787 F.2d 1151 (7th Cir. 1986), 85-2786, Thornton v. Wahl

Docket Nº:85-2786.
Citation:787 F.2d 1151
Party Name:Elizabeth THORNTON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Robert WAHL, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 03, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 1151

787 F.2d 1151 (7th Cir. 1986)

Elizabeth THORNTON, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Robert WAHL, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 85-2786.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 3, 1986

Submitted March 25, 1986.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied April 28, 1986.

Page 1152

Patrick T. Murphy, Patrick T. Murphy, Ltd., Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Joan M. Hall, Jenner & Block, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before CUMMINGS, Chief Judge, and POSNER and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges.

EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge.

Elizabeth Thornton expelled her husband in 1975 from Thornwood, the family home, and he took up residence in one of the estate's coachhouses. In 1978 the state court with jurisdiction of the Thorntons' divorce proceedings ruled that Thornwood is Mr. Thornton's property. After the two were divorced, Mrs. Thornton refused to leave Thornwood. On November 10, 1983, the state court entered a supplemental judgment requiring Mrs. Thornton to depart no later than December 1. She filed an appeal (on November 29) and an application for a stay; although the court did not issue a stay by December 1, Mrs. Thornton did not leave.

Mr. Thornton asked Robert Wahl, the sheriff of LaSalle County (where Thornwood is located) to help him regain the main house of the estate. On December 7 Mr. Thornton, Wahl, and three deputy sheriffs arrived at Thornwood. Mrs. Thornton refused to let them in. While the sheriff awaited the arrival of a locksmith, Mrs. Thornton called her attorney, who (according to the complaint) told her that she was entitled to stay. After the locksmith opened the front door, Mrs. Thornton locked herself in her bedroom. When she emerged, she refused to leave the house without a box of personal possessions, a box too large to fit in her car. It looked like her departure would be indefinitely postponed. The sheriff then arrested her for criminal trespass, in violation of Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 38 Sec. 21-3(a). This statute provides that anyone who "remains upon the land of another after receiving [oral or written] notice from the owner or occupant to depart, commits a class C misdemeanor." Mrs. Thornton was jailed for 2 1/2 hours and released on bond. The State's Attorney later dropped the criminal charge against her. On December 9 the court finally denied Mrs. Thornton's motion for a stay, so Mr. Thornton retained possession of Thornwood.

This suit is Mrs...

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