Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

CITY OF WATSEKA v. ILL. PUB. ACTION COUNCIL

January 16, 1984

CITY OF WATSEKA, COUNTY OF IROQUOIS, AND STATE OF ILLINOIS, A HOME RULE MUNICIPALITY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS PUBLIC ACTION COUNCIL, AND AMERICAN LIBERTIES UNION, DEFENDANTS. ILLINOIS PUBLIC ACTION COUNCIL, PLAINTIFF, V. CITY OF WATSEKA, COUNTY OF IROQUOIS AND STATE OF ILLINOIS, A HOME RULE MUNICIPALITY, AND ERNEST A. GROVE, MAYOR OF WATSEKA INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baker, Chief Judge.

ORDER

This matter is currently before the court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment.

On October 8, 1982, the plaintiff, City of Watseka, Illinois (hereinafter "Watseka"), filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Iroquois County, Illinois. The complaint sought a declaratory judgment that § 19-9 of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Watseka (regulating the hours of door-to-door solicitation) is a valid and constitutional exercise of Watseka's police powers. Watseka also sought an injunction, prohibiting the defendant Illinois Public Action Council (hereinafter "IPAC") from violating the ordinance.

On November 29, 1982, IPAC and co-defendant, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU) filed a Petition for Removal in this court. The petition was granted and on December 6, 1982, IPAC and ACLU filed their Answer and Counterclaim. In its counterclaim, IPAC sought a declaratory judgment that Watseka's ordinance is unconstitutional, both on its face and as applied to IPAC, an injunction, prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance, and compensatory and punitive damages.

On June 29, 1983, Watseka filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, together with exhibits, affidavits, and a memorandum in support of the motion. By its motion, Watseka seeks summary judgment in its favor on the declaratory judgment action and dismissal of IPAC's counterclaim. On July 19, 1983, IPAC and ACLU filed a Motion in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross Motion for Summary Judgment, and a memorandum in support of the defendants' motion. By their motion, the defendants seek summary judgment in their favor on the declaratory judgment action.

The relevant facts are simple and undisputed. On October 15, 1979, Watseka passed an ordinance regulating solicitation within the city limits. That part of the ordinance which is at issue limits solicitation in private residences in Watseka to the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and prohibits solicitation on holidays.

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In determining whether summary judgment is proper, a court ordinarily must view the record in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, drawing all inferences most favorable to that party. Rose v. Bridgeport Brass Co., 487 F.2d 804, 808 (7th Cir. 1973).

IPAC's canvassing and solicitation activities are clearly protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Village of Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 444 U.S. 620, 100 S.Ct. 826, 63 L.Ed.2d 73 reh'g denied, 445 U.S. 972, 100 S.Ct. 1668, 64 L.Ed.2d 250 (1980). It is also well established that Watseka has the power to regulate the activities of canvasers and solicitors if the regulation is in furtherance of a legitimate governmental objective. See ACORN v. City of Frontenac, 714 F.2d 813 (8th Cir. 1983). See e.g., Hynes v. Mayor of Oradell, 425 U.S. 610, 616-17, 96 S.Ct. 1755, 1758-59, 48 L.Ed.2d 243 (1976). However, the regulation of canvassing and soliciting must be undertaken:

  [W]ith due regard for the reality that solicitation
  is characteristically intertwined with informative
  and perhaps persuasive speech-seeking support for
  particular causes or for particular views on
  economic, political, or social issues, and for the
  reality that without solicitation the flow of such
  information and advocacy would likely cease.
  Canvassers in such contacts are necessarily more than
  solicitors for money.

Village of Schaumburg, 444 U.S. at 632, 100 S.Ct. at 833.

It is the duty of the court to determine the constitutional validity of a municipality's regulation. Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 65 S.Ct. 315, 89 L.Ed. 430 (1945). Additionally, "although a duly enacted statute normally carries with it a presumption of constitutionality, when a regulation allegedly infringes on the exercise of First Amendment rights, the statutes proponents bears the burden of establishing the statute's constitutionality." (Emphasis added.) ACORN, 714 F.2d at 817 citing Organization for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415, 419, 91 S.Ct. 1575, 1577, 29 L.Ed.2d 1 (1971). See also Village of Schaumburg, 590 F.2d 220, 224 (7th Cir. 1978), aff'd, 444 U.S. 620, 100 S.Ct. 826, 63 L.Ed.2d 73 (1980).

In Heffron v. International Society for Krishna Conscienceness, Inc., 452 U.S. 640, 101 S.Ct. 2559, 69 L.Ed.2d 298 (1981), the United States Supreme Court stated that the validity of a regulation which infringes upon the exercise of First Amendment Freedoms will be sustained, "only if the regulation is narrowly drawn to further a legitimate governmental objective unrelated to the restriction of communication, and if it does not unduly intrude upon the exercise of First Amendment rights. See also Schad v. Borough of Mt. Ephriam, 452 U.S. 61, 68, 101 S.Ct. 2176, 2182, 68 L.Ed.2d 671 (1981); Village of Schaumburg, 444 U.S. at 637, 100 S.Ct. at 836; L. Tribe, American Constitutional Law, § 12-2 at 581-82 (1978).

In applying the Heffron test to this case, the court recognizes that Watseka's interest in protecting the privacy of its residents is a legitimate governmental objective. However, the regulation enacted by the city unduly intrudes upon the plaintiffs' exercise of their First Amendment rights. Cf. Heffron, 452 U.S. at 658, 101 S.Ct. at 2569.

In ACORN v. City of Frontenac, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found that Frontenac's solicitation ordinance (which was similar to Watseka's) unduly burdened the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights because the City of Frontenac could have achieved its goal of preventing undue annoyance of its residents through means less restrictive to the constitutional freedoms than the means embodied in its regulation. See 714 F.2d at 819. The court found that the city's trespassing laws could be enforced against those who enter ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.