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.

BANKS v. BD. OF ED.

March 18, 1987

JOYCE BANKS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF PEORIA, SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 150, COUNTY CLERK OF PEORIA COUNTY, AND THE PEORIA ELECTION COMMISSION, DEFENDANTS. JOYCE BANKS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. CITY OF PEORIA, ILLINOIS, AND THE PEORIA ELECTION COMMISSION, DEFENDANTS. JOYCE BANKS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. PLEASURE DRIVEWAY AND PARK DISTRICT OF PEORIA (MISNAMED AS GREATER PEORIA PARK DISTRICT), COUNTY CLERK OF PEORIA COUNTY, THE PEORIA ELECTION COMMISSION, AND THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is a class action in which the Plaintiffs, all black citizens registered or eligible to register to vote who reside within the geographic boundaries of the three Defendant political subdivisions, allege that the election procedures for the Peoria Board of Education (School District No. 150), Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria, and the City of Peoria, violate § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended June 29, 1982, 42 U.S.C. § 1973. The Plaintiffs allege that the at-large method of electing some or all of the representatives of these public bodies results in a denial or abridgement of the Plaintiffs' right to vote on account of race or color in violation of § 2, because the election system has the effect of diluting their vote in Peoria elections.

The individual Plaintiffs representing the class are Joyce Banks, Girtha Gulley, Oscar Penn, Robert Grubbs, Stan Maclin, and Hiram Walker. The Defendants in Case No. 87-1017 are the Board of Education of the City of Peoria, School District No. 150 (Board of Education), the Peoria Election Commission, and the Peoria County Clerk. The Defendant in Case No. 87-1018 is the City of Peoria, Illinois. The Defendants in Case No. 87-1019 are Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria (Peoria Park District), the Peoria Election Commission, the Peoria County Clerk, and the State of Illinois. The Court has also allowed Timothy Cassidy, a candidate in the April 7, 1987 election for the Park District Board of Trustees, to intervene as a matter of right in Case No. 87-1019.

The Plaintiffs filed these cases on January 30, 1987, asking that the Court find that the present methods for electing representatives for the Peoria Park District, Board of Education, and City of Peoria violate § 2 of the Voting Rights Act because of the effects which the at-large system of electing representatives has upon the voting rights of the black population voting for these public officials. The Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, requesting that the Court adopt and place into effect an electoral structure which would provide for the election of the members of the Defendant public bodies from single-member districts.

The Court has jurisdiction to consider the Plaintiff's claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, because these claims raise a federal question arising under the laws of the United States. In addition, 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and (4) specifically grants district courts original jurisdiction of civil actions to redress the deprivation of rights secured by an act of Congress providing for equal rights of all persons within the United States and to protect civil rights, including the right to vote.

On March 10, 1987, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, seeking to enjoin the Defendants in each of the three cases before the Court from holding the April 7, 1987 election as scheduled. On March 11, the Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, including exhibits and other documentary evidence. The Court set this case for a hearing on the Preliminary Injunction request on March 24, 25, and 26, 1987.

The Defendants in each of the cases responded to the Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction with their own legal memoranda in opposition. In addition, the Intervenor in the Park District case filed a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs' request for an injunction of the April 7, 1987 election on the grounds that the election was imminent and the Petition was untimely filed. The Court believes it is appropriate to view the Defendants' memoranda as raising a Motion to Dismiss the request for injunctive relief on the grounds of untimeliness. Furthermore, because of the similarity of all three of these cases with regard to the issue of timeliness, the Court orders that these cases are consolidated for purposes of this Motion to Dismiss and the Court's ruling in this opinion. In this opinion and order, the Court will address this narrow issue of timeliness raised in the Defendants' and Intervenor's memoranda.

Before proceeding to the issue of the timeliness of the request for preliminary injunction, some discussion of the procedural posture of this case is necessary. The Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in these three separate cases on January 30, 1987. The Complaints sought declaratory and injunctive relief for the respective Defendants' violation of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Complaint alleges that the cases were properly brought as class actions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 for a class action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the class as a whole.

On February 20, 1987, the Board of Education and the Peoria Park District filed Motions to Dismiss in their respective cases for failure of the Plaintiffs to join the Peoria County Clerk and the State of Illinois as indispensable parties in the lawsuits. In their Motions to Dismiss, the Peoria Park District and the Board of Education argued that the absence of these Defendants would prevent the Court from granting the Plaintiffs the complete relief requested and subject the other Defendants to a substantial risk of incurring inconsistent obligations, due to the State laws in effect governing the elections in school board districts and park districts.

On March 5, 1987, the Court granted leave to the Plaintiffs to file a Second Amended Complaint in the Park District and Board of Education cases which added the County Clerk of Peoria County as an additional Defendant. The Court believed the Amended Complaint was appropriate because the Peoria County Clerk is the election authority under Illinois law for election precincts within the Park District and Board of Education lying outside the City of Peoria. On March 6, 1987, after hearing oral argument on the other Motions, the Court ordered the Plaintiffs to join the State of Illinois as an additional party in the Park District case, 87-1019, pursuant to Rule 19, and denied the Board of Education's Motion to Dismiss for failure to join the State of Illinois as an indispensable party. The Court based these rulings upon its interpretation of the legal authority (or lack of it) of the Park District and the Board of Education to make changes in the manner in which their voting districts for the election of their board members are determined pursuant to the laws of the State of Illinois.

On February 20, 1987, the Peoria Election Commission filed a Motion to Dismiss in each of the cases. The Peoria Election Commission argued that it has a statutory duty to conduct elections within the City of Peoria in accordance with state law or the order of any court of competent jurisdiction, and, accordingly, it would be bound by any decision of this Court even if it were not a party Defendant in these lawsuits. The Court held oral argument on this Motion and denied the Motion to Dismiss the Peoria Election Commission as a Defendant.

On February 23, 1987, Timothy Cassidy filed a Motion to Intervene pursuant to Rule 24(a), the Peoria Park District case, 87-1019. He informed the Court that he had followed the proper statutory procedures for obtaining a place on the April 7, 1987 ballot for the election of Park District Trustees, and he argued that he had a right to intervene because any decision of the Court involving the April 7, 1987 election would affect his interests in a direct, substantial way, different from the interests of the public in general. The Court heard oral argument on the Motion to Intervene on March 5, 1987, and granted the Motion. At that time, the Intervenor filed his Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs' request for an injunction of the April 7, 1987 election of Trustees to the Peoria Park Board on the grounds that the election was imminent and the Plaintiffs' Complaint was untimely with regard to the April 7, 1987 election.

The Court held oral argument on the Motion for Class Certification on March 13, 1987 and made oral findings on the record certifying each case as a class action as requested by the Plaintiffs. Because of the differences in the geographic boundaries of the three Defendant Districts, the classes certified by the Court necessarily also vary ...


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.