See People v. Quiroga, 2015 IL App (1st) 122585 (August). Episode 091 (Duration 8:13)
Criminal trespass to government property can include a ban from your kid’s school.
Besides the legal lesson provided herein, this case also teaches us that it’s never a good idea to lose your cool at a PTA meeting.
The actual charge here is criminal trespass to state-supported land under 720 ILCS 5/21-5(a).
The statute reads:
It’s a misdemeanor, but this is the kind of stuff a typical defense attorney is likely to see.
[ADVICE] PTA Bad Place to Get Violent
So, what does Defendant do to get kicked off of school property?
The record is unclear as to exactly what set him off. But Defendant, basically, loses his cool at an LSC meeting. That’s the Local School Council…
…otherwise known as the PTA!
Defendant got confrontational and wanted to fight the head of the organization. Other parents intervened to separate Defendant.
Quickly, thereafter, the principal sends out notices to Defendant that he is not to return to the school or school property without first calling ahead and explaining the nature of his business.
To be clear, Defendant could come onto school property but he needed to have special permission.
What He Do That Was Illegal?
Subsequently, Defendant is seen to be “harassing” other parents.
A school secretary sees Defendant approaching other parents who were trying to pick their kids up to go home. Specifically, he is seen…
- Approaching the parents
- Engaging with parents
- Carrying paper & clip board
Actually, Defendant was asking other parents to sign a petition.
The petition was seeking to have the principle removed!
But Was This Actually Illegal?
This was pick up time.
So, the other parents were there to pick up and take their kids home. The secretary who called the police did say that Defendant was “harassing” the other parents.
It is very telling, though, that:
- No other parents testified
- No one seen unable to pick up their kid
- No school officials said they were bothered
- No other interference was seen
“Interferes With The Use”
This section of the criminal code requires proof that Defendant was interfering with another’s use of the land.
This is actually a pretty clear and simple term to understand. However, the courts have said that:
With this law and these facts the reviewing court found that the State failed to meet its burden.
There was no direct proof or any proof that Defendant caused any kind of interference with official or public access to the school grounds.
1. Parents were able to pick up their kids.
2. School personnel were not delayed.
3. School personnel could still perform their duties.
The conviction for trespass to state supported property was reversed.
Probably still not a good idea to try to beat-up the PTA president.
Tresspass is related to the crime of Burglary in Illinois.
See also People v. Chai, 2014 IL App (2nd) 121234 (August) Episode 016 (Duration 9:36) (To Be Guilty Of Criminal Trespass In Illinois You Must Have Notice That Are Not Wanted There)