SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
514 N.E.2d 167, 118 Ill. 2d 62, 112 Ill. Dec. 701 1987.IL.1393
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, the Hon. Bill F. Green, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN
Defendant, Brenda Watson, was charged by information with aggravated battery in violation of section 12-4 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4). The circuit court of Jackson County, upon allowance of defendant's motion to dismiss the charge, held section 12-4(b)(5) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(5)) unconstitutional, and the People appealed pursuant to Rule 603 (107 Ill. 2d R. 603).
The original information charged that the defendant committed aggravated battery in that she struck and caused bodily harm to a person whom she knew to be an employee of the Jackson County Department of Public Aid. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(5).) The information was later amended to include a second count, which based the enhancement to aggravated battery on the allegation that the battery occurred on public property, namely the Jackson County office of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(8).
Section 12 -- 4 provides, in pertinent part:
"(b) A person who, in committing a battery, commits aggravated battery if he either:
(5) Knows the individual harmed to be a caseworker, investigator, or other person employed by the State Department of Public Aid or a County Department of Public Aid and such caseworker, investigator, or other person is upon the grounds of a Public Aid office or grounds adjacent thereto, or is in any part of a building used for Public Aid purposes, or upon the grounds of a home of a public aid applicant, recipient, or any other person being interviewed or investigated in the employee's discharge of his duties, or on grounds adjacent thereto, or is in any part of a building in which the applicant, recipient, or other such person resides or is located;
In holding the statute unconstitutional, the circuit court found that the statute violates the equal protection clauses of the Illinois (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 2) and United States (U.S. Const., amend. XIV) Constitutions by elevating the commission of battery on a State or county public aid worker to aggravated battery, but not so elevating the battery of a local public aid employee.
The People first argue that defendant is without standing to contest the validity of the statute in question. Citing People v. Mayberry (1976), 63 Ill. 2d 1, the People urge that since defendant is charged with and could be properly prosecuted under both sections 12 -- 4(b)(5) and 12 -- 4(b)(8), the language charging defendant under section 12 -- 4(b)(5) is merely duplicative and, reading the statute as a whole, it has no adverse impact on defendant's rights. The People further argue that defendant cannot challenge the validity of section 12 -- 4(b)(5) because the battery with which she was charged was committed in a public place which is under the purview of section 12 -- 4(b)(8), and, as a result, defendant is attempting to challenge the statute on the basis that it could hypothetically be applied unconstitutionally to another party under section 12 -- 4(b)(5). (People v. Garrison (1980), 82 Ill. 2d 444.) Finally, relying on People v. Matkovick (1984), 101 Ill. 2d 268, the People urge that defendant has no standing to challenge the penalties prescribed by the statute because she has suffered no adverse consequences in that she has not been found guilty and no sentence has been imposed.
We reject these contentions. In People v. Ziltz (1983), 98 Ill. 2d 38, 41, the court stated that "a defendant has standing to challenge the validity of a statute if he or she has sustained, or is in the immediate danger of sustaining, some direct injury as a result of enforcement of the statute. [Citations.]" Defendant here is not attempting to apply the statute to a hypothetical situation: defendant was clearly charged with the violation of section 12 -- 4(b)(5) and, if convicted, she will sustain direct harm. Hence, defendant possesses standing to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which she is to be prosecuted.
We consider next the question whether, as asserted by defendant, the statute creates an unreasonable classification violative of the equal protection provisions of the Federal and Illinois Constitutions. We recently ...