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DOE v. EDGAR

December 30, 1982

JOHN DOE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JIM EDGAR, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Grady, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is an action brought under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for declaratory and injunctive relief by persons who have been convicted at least twice of driving under the influence of alcohol. Before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. We grant defendant's motion.

We assume the facts as stated by plaintiffs. Plaintiffs bring this action to challenge the policy of defendant Jim Edgar, Secretary of State of Illinois, pertaining to persons with more than one conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol ("drunken driving"). Edgar's policy is to refuse to consider reinstating the driver's licenses of such persons or granting them restricted driving permits until five years after the date of the revocation of their licenses. Plaintiffs, as representatives of these persons, contend that Edgar's policy violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution. They seek class certification.

Due Process Claims

Edgar moves to dismiss this action, claiming that neither reinstatement of a driver's license nor issuance of a restricted driving permit are protected property interests within the meaning of the due process clause. The statutes providing for reinstatement or issuance of a restricted driving permit buttress Edgar's argument. Reinstatement is governed by Ill.Rev.Stats. ch. 95 1/2, § 6-208(b), which provides:

    Any person whose license or permit or privilege to
  drive a motor vehicle on the highways has been
  revoked shall not be entitled to have such license or
  permit or privilege renewed or restored. However,
  such person may make application for a license as
  provided by Section 6-106 of this Act:
    (1) If the revocation was for a cause which has
  been removed, at any time; or
    (2) After the expiration of 1 year from the date of
  revocation, and upon payment of the reinstatement fee
  set out in subsection (g) of Section 6-119.
    In either event, the Secretary of State shall not
  issue such license unless and until he is satisfied
  after investigation of such persons that to grant the
  privilege of driving a motor vehicle on the highways
  will not endanger the public safety or welfare.

The restricted driver's permit provision, Ill.Rev.Stats. ch. 95 1/2, § 6-205(c), provides:

    Whenever a person is convicted of any of the
  offenses enumerated in this Section, the court may
  recommend and the Secretary of State in his
  discretion, without regard to whether such
  recommendation is made by the court, may, if
  application is made therefor, issue to such person a
  restricted driving permit granting the privilege of
  driving a motor vehicle between his residence and his
  place of employment or within other proper limits,
  except that this discretion shall be limited to cases
  where undue hardship would result from a failure to
  issue such restricted driving permit. In each case
  the Secretary of State may issue such restricted
  driving permit for such period as he deems
  appropriate, except that such permit shall expire
  within one year from the date of issuance.

The plain language of these statutes indicates that plaintiffs had neither a reasonable expectancy of a restricted driving permit nor a reasonable expectancy of reinstatement of their driving privileges. Both statutes place great discretion in the Secretary of State.

Plaintiffs contend, however, that they have a protected property interest because Edgar has established a set of procedures that plaintiffs must go through in order to qualify for reinstatement or a restricted driving permit. Plaintiffs fail to cite any authority for this proposition. The court in Rehbock v. Dixon, 458 F. Supp. 1056 (N.D.Ill. 1978), examined the statute providing for restricted driving permits and concluded that, although a property interest was affected when plaintiff's license was suspended, no property interest was affected when plaintiff's application for a restricted driving permit was denied. Id. at 1061. Absent a protected property interest, plaintiffs' due process claims fail. The rationale of Rehbock applies ...


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