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11/28/89 the People of the State of v. Mario Alfonso

November 28, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

MARIO ALFONSO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

548 N.E.2d 452, 191 Ill. App. 3d 963, 139 Ill. Dec. 67 1989.IL.1830

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur Janura, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court. BILANDIC, P.J., concurs. JUSTICE SCARIANO, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HARTMAN

The subject of this appeal concerns the application of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 504 (107 Ill. 2d R. 504), which provides, in part, that appearance dates for traffic cases shall be set "not less than 14 days but within 49 days after the date of the arrest, whenever practicable." The State contends the circuit court erroneously granted defendant's motion to dismiss on the grounds that it was practicable to schedule defendant's appearance date within the time period set forth by Supreme Court Rule 504.

On September 2, 1987, defendant was arrested in Schaumburg, Illinois, and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, following too closely, failing to signal when required, driving on a revoked license and transportation of open alcohol. The arresting Schaumburg police officer scheduled defendant's first court appearance for September 15, 1987, 13 days after the arrest. Defendant appeared on September 15 and requested a continuance to arrange for an attorney. The continuance was granted to October 20, 1987. On that date, defendant's attorney appeared and orally moved to dismiss pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 504; in response, the State requested a continuance.

On October 27, 1987, a hearing was conducted on defendant's written motion to dismiss. The arresting officer testified that he scheduled defendant's court appearance on September 15, 1987. Although this date was one day earlier than the 14-day minimal time limit set forth in the guidelines of Supreme Court Rule 504, it was the officer's first scheduled court date following defendant's arrest. The officer's next scheduled court date was October 20, 1987, 48 days after the arrest. The officer testified he did not set the court appearance on the later date because he thought it should be scheduled before the 46-day statutory summary license suspension deprived defendant of his driver's license. The officer also stated that he was away at a five-day seminar beginning on October 5, 1987, and on vacation for nine days beginning on October 10, 1987.

Defense counsel argued that the courtroom in which defendant's case would have been heard was in the same facility in which the police station was located. Counsel also claimed there were at least nine court dates for the Schaumburg police department on the court calendar prosecuted by the State's Attorney's office within the prescribed time period. Lastly, defense counsel stated that the adjoining communities of Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, and Hanover Park had assistant State's Attorneys available during the time period at issue. In response, the State admitted that the case was not set within the 14- to 49-day period prescribed by Rule 504, but contended it was not practicable for the officer to do so.

The circuit court granted defendant's motion to dismiss, pursuant to Rule 504. In determining that it was practicable for the arresting officer to schedule defendant's court date within the 14- to 49-day period, the court observed that

"the officer was present in court and did testify on the 49th day on one of his regular key dates. . . . vidently it was very practicable to be here because he was here and that was his scheduled date."

The court then concluded:

"The officer had a practicable date on the 49th day, undisputed. He chose, in good faith, to set a different date because he was concerned about the 46 days of the summary suspension. . . . However, under those Supreme Court Rules, I do not believe that Rule 504 was followed. It was obviously practicable to set the uniformed [ sic ] traffic citation for the 49th day. And, ...


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