SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
529 N.E.2d 520, 124 Ill. 2d 218, 124 Ill. Dec. 539 1988.IL.1417
Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Benjamin Mackoff, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE STAMOS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN
The plaintiff, Henry Lee Coleman, filed a petition for administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County after the Illinois Racing Board (Board) had suspended his groom's license for the rest of his life. The circuit court upheld the decision of the Board. The appellate court, in a Rule 23 order (107 Ill. 2d R. 23), reversed the circuit court and ordered the Board to reinstate Coleman's license (152 Ill. App. 3d 1162 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)). We granted the Board's petition for leave to appeal under Supreme Court Rule 315 (107 Ill. 2d R. 315).
On December 3, 1981, agents of the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement were conducting routine searches of the tackrooms at Hawthorne Racetrack, wherein Coleman's living quarters were located. Coleman consented to a search of his rooms. The agents found a small quantity of marijuana (approximately 7 grams) and an electric goading device, sometimes known as a "buzzer." On December 29, 1981, after a stewards' inquiry, Coleman's groom's license was suspended for two years for possession of the goading device and concurrently for 30 days for possession of the marijuana. Coleman waived his right to be represented at the stewards' inquiry and sought no appeal to the Board after the suspension. Two weeks later, Coleman pleaded guilty to the felony charge of possessing a goading device and received an 18-month probation sentence, which he served without incident.
At the end of the two-year suspension period, Coleman applied to have his groom's license reinstated. Counsel for the Board deposed Coleman. In March 1984, Cecil Troy, a member of the Board, conducted a hearing. Coleman was unrepresented on both of these occasions, although counsel for the Board and Troy impressed on him his right to counsel. The Board issued an order in May 1984 which permanently suspended Coleman's license and barred him from ever entering a racetrack in Illinois. The Board ruled that pursuant to the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 8, par. 37-1 et seq.), it was within its discretion to refuse to issue an occupation license. Section 15 of the Act states:
"(c) The Board may in its discretion refuse an occupation license to any person:
(1) who has been convicted of a crime;
(2) who is unqualified to perform the duties required of such applicant;
(3) who fails to disclose or states falsely any information called for in the application;
(4) who has been found guilty of a violation of this Act or of the rules and regulations of the Board; or
The Board's ruling stated that on the basis of the entire record, Coleman's conduct warranted their denial of his license under sections 15(c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(4) and (c)(5) of the statute. The Board's findings of fact and Conclusions of law, within the body of the order, reveal that the criminal conviction it referred to involved Coleman's conviction for possessing the goading device, the rule violation involved his marijuana possession, and the prior license suspension involved a fistfight in New York in 1975. The Conclusion ...