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02/22/89 the People of the State of v. Charles Eckhardt

February 22, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT

v.

CHARLES ECKHARDT, APPELLEE



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

535 N.E.2d 847, 127 Ill. 2d 146, 129 Ill. Dec. 82 1989.IL.216

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Daniel Locallo, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN

This is a direct appeal brought by the State from a ruling entered in the circuit court of Cook County which held that section 5-6-1(d) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 1005-6-1(d)) violates equal protection guarantees and is, therefore, unconstitutional. Because we find that this section of the Unified Code satisfies constitutional requirements, we reverse the decision of the circuit court.

The statute at issue authorized the court to impose supervision except where:

"[a] defendant [has been] charged with violating Section 11 -- 501 of The Illinois Vehicle Code [driving under the influence] or a similar provision of a local ordinance if said defendant has within the last 5 years been:

1) convicted for a violation of Section 11 -- 501 of The Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance; or

2) assigned supervision for a violation of Section 11 -- 501 of The Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance; or

3) pleaded guilty to or stipulated to the facts supporting a charge or a finding of guilty to a violation of Section 11-503 [reckless driving] of The Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance, and the plea or stipulation was the result of a plea agreement." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 1005-6-1(d).

The State brought this appeal under Supreme Court Rule 603 (107 Ill. 2d R. 603). Neither party raised the issue of whether an interlocutory ruling such as this one is appealable under Rule 603. (See Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 110A, par. 603, Historical & Practice Notes (Smith-Hurd 1985); see also Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, §§ 4(b), 6; People v. Kuhn (1988), 126 Ill. 2d 202.) We find it unnecessary to consider this question, as we view this case as an appropriate one for the exercise of our supervisory authority. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 16; Brokaw Hospital v. Circuit Court (1972), 52 Ill. 2d 182, 187.

The facts giving rise to this appeal began on January 12, 1984, when the defendant, Charles Eckhardt, pled guilty to reckless driving (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-503) pursuant to a plea agreement. Approximately 2 1/2 years later, on June 1, 1986, the defendant was arrested for the following offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)(2)); improper lane usage (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-709 (a)); and driving while license was suspended (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303).

The defendant, seeking supervision for these offenses, filed a motion to declare section 5-6-1(d) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 1005-6-1(d)) unconstitutional. The defendant claimed that this section of the Code violated the equal protection clauses of both the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. XIV) and the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, ยง 2). This motion was premised on the argument that defendants found guilty of reckless driving (section 11-503) pursuant to a plea agreement are treated differently from defendants found guilty of the same offense after a trial, with respect to their eligibility for ...


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