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Stoermer v. Edgar

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1984.

JAY STOERMER, APPELLEE,

v.

JIM EDGAR, SECRETARY OF STATE, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, the Hon. Dennis K. Cashman, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE CLARK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On February 2, 1981, Jay Stoermer was convicted in the circuit court of Adams County of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. As a result of the conviction, Stoermer's driver's license and driving privileges were revoked effective March 10, 1981. On May 26, 1981, after application to the Secretary of State and a formal hearing, Stoermer was issued a restricted driving permit, permitting him to drive to and from his place of employment and in the course of his employment. Prior to the lapse of the above-mentioned permit, Stoermer made a request for a second permit. After a hearing, Stoermer was issued a second restricted driving permit on June 3, 1982. Prior to the lapse of the second permit, Stoermer made a formal request for restoration of his full driving privileges or, in the alternative, for renewal or extension of his second restricted driving permit.

On November 23, 1982, a hearing was held before the Secretary of State. Stoermer's driving record was introduced into evidence. The Secretary of State, pursuant to the recommendation of the hearing officer, denied both Stoermer's request for restoration of his full driving privileges and for renewal or extension of his second restricted driving permit. The Secretary of State entered an order on December 17, 1982, and an amended order on December 29, 1982, denying Stoermer's requests. On December 23, 1982, Stoermer filed suit in the circuit court of Adams County seeking review and reversal of the decision of the Secretary of State.

On May 4, 1983, a hearing was held in the circuit court. The circuit court judge announced his decision to reverse the decision of the Secretary of State and to restore Stoermer's full driving privileges. The circuit court judge directed Stoermer's attorney to prepare a written order. The order stated:

"Cause comes on for hearing on complaint. Argument heard, the court reverses the decision of the Secretary of State, and the defendant is hereby ordered to issue to the plaintiff full driving privileges upon meeting usual requirements, with Plaintiff's Restricted permit to continue in effect pending issuance of full privileges. Cause set for hearing on Defendant's motion for stay, if any, on May 27 1983 at 2:00 P.M. FORMAL ORDER TO FOLLOW."

The judge signed the order prepared by Stoermer's counsel, and the order was stamped "FILED" by the clerk of the circuit court of Adams County.

On May 26, 1983, the day before the hearing, which had previously been set, on the Secretary of State's motion for a stay, the Secretary of State filed a notice of appeal to the Appellate Court, Fourth District. On May 27, 1983, the Secretary of State's motion for stay was denied and a formal typewritten order was entered. The formal order stated:

"This cause having come before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint under the Administrative Review Act, the Court having reviewed the record of the Administrative Hearing held on November 23, 1982, concerning Plaintiff's application for restoration of full driving privileges, the Court having reviewed all other portions of the record filed with the Court pursuant to the Defendant's Answer, the Court having heard argument from counsel with regard to the Complaint, and the Court having found that it has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter hereto,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, and the Court so finds that the decision of the Secretary of State in denying restoration of Plaintiff's full driving privileges was without any basis in law or in fact, was arbitrary, and must be reversed as a matter of law. The Court further finds that the evidence before the Defendant at the hearing held on November 23, 1982, fully supported restoration of the Plaintiff's full driving privileges, and accordingly, the Court hereby orders the Defendant to restore the Plaintiff's full driving privileges, upon the Plaintiff meeting the usual and customary requirements pursuant to an application for privileges. The Court further orders that the Plaintiff's restricted permit be continued in effect pending the issuance by the Defendant of the Plaintiff's full driving privileges."

The Appellate Court, Fourth District, in its opinion filed on November 21, 1983, dismissed the Secretary of State's appeal because it held that, since the notice of appeal was premature, it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The appellate court cited our Rule 272 (87 Ill.2d R. 272), which provides:

"If at the time of announcing final judgment the judge requires the submission of a form of written judgment to be signed by him, the clerk shall make a notation to that effect and the judgment becomes final only when the signed judgment is filed. If no such signed written judgment is to be filed, the judge or clerk shall forthwith make a notation of judgment and enter the judgment of record promptly, and the judgment is entered at the time it is entered of record."

The appellate court then stated:

"The trial court's handwritten memorandum indicated that a formal order would be entered at a later time. A memorandum signed by the court cannot be deemed to be the judgment of record; it is but a direction to enter a judgment or an indication of what the judgment will be. (Davidson Masonry & Restoration, Inc. v. J.L. Wroan & Sons, Inc. (1971), 2 Ill. App.3d 524, 275 N.E.2d 654, citing Freeport Motor Casualty Co. v. Tharp (1950), 406 Ill. 295, 94 N.E.2d 139.) A notice of appeal filed before the filing of a written final order is premature and does not confer jurisdiction on the appellate court. (In re Marriage of Roberts (1980), 84 Ill. App.3d 538, 406 N.E.2d 1.) Because the notice of appeal was premature and no timely motion to amend has been made, the appeal must be dismissed." 119 Ill. App.3d 514, 515.

The Secretary of State appealed to this court pursuant to our Rule 315 (87 Ill.2d R. 315(a)), and we granted the ...


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