Illinois Supreme and Appellate Court Case Summaries


No. By Laurence J. Dunford (LJD), Matthew Bertani (MB), Anne Therieau Hayes and Timothy J. Joyce(TJJ)

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People v. Garcia, 2015 IL App (1st) 131180

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2015 IL App (5th) 120401

10 Supreme Court Cases Posted 12-1-16

1. Criminal Law: Appellate court reversed, circuit court affirmed: Defendant could not complain that his 2-1401 petition could not be dismissed for his purported failure to serve applicable State's Attorney; only party to whom service is owed can complain about improper service. Garman, J.

No. 2016 IL 118114  People v. Matthews  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

On March 25, 2012, defendant Jerrell Matthews mailed a petition for relief from judgment via the prison mail system at Menard Correctional Center to the clerk of the Cook County circuit court and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. On May 24,  2012, the circuit court dismissed the petition sua sponte as untimely. The appellate court concluded that the dismissal was premature because the State was never properly served. The judgment of the circuit court was vacated, and the cause remanded. The  State appealed to this court. Appellate Court reversed.

2. Public Bonds: Appellate and circuit courts affirmed: Private citizens had no standing to file suit seeking a claim on public bonds, in which it was alleged that county treasurer conspired with others to charge inflated interest rates as to taxpayer delinquent properties. Kiilbride, J.

No. 2016 IL 120024  Bueker v. Madison County Illinois  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

The issue in this appeal is whether plaintiffs, as private citizens, are proper claimants on a statutorily mandated, public official bond issued by RLI Insurance Company (RLI), as surety, to the Madison County Treasurer and Collector under section 3-10003  of the Counties Code (55 ILCS 5/3-10003 (West 2014)) and section 19-40 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/19-40 (West 2014)). The circuit court of Madison County granted RLI’s motion to dismiss a portion of plaintiffs’ class action complaint  involving plaintiffs’ claim against RLI, pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)). The circuit court determined that plaintiffs were not proper parties to seek redress directly against the public official  bond, and the appellate court affirmed (2015 IL App (5th) 140473-U). We agree and hold that plaintiffs, as private citizens, are precluded from making claims on the statutorily mandated, public official bond at issue in this case. We therefore affirm the  judgments of the appellate court and the circuit court of Madison County dismissing plaintiffs’ claim against RLI.

3. Criminal Law: Mandamus awarded: In case where defendant was found guilty of two separate acts of sexual penetration committed against a single victim while armed with a firearm, trial court erred in refusing to apply 15-year firearm enhancement to both counts. Karmeier, C.J.

No. 2016 IL 120110  People ex rel. Alvarez v. Gaughan  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

The petitioner, Anita Alvarez, State’s Attorney of Cook County, seeks a writ of mandamus (see Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 4(a)) to compel respondent, the Honorable Vincent Gaughan, judge of the circuit court of Cook County, to sentence defendant, Steven  Castleberry, with a mandatory 15-year firearm enhancement imposed on each of his two convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault. See 720 ILCS 5/12-14(a)(8), (d)(1) (West 2008) (providing, in subsection (d)(1), that “15 years shall be  added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court” for aggravated criminal sexual assault when the defendant committed the offense of criminal sexual assault while “armed with a firearm,” as specified in subsection (a)(8), thus rendering the criminal  sexual assault “aggravated”).1 For the following reasons, we reject arguments interposed against issuance and award the writ.

4. Public School Teachers: Appellate and circuit courts affirmed; school board decision reversed: In case where tenured teacher was given "notice of warning" regarding future practices after numerous late attendance and missed days stemming from care of elderly parent, school board's decision to discharge teacher based on teacher's failure to submit lesson plans and for tardiness was against the manifest weight of the evidence, where tardiness was expressly excused by school principal and where tardiness was minimal at best, and discharge was manifestly erroneous. Thomas. J.

No. 2016 IL 120236  Beggs v. The Board of Education of Murphysboro Community Unit School District No. 186  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

Plaintiff, Lynne Beggs, a tenured teacher, was dismissed for cause from her employment by defendant, the Board of Education of Murphysboro Community Unit School District No. 186 (the Board). Plaintiff subsequently requested a hearing before a  mutually selected hearing officer under section 24-12 of the Illinois School Code. Following a four-day hearing, the hearing officer issued findings of fact and recommended that plaintiff be reinstated to her position with back pay and benefits because the  Board failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she had violated a notice of remedial warning or that she had engaged in irremediable conduct that constituted grounds for dismissal. Thereafter, the Board, in a written order, dismissed plaintiff  notwithstanding the findings of fact and recommendation of the hearing officer. Plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court of Jackson County seeking administrative review of her dismissal. The circuit court reversed the Board’s decision and ordered  plaintiff reinstated with back pay and benefits. The appellate court affirmed. 2015 IL App (5th) 150018. We allowed the Board’s petition for leave to appeal.

5. Inspector General/County Ordinance: Circuit court and appellate court affirmed: County assessor was obligated to cooperate with county inspector general in connection with issuance of subpoenas, as county ordinance establishing inspector general office and requiring county officials to cooperate with inspector general was constitutional. Freeman, J.

No. 2016 IL 120315  Blanchard v. Berrios  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

A Cook County ordinance obligates county officers to cooperate with investigations conducted by the Office of the Independent Inspector General (Inspector General) and to comply with subpoenas issued by the Inspector General. At issue in this appeal is whether that ordinance is constitutional as applied to Joseph Berrios, in his official capacity as the assessor of Cook County (the Assessor). The circuit court of Cook County determined that the ordinance is constitutional as applied to the Assessor and entered summary judgment granting declaratory and other relief in favor of the Inspector General. The appellate court affirmed. 2015 IL App (1st) 142857. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

6. Juvenile Court/Parental Rights: Appellate court affirmed, circuit court reversed: In case where custodial father was determined to be an unfit parent, but mother was deemed fit, trial court erred in placing children with DCFS, as statutory scheme provided that children were to be placed with a fit parent, regardless of the trial court's belief that the child's best interest might be wserved by being placed elsewhere. Freeman, J.

No. 2016 IL 119932  In re M.M.  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

At the close of a dispositional hearing on a juvenile petition based on neglect, the circuit court of Peoria County found that respondent, Heather M., was a fit parent to her children, J.M. and M.M. However, the court awarded temporary custody and guardianship to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The appellate court (2015 IL App (3d) 130856) reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded to allow that court to enter specific findings consistent with section 2-27(1) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/2-27(1) (West 2012)). This court allowed the State’s petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. Jan. 1, 2015). For the following reasons, we now affirm the judgment of the appellate court and remand the cause to the trial court for further proceedings.

7. Negligence/Snow & Ice Removal: Appellate court affirmed, circuit court reversed: Snow and Ice Removal Act provides immunity from liability from claims relating to negligent removal of snow and ice, but does not provide immunity from icy sidewalks which result from negligent maintenance of the property, which itself leads to alleged dangerous conditions. Theis, J.

No. 2016 IL 120394  Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc.  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

The question presented in this appeal involves the scope of the immunity provided under the Snow and Ice Removal Act (Act) (745 ILCS 75/0.01 et seq. (West 2010)). Plaintiff, Pamela Murphy-Hylton, slipped while walking on the sidewalk outside her  condominium, sustaining personal injuries. She brought a negligence action in the circuit court of Cook County against defendants, Lieberman Management Services, Inc. (Lieberman), and Klein Creek Condominium (Klein Creek), alleging that a defective condition and negligent maintenance of the premises created an unnatural accumulation of ice, which caused her fall. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that the Act provided immunity to defendants. The appellate  court reversed and remanded, ruling that the immunity under the Act did not bar plaintiff’s cause of action. 2015 IL App (1st) 142804, ¶¶ 41, 47. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the appellate court.

8. Electrical Utilities: Certified question answered: In answering question certified by United States Court of Appeals in connection with federal lawsuit by Illinois resident against alternative retail electric supplier, state supreme court ruled that Illinois Commerce Commission did not have exclusive jurisdiction to resolve "reparation" claim by plaintiff tha supplier charged too much for electricity. Karmeier, C.J.

No. 2016 IL 120526  Zahn v. North American Power & Gas, LLC  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has certified for instruction from this court the following question of Illinois law: Does the Illinois Commerce Commission have exclusive jurisdiction over a reparation claim, as defined in  Sheffler v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 2011 IL 110166, brought by a residential consumer against an alternative retail electric supplier, as defined by section 16-102 of the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997 (220 ILCS  5/16-102 (West 2014))? Zahn v. North American Power & Gas, LLC, 815 F.3d 1082, 1095 (7th Cir. 2016). We accepted the Seventh Circuit’s invitation to consider this question pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 20 (eff. Aug. 1, 1992).1 For the  reasons that follow, we answer the question in the negative. Under Illinois law, the Illinois Commerce Commission does not have exclusive original jurisdiction over such claims. The claims may be pursued through the courts.

9. Criminal Law/DUI: Mandamus awarded: Trial court erred in refusing to treat DUI defendant as a Class 2 felony offender where defendnat had two prior DUI convictions; trial court Class 4 sentence vacated. Kilbride, J.

No. 2016 IL 120544  People ex rel. Glasgow v. Carlson  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

Petitioner, James W. Glasgow, State’s Attorney of Will County, seeks mandamus pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 381 against respondent, the Honorable David M. Carlson, judge of the circuit court of Will County. Petitioner asks this court to  compel respondent to (1) vacate its January 6, 2016, sentencing order, (2) classify as a Class 2 felony Mitchell Harper’s third violation of Illinois’s driving while under the influence (DUI) statute of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501 et seq. (West 2014)), and (3) resentence defendant as a Class X offender pursuant to section 5-4.5-95(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) (West 2014)). For the following reasons, we award mandamus.

10. Criminal Law: Mandamus denied: Trial court properly concluded that recent legislative changes to age of "automatic transfer" juveniles in criminal cases from 15-17 to 16-17, arguably effective on January 1, 2016, were to be given retroactive effect to cases pending against automatic transfer defendants who were 15 years of age when their offenses were allegedly committed, and such cases were to be transferred to Juvenile Court for discretionary transfer hearings. Thomas, J.

No. 2016 IL 120729  People ex rel. Alvarez v. Howard  Filed 12-1-16 (TJJ)

Petitioner, Anita Alvarez, State’s Attorney of Cook County, seeks a writ of mandamus or prohibition against respondent, the Honorable Carol M. Howard, judge of the circuit court of Cook County. See Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 4(a). Following a statutory  amendment that raised the automatic transfer age for juveniles, defendant, Luis Montano, moved to send his pending criminal case to juvenile court for a discretionary transfer hearing. Respondent granted the motion. The State now seeks a writ of mandamus or prohibition directing respondent to rescind her order. We hold that respondent’s order was in conformance with the law, and we therefore decline to award the State a writ of mandamus or prohibition.