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02/11/88 the People Ex Rel. Lionel v. Morgan M. Finley

February 11, 1988

THE PEOPLE EX REL. LIONEL I. BRAZEN, APPELLEE

v.

MORGAN M. FINLEY, CIRCUIT CLERK, ET AL., APPELLANTS



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

519 N.E.2d 898, 119 Ill. 2d 485, 116 Ill. Dec. 683 1988.IL.210

Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Arthur L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MILLER

Plaintiff Lionel Brazen filed suit in the circuit court of Cook County against Morgan Finley, clerk of the circuit court of that county, and Douglas Curtis, one of his employees, seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the defendants to accept a petition for dissolution of marriage unaccompanied by an affidavit required by Cook County circuit court Rule 0.7. After a hearing on the defendants' motion to dismiss, the trial court allowed the motion to dismiss, finding that Rule 0.7 related to the business of the circuit court. The appellate court reversed (146 Ill. App. 3d 750), and we granted the defendants' petition for leave to appeal (107 Ill. 2d R. 315). Leave was granted to the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County to appear as amicus curiae in support of the rule. The Illinois State Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers and the North Suburban Bar Association were granted leave to appear as amici curiae in opposition to the rule.

Plaintiff, a licensed attorney, attempted to file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of a client with the clerk of the circuit court of Cook County. The clerk refused to accept the petition because it was not accompanied by an affidavit of compliance with certain ethical rules as required by Cook County circuit court Rule 0.7. When adopted on May 17, 1976, the rule applied to only personal injury and domestic relations actions, but was amended effective July 1, 1984, to include criminal, quasi-criminal and traffic actions. Rule 0.7 states:

"(a) The unethical solicitation of employment by or on behalf of any attorney and the payment of commissions, living expenses or other gratuities in connection with such employment, is prohibited.

(b) The Affidavit of Compliance with this rule is required in all criminal, quasi criminal, traffic, personal injury and domestic relations actions and shall be in the form furnished by the clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Attorneys representing governmental bodies shall not be required to file the affidavit.

(c) The affidavit shall be filed by counsel when an appearance or initial pleading is filed.

(d) Pleadings unaccompanied by such an affidavit shall not be accepted by the Clerk."

The affidavit which the rule refers to provides:

"AFFIDAVIT OF COMPLIANCE WITH ...


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