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City of Chicago v. Haworth

February 26, 1999

CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
DON HAWORTH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE.



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

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY.

JUDGE PRESIDING. HONORABLE JOHN J. SCOTILLO

Plaintiff, the City of Chicago, a Municipal Corporation (City), brought this action against defendant, Don Haworth (Haworth), a private detective, for his failure to register a firearm in violation of a municipal firearm registration ordinance. Following a bench trial, Haworth was found guilty of the ordinance violation and sentenced to six months court supervision, and the trial court ordered the firearm destroyed. The trial court granted Haworth's subsequent motion for release of the firearm.

Haworth now appeals the trial court's order of March 7, 1997, denying his motion for a new trial. On appeal, Haworth contends that the state law regulating private detectives preempts home-rule authority by the City to regulate handguns. The City cross-appeals from the trial court's order of March 17, 1997, releasing the confiscated firearm. For the following reasons, we reverse in part and affirm in part.

The record reveals the following relevant facts. On June 5, 1996, Haworth, a licensed private detective was arrested by Chicago Police Officers and charged with failure to register a firearm in violation of the Municipal Code of Chicago (Code). Chicago Municipal Code § 8-20-040(a) (1995). At the time of his arrest, Haworth was engaged in a telephone call at a public telephone booth located at 7201 N. Clark Street, Chicago. Haworth's arrest followed his failure to produce a registration certificate for a loaded Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he had holstered on his person. A subsequent investigation revealed that the handgun was not registered with the Chicago Police Department, but was in fact owned by Ward A. Sturm, a resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Police officers confiscated and inventoried the handgun and 16 rounds of ammunition.

On August 12, 1996, Haworth filed a motion to quash his arrest. Haworth argued that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him, because of the preemption of home rule regulation by the state in the regulation of private detectives and private detective agencies. Haworth alleged that the Private Detective, Private Alarm, and Private Security Act of 1993 (Act) (225 IlCS 445-1 et. seq. (West 1996)), supersedes section 8-20-040 of the Code. Haworth further contested the authority of the City to require him to register firearms with the Chicago Police Department, in addition to his state registration. On October 17, 1996, the first trial court issued its order and memorandum opinion denying Haworth's motion:

"To address this issue, the court need only look as far as the next section of the City of Chicago Municipal Code. Section 8-20-050 of the MCC, in pertinent part, reads as follows:

8-20-050 Unregisterable firearms.No registration certificate shall be issued for any of the following types of firearms:

(c) Handguns, except: . . .

(4) Those owned by private detective agencies licensed under Chapter 111 Paragraph 2601 et. seq. Illinois Revised Statutes (The court notes that the Chapter and paragraph number is misprinted within this section of the ordinance. It should read Chapter 111 Paragraph 2652 et seq. Now: 225 ILCS 445/1 et seq. (West 1996).); . . .

Consequently, under the very ordinance upon which the Defendant's arrest and charge is based, the firearm possessed by the Defendant and his properly Illinois licensed private detective firm, Atkinson & Haworth, is clearly subject to registration within the City of Chicago."

On November 4, 1996, Haworth filed a motion to suppress evidence, and on November 12, 1996, filed a motion to dismiss his charge. The trial court, Judge John J. Scotillo presiding, denied both motions on February 7, 1997, finding that the state statute regulating private detectives did not preempt home-rule authority to regulate handguns.

On the same day, a bench trial proceeded on Haworth's stipulation to the facts set forth in the City's complaint, and upon Haworth's sworn affidavit attached to his prior motions. In his affidavit, Haworth stated that at the time of his arrest, he was a state licensed private detective and partner of the agency Atkinson & Haworth, with a principal place of business at 740 N. Franklin, Chicago. He had been a licensed private detective for ten years. On the day of his arrest, he had in his possession a Glock semi-automatic pistol which was not registered in the City of Chicago. He stated that this particular firearm was a substitute for his regular handgun, which was sent to a gunsmith for repairs. Also at the time of his arrest, Haworth also had in his possession certain current and valid identification, permits and state licenses for the carrying of firearms, including a Permanent Employee Registration Card, a Firearms Authorization Card, a Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOIC), and an Employee Identification Card for Atkinson and Haworth.

The trial court found Haworth guilty of failing to register a firearm in violation of section 8-20-040 of the Code, and ...


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