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Freed v. Ryan

November 30, 1998

EDWARD L. FREED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GEORGE H. RYAN, SECRETARY OF STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Campbell

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY.

JUDGE PRESIDING.

HONORABLE THOMAS P. DURKIN

Plaintiff Edward Freed appeals an order of the circuit court of Cook County denying his petition for administrative review of an order by defendant Illinois Secretary of State George H. Ryan. The administrative order denied plaintiff's petition to rescind the suspension of plaintiff's driving privileges.

The record on appeal indicates the following facts. Freed was a student at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. On May 14, 1995, plaintiff, along with friends, attempted to enter the American Exchange Tavern in DeKalb. Plaintiff, who was 19 years old, presented the bouncer an Illinois state identification card for Joseph Zito, who the record shows was over 24 years old at the time.

The bouncer denied plaintiff entry to the tavern. As plaintiff and his friends spoke with the bouncer, a DeKalb police officer drove by the tavern. The bouncer flagged down the police officer, who asked plaintiff for the identification card. The police officer issued a citation to plaintiff based on a DeKalb ordinance, stating that the officer had reason to believe that Freed, as "a person under 21 yrs. of age, did represent that s/he is of age for the purpose of purchasing accepting/receiving alcoholic liquor ***."

The officer also confiscated the state identification card. According to the police report, plaintiff told the officer that Zito had given him the identification card, but later told the police that he did not know Zito. Plaintiff later testified that he did not know Zito, but had purchased the card from a friend at a party.

On July 10, 1995, plaintiff pleaded guilty to violating the ordinance, was fined $150, and placed under supervision for one year. On August 27, 1995, the DeKalb Police Department notified the Illinois Secretary of State (Secretary) that plaintiff had misused Zito's identification card. The Secretary notified plaintiff by a letter dated September 5, 1995, that his driver's license and privileges would be suspended for one year, pursuant to section 6-206(a)(10) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/6-206 (West 1994)) (Code), which authorizes the suspension of driving privileges where a person "[h]as possessed, displayed, or attempted to fraudulently use any license, identification card, or permit not issued to the person." The Secretary also sent plaintiff an order of suspension for one year, effective October 30, 1995.

On November 1, 1995, the Secretary received plaintiff's request for a formal hearing to contest the suspension. On January 8, 1996, a formal hearing on the matter was held before a hearing officer for the Secretary. Plaintiff argued that section 6-206(a)(10) of the Code was unconstitutional because it lacked a rational basis and also that the suspension of driving privileges violated his right not to be subjected to double jeopardy. The hearing officer rejected plaintiff's arguments and recommended denying his petition to rescind the suspension. On March 26, 1996, the Secretary adopted the hearing officer's recommendation.

On April 30, 1996, plaintiff filed a complaint for administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County. On January 8, 1997, following the submission of the record, briefing and argument of the issues, the trial court affirmed the decision of the Secretary. Plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal to this court.

I.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the suspension of his driving privileges was unconstitutional. All statutes are presumed to be constitutional. Brown's Furniture, Inc. v. Wagner, 171 Ill. 2d 410, 419, 665 N.E.2d 795, 801 (1996). The party challenging the validity of a statute bears the burden of clearly establishing any constitutional invalidity. Brown's Furniture, Inc., 171 Ill. 2d at 419-20, 665 N.E.2d at 801. This court must construe legislative enactments so as to affirm their constitutional validity if it is reasonably possible to do so. Brown's Furniture, Inc., 171 Ill. 2d at 420, 665 N.E.2d at 801. We review de novo the circuit court's decision with respect to the constitutionality of the Act. Brown's Furniture, Inc., 171 Ill. 2d at 420, 665 N.E.2d at 801.

II.

Plaintiff argues that section 6-206(a)(10) of the Code violates his right to due process. The constitutional provisions implicated are the due process clauses of the Federal and State Constitutions. U.S. Const., amend. XIV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, ยง 2. However, the case before us does not implicate procedural due process rights; rather, plaintiff contends that the statute violates due process because it is an unreasonable and ...


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