of criminal contempt was proved   beyond a reasonable doubt. In re Marriage of Bartlett, 305     Ill.App.3d 28 (1999); People v. Pearson, 98 Ill.App.2d 203, 240 N.E.2d 337 (1968)

 

In determining whether direct criminal contempt has occurred, the reviewing court may consider provocation by the trial court and erroneous trial court rulings that may have triggered the contemnor’s comments. Bartlett, id

 

Courts should not confuse a vigorous defense with contempt.  Intent must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a conviction for contempt. Without intent, a criminal contempt conviction must be reversed.

 

Dated August 12, 2007.

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

                                                                                _____________________________

                                                                                Linda L. Shelton

Plaintiff-Appellant-Petitioner Pro Se

 

 

Prepared By:

Linda Lorincz Shelton, Ph.D., M.D.

 

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