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08/31/89 Thomas L. Reynolds, v. Jim Edgar

August 31, 1989

THOMAS L. REYNOLDS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JIM EDGAR, SECRETARY OF STATE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

544 N.E.2d 77, 188 Ill. App. 3d 71, 135 Ill. Dec. 720 1989.IL.1350

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Richard J. Cadagin, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court. LUND, J., concurs. JUSTICE GREEN, specially Concurring.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE STEIGMANN

The defendant Secretary of State (Secretary) appeals from an order of the circuit court of Sangamon County which, upon administrative review, reversed an order of the Secretary denying plaintiff reinstatement of his driver's license or, in the alternative, a restricted driving permit.

We reverse.

Plaintiff was convicted of 10 traffic offenses from July of 1977 to April of 1981. His driver's license was twice suspended, the first time for two months and the second time for one year. Both suspensions were as a result of his multiple speeding convictions. In April of 1981, plaintiff was convicted of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a narcotic drug . Plaintiff was also convicted that same month of illegal transportation of alcohol. As a result of the DUI conviction, his license was revoked in May of 1981. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 6-206(a), 11-501.) In April of 1987, plaintiff was convicted of driving while his license was revoked .

In July of 1988, plaintiff petitioned the Secretary for reinstatement of his driver's license or, in the alternative, a restricted driving permit to commute to work. After a hearing in August of 1988, the Secretary adopted the findings, Conclusions, and recommendations of the hearing officer and denied all relief requested by the plaintiff.

Plaintiff sought administrative review before the circuit court, arguing that the Secretary's denial was arbitrary and capricious, contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, and constituted an abuse of discretion. The circuit court agreed and directed the Secretary to take all necessary steps to enable plaintiff to have his driving privileges restored.

Recently, this court dealt with a similar case that also involved the Secretary. In Craig v. Edgar (1988), 165 Ill. App. 3d 270, 272, 519 N.E.2d 112, 114, we stated the following:

"The findings and Conclusions of an administrative agency on questions of fact are considered prima facie true and correct. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 3-110.) A court may not interfere with the discretionary authority vested in an administrative body unless that authority is exercised in an arbitrary manner or the decision is against the manifest weight of the evidence. A reviewing court may not reweigh the evidence. (Murdy v. Edgar (1984), 103 Ill. 2d 384, 469 N.E.2d 1085.) The Secretary's decision is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence when no rational trier of fact, viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the Secretary, could agree with the Secretary's decision. (Agans v. Edgar (1986), 142 Ill. App. 3d 1087, 1094, 492 N.E.2d 929, 933-34.)"

In his written findings and recommendations, the hearing officer set forth three separate "Conclusions of law" which served as the bases for denying plaintiff's petition for reinstatement of his driving privileges. In his first two "Conclusions of law," the hearing officer essentially found that the evidence presented at the hearing established that the plaintiff was an "alcoholic/chemically dependent person" who had failed to show that he had established an adequate support system in order to ensure continuous recovery from his "alcoholism/chemical dependency." Almost all of the evidence produced at the hearing dealt with the plaintiff's previous status as a drug and alcohol abuser who had successfully overcome his problem of abuse.

At the hearing, plaintiff testified that he had not had a drink since 1984, that he was regularly employed, and that he had ongoing support for his continued abstinence through involvement with his work, family, and hobbies. The hearing officer found the plaintiff to be sincere ...


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