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12/18/95 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. $8

December 18, 1995

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
$8,450 UNITED STATES CURRENCY, DEFENDANT (BERNARD M. JOSEPH, CLAIMANT-APPELLEE).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 93-MR-358. Honorable R. Peter Grometer, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication January 19, 1996.

Presiding Judge McLAREN delivered the opinion of the court: Geiger and Rathje, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mclaren

PRESIDING JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the opinion of the court:

The State appeals the trial court's order forfeiting $6,100 pursuant to section 505(a)(5) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (Controlled Substances Act) (720 ILCS 570/505(a)(5) (West 1994)). The State contends that the trial court erred in granting claimant, Bernard Joseph, a $2,000 personal property exemption (see 735 ILCS 5/12-1001(b) (West 1994)). We agree and reverse.

The State filed a complaint seeking the forfeiture of $8,450 and a triple beam scale found in claimant's apartment. The police also found cocaine and a cutting agent in the apartment. The court found that $350 was not subject to forfeiture, although the remaining $8,100 was subject to forfeiture. However, the court agreed with claimant that he was entitled to a $2,000 exemption under section 12-1001(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/12-1001(b) (West 1994)). The court relied on People v. One Residence Located at 1403 East Parham Street (1993), 251 Ill. App. 3d 198, 190 Ill. Dec. 573, 621 N.E.2d 1026, to find that claimant was entitled to the personal property exemption of section 12-1001(b) of the Code. The 1403 East Parham court held that the homestead exemption (735 ILCS 5/12-901 (West 1994)) applied to the forfeiture of real property used to facilitate a drug offense. (1403 East Parham, 251 Ill. App. 3d at 203.) The trial court therefore ordered that only $6,100 was forfeited. The State timely appealed.

The State contends that the trial court erred in finding that the personal property exemption of section 12-1001 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/12-1001 (West 1994)) applies to forfeiture proceedings. Claimant asserts that we should find several of the State's arguments waived because it failed to make those arguments in the trial court. The waiver rule is an admonition to the parties, not a limitation on the jurisdiction of the reviewing court. ( Schutzenhofer v. Granite City Steel Co. (1982), 93 Ill. 2d 208, 211, 66 Ill. Dec. 637, 443 N.E.2d 563.) Because of our responsibility to reach a just result and maintain a uniform body of precedent ( Hux v. Raben (1967), 38 Ill. 2d 223, 225, 230 N.E.2d 831) on this legal question, we decline to apply the waiver doctrine here.

The money was subject to forfeiture pursuant to section 505(a)(5) of the Controlled Substances Act which states that all proceeds traceable to a drug transaction and all money used or intended to be used to commit or facilitate a drug transaction are forfeitable. (720 ILCS 570/505(a)(5) (West 1994).) The Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act (Forfeiture Act) applies to all property forfeitable under the Controlled Substances Act. (725 ILCS 150/1 (West 1994).) The Forfeiture Act provides a list of exemptions from forfeiture (see 725 ILCS 150/8 (West 1994)), but does not refer to the exemptions provided in section 12-1001 of the Code.

Section 12-1001 of the Code provides, in relevant part:

"The following personal property, owned by the debtor, is exempt from judgment, attachment, or distress for rent:

***

(b) The debtor's equity interest, not to exceed $2,000 in value, in any other property." 735 ILCS 5/12-1001(b) (West 1994).

The determination of whether section 12-1001 of the Code applies to proceedings under the Forfeiture Act requires us to interpret the statutes. The primary rule of statutory interpretation is to ascertain and give effect to the legislative intent. This is derived from the language of the statute, as evaluated as a whole, with each provision construed in connection with every other section. ( Bonaguro v. County Officers Electoral Board (1994), 158 Ill. 2d 391, 397, 199 Ill. Dec. 659, 634 N.E.2d 712.) When a statute is unambiguous, a court is not free to depart from the plain language by reading into the statute exceptions, limitations, or conditions. ( Kraft, Inc. v. Edgar (1990), 138 Ill. 2d 178, 189, 149 Ill. Dec. 286, 561 N.E.2d 656.) Courts also must consider the reasons and necessity for the enactment, the evils to be remedied, and the purpose of the statute. Collins v. Board of Trustees of the Firemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund (1993), 155 Ill. 2d 103, 111, 183 Ill. Dec. 6, 610 N.E.2d 1250.

The unambiguous language of section 12-1001 of the Code shows that it applies only to attachments, judgments, or distress for rent. (735 ILCS 5/12-1001 (West 1994).) It does not state that it applies to forfeitures or to fines. As the State points out, a forfeiture proceeding is in rem (see, e.g., 725 ILCS 150/9 (West 1994)); there is no debtor. Thus, section 12-1001 cannot apply because it exempts property "owned by the debtor " (emphasis added) (735 ILCS 5/12-1001 (West 1994)). The Forfeiture Act provides its own exemptions. (See 725 ILCS 150/8 (West 1994).) The enumeration of exceptions in a statute will be construed as an exclusion of all others. ( State v. Mikusch (1990), 138 Ill. 2d 242, 250, 149 ...


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