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05/22/87 the People of the State of v. Dolores O'donnell

May 22, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

v.

DOLORES O'DONNELL, APPELLEE (JIM EDGAR, SECRETARY OF STATE, APPELLANT)



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

508 N.E.2d 1066, 116 Ill. 2d 517, 108 Ill. Dec. 489 1987.IL.669

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, the Hon. Paul A. Kolodziej, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN

The Secretary of State brings this appeal from a decision of the circuit court of Adams County. Because the court declared unconstitutional certain provisions of Illinois' drivers' license summary suspension and reinstatement procedure, the appeal lies directly to this court pursuant to our Rule 302(a). 94 Ill. 2d R. 302(a).

On January 8, 1986, the defendant, Dolores O'Donnell, was issued a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1). Chemical tests disclosed an alcohol concentration in excess of 0.10, so her drivers' license was suspended for a period of three months, effective February 23, 1986. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-208.1(a)(2).

On May 8, 1986, the defendant filed a petition for restoration of her driving privileges. The statutory provision governing the restoration procedure provides in pertinent part:

"(b) Following a statutory summary suspension of the privilege to drive a motor vehicle under Section 11 -- 501.1, the circuit court of venue shall restore full driving privileges when all appropriate fees are paid unless the court has evidence that the person should be disqualified, in which event the court shall notify the Secretary of State.

(c) Full driving privileges may not be restored until all applicable reinstatement fees, as provided by this Code, have been paid to the circuit court and forwarded to the Secretary of State." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 6-208.1(b), (c).

On May 8, 1986, the circuit court entered an order in response to the defendant's petition, in which it held that sections 6 -- 208.1(b) and (c) were unconstitutional. With respect to the former, the court found that the phrase directing the court to restore driving privileges "unless the court has evidence that the person should be disqualified" was unconstitutionally vague. Specifically, the court noted that the provision was "completely devoid of any procedure or guidelines to be followed" in making the determination whether an individual's privileges should be restored.

The court also held that the procedure established by section 6 -- 208.1(c), whereby the circuit court is directed to collect reinstatement fees on behalf of the Secretary of State, violated the separation of powers doctrine. As a consequence, the court ordered the clerk of the circuit court not to accept any such fees.

Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion for reconsideration of the circuit court's order. Also, the Secretary of State sought leave to intervene and requested a stay of the circuit court's decision. On June 11, 1986, the court denied the motion for reconsideration, granted the Secretary leave to intervene and denied the motion to stay. As above noted, the Secretary appealed directly to this court pursuant to Rule 302(a) (94 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)). The defendant has not filed a brief in this court.

This court has previously set forth some general principles in reviewing the constitutionality of statutes. All statutes are presumed to be constitutional (People v. Bales (1985), 108 Ill. 2d 182, 188; Sayles v. Thompson (1983), 99 Ill. 2d 122, 124-25) and the party challenging a statute has the burden of clearly establishing a constitutional violation (People v. Bales (1985), 108 Ill. 2d 182, 188; Polyvend, Inc. v. Puckorius (1979), 77 Ill. 2d 287, 303). We have repeatedly emphasized that it is our duty to construe acts of the legislature so as to affirm their constitutionality and validity, if it can reasonably be done, and further, if their construction is doubtful, the doubt will be resolved in favor of the ...


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