Before addressing the merits of the Secretary's appellate assignment of error, we briefly consider two preliminary matters. First, we note that defendant, the appellee, has not filed a brief in this court. However, pursuant to First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill. 2d 128, 345 N.E.2d 493, we will address the merits of the appeal because the record is simple and the issue presented for our consideration is easily decided. (People v. Meece (1987), 162 Ill. App. 3d 658, 660, 515 N.E.2d 1321.) We will not, however, act as an advocate for the appellee. (Green v. Edgar (1986), 151 Ill. App. 3d 163, 165, 502 N.E.2d 1193.) Second, we are cognizant, as the Secretary points out in his brief, that an argument could be advanced that review of the propriety of the trial court's order has become moot because, presumably, the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges has terminated. Inasmuch as the issue now before us is likely to recur and may evade review given the short duration of the action, we conclude that the case comes within a narrow exception to the mootness doctrine. (Meece, 162 Ill. App. 3d at 660, 515 N.E.2d at 1322.) We therefore address the issue so that guidance may be given for future decisions. In re Application of Rosewell (1987), 117 Ill. 2d 479, 484-85, 512 N.E.2d 1256.
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
521 N.E.2d 148, 167 Ill. App. 3d 308, 118 Ill. Dec. 80 1988.IL.325
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Stephenson County; the Hon. Barry Anderson, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. HOPF and DUNN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD
The Secretary of State (Secretary) appeals from an order of the circuit court of Stephenson County that granted a judicial driving permit to defendant, Jerry L. Anderson, for the purpose of seeking employment. *fn1 The Secretary's sole appellate contention is that the trial court's order is erroneous because it exceeds the scope of section 6-206.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (the Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1986 Supp., ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1) and, therefore, must be reversed.
The defendant entered negotiated pleas of guilty to the offenses of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1986 Supp., ch. 95 1/2, pars. 11-501(a), (e)) stemming from a traffic accident that took place on November 14, 1986. On December 11, 1986, the statutory three-month summary suspension of defendant's driver's license was confirmed. (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1986 Supp., ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1(h).) The suspension took effect on January 9, 1987, and had a provisional termination date of April 9, 1987. On January 15, 1987, after accepting defendant's guilty pleas, the court sentenced him to a one-year term of conditional discharge, including the conditions that he pay a $500 fine and spend 24 hours in jail, for reckless driving, and a one-year term of court supervision, including a $75 fine and enrollment in an alcohol intervention program, for DUI.
Following the imposition of these sentences, defendant, who was unemployed at the time, filed instanter a petition for a judicial driving permit for the express purpose of seeking employment. After expressing some misgivings regarding the difficulty of monitoring a judicial driving permit for the purpose of searching for employment, the trial Judge, nonetheless, granted the petition on January 15, 1987. The judicial driving permit, which the court directed be issued, authorized defendant to use a motor vehicle from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday within a 100-mile radius of Rockford, Illinois, for the "exclusive purpose of seeking employment at employment offices or job sites."
The Secretary of State's office informed the clerk of the circuit court, by a letter dated January 27, 1987, that the Secretary was unable to issue the judicial driving permit because the provisions of the court's order exceeded the scope of section 6-206.1 of the Code. (See Ill. Rev. Stat., 1986 Supp., ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1(d).) Subsequently, the Secretary filed this appeal.
The Secretary's contention that the trial court is not authorized to order the issuance of a judicial driving permit for the purpose of seeking employment requires us to construe the relevant portions of section 6-206.1of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1986 Supp., ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-206.1). It is fundamental that a court, when interpreting a statutory enactment, is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature, which is accomplished by according the language of the statute its plain and ordinary meaning. (Maloney v. Bower (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 473, 479, 498 N.E.2d 1102; Meece, 162 Ill. App. 3d at 660, 515 N.E.2d at 1323.) Of course, a court cannot conclude that the legislative body did not intend what the statutory language clearly indicates. Maloney, 113 Ill. 2d at 479, 498 N.E.2d at 1104, quoting Franzese v. Trinko (1977), 66 Ill. 2d 136, 139, 361 N.E.2d 585, 587.
Section 6 -- 206.1of the Code provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
"Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared a policy of the State of Illinois that the driver who is impaired by alcohol or other drugs is a threat to the public safety and welfare. Therefore, to provide a deterrent to such practice and to remove problem drivers from the highway, a statutory summary driver's license suspension is appropriate. It is also recognized, that driving is a privilege and that in some cases the granting of limited driving privileges, within the bounds of public safety, is warranted during this period of driver's license suspension in the form of a judicial driving permit to allow the person to continue employment and ...