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People v. Cervantes

December 02, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
ARACELI CERVANTES, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McMORROW

20-September 1999.

The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether the General Assembly violated the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)) when it enacted Public Act 88-680 (Pub. Act 88-680, eff. January 1, 1995). The circuit court held that Public Act 88-680, also known as the "Safe Neighborhoods Law," did not comply with the single subject rule. The State appealed directly to this court. 134 Ill. 2d R. 302(a). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court and hold that Public Act 88-680 violates the single subject requirement.

BACKGROUND

On February 25, 1998, defendant, Araceli Cervantes, was charged in a four-count indictment. Count I charged defendant with the offense of gunrunning, in violation of section 24-3A(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/24-3A(a) (West 1998)). The other three counts of the indictment, which are not at issue in this appeal, charged defendant with the unlawful sale of firearms, in violation of section 24-3(g) of the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/24-3(g) (West 1998)). Defendant filed a motion to dismiss count I of the indictment, on the basis that Public Act 88-680, which created the offense of gunrunning, violated the single subject rule of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)). The circuit court granted defendant's motion to dismiss, relying upon the appellate court decision in People v. Dainty, 299 Ill. App. 3d 235 (1998), which held that Public Act 88-680 violated the single subject requirement. The State appealed directly to this court. 134 Ill. 2d R. 302(a).

ANALYSIS

The single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution provides, in relevant part: "Bills, except bills for appropriations and for the codification, revision or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject." Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d). As we have previously explained, the single subject rule regulates the process by which legislation is enacted. People v. Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d 1, 8 (1999); Johnson v. Edgar, 176 Ill. 2d 499, 502 (1997). Specifically, the single subject clause operates to prevent the passage of legislation that, standing alone, may not muster the votes necessary for enactment. Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 13; Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 514; Geja's Cafe v. Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, 153 Ill. 2d 239, 258 (1992); Fuehrmeyer v. City of Chicago, 57 Ill. 2d 193, 201 (1974). The single subject requirement also facilitates the enactment of bills through an orderly and informed legislative process, in that "[b]y limiting each bill to a single subject, each legislator can better understand and more intelligently debate the issues presented by a bill." Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 14; see also Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 514-15. The single subject requirement, therefore, "ensures that the legislature addresses the difficult decisions it faces directly and subject to public scrutiny, rather than passing unpopular measures on the backs of popular ones." Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515; see also Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 14.

In determining whether a particular enactment violates the single subject requirement, the term "subject" is to be liberally construed in favor of upholding the legislation, and the subject may be as comprehensive as the legislature chooses. People v. Wooters, No. 83595, slip op. at 9 (November 18, 1999); Arangold v. Zehnder, 187 Ill. 2d 341, 351-52 (1999); Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515; People v. Dunigan, 165 Ill. 2d 235, 255 (1995); People ex rel. Ogilvie v. Lewis, 49 Ill. 2d 476, 487 (1971). Nevertheless, a legislative act violates the single subject rule when the General Assembly "includes within one bill unrelated provisions that by no fair interpretation have any legitimate relation to one another." Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 9; see also Wooters, slip op. at 9; Arangold, 187 Ill. 2d at 352; Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515; Dunigan, 165 Ill. 2d at 255. Therefore, in order to satisfy the single subject requirement, the matters included within the enactment must have a "natural and logical connection" to a single subject. Arangold, 187 Ill. 2d at 352; Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 9; Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515.

The State initially maintains that defendant's single subject challenge to Public Act 88-680 should be regarded as untimely. The State premises this contention upon the application of the so-called "codification rule," which precludes a defendant from challenging the constitutionality of a legislative act on single subject grounds once it has become codified. See State v. Mabry, 460 N.W.2d 472, 475 (Iowa 1990). Although we have recently and unequivocally rejected this precise argument in Wooters (slip op. at 16) and Reedy (186 Ill. 2d at 13-14), the State entreats us to reconsider our holdings in those cases. For the reasons stated in Reedy, 186 Ill. 2d at 13-14, we adhere to our previous rejection of the codification rule, and decline to address this issue anew.

We next turn to the State's assertion that Public Act 88-680 comports with the single subject rule because each of its various sections relates to the single subject of "neighborhood safety." We note that our appellate court has not been uniform on the issue of whether Public Act 88-680 violates the single subject requirement. The First and Fourth Districts have found the Act constitutional (see People v. Wiggins, 298 Ill. App. 3d 766 (1st Dist. 1998); People v. Boatman, 303 Ill. App. 3d 589 (4th Dist. 1999)), whereas the Second and Third Districts have found that Public Act 88-680 violates the single subject rule. See People v. Edwards, 304 Ill. App. 3d 250 (2d Dist. 1999); People v. Williams, 302 Ill. App. 3d 975 (2d Dist. 1999); People v. Dainty, 299 Ill. App. 3d 235 (3d Dist. 1998).

We begin our analysis with a review of the history and content of Public Act 88-680. Public Act 88-680 was originally introduced on January 12, 1994, as Senate Bill 1153, and was entitled "A Bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Code of 1961." In its original form, the bill was designed to amend sections of the Criminal Code to require a trial court to impose a sentence of community service on any person convicted of, or placed on supervision for, assault, criminal damage to property, certain weapons violations, mob action, or disorderly conduct. On April 13, 1994, this bill was amended by the Senate to provide that mandatory community service for the enumerated crimes would apply only in instances where incarceration was not imposed. On April 14, 1994, the Senate passed the bill as amended, and sent the bill to the House of Representatives.

By May 24, 1994, Senate Bill 1153 had been read twice in the House. Several months later, in November 1994, members of the House offered and withdrew 12 amendments to this bill. A thirteenth amendment, sponsored by Representative Dart, was added to the bill on November 15, 1995. Amendment number 13 deleted every word of Senate Bill 1153 as passed by the Senate, with the exception of the enabling clause, and replaced the text with a bill entitled, "An Act to Create a Safe Neighborhoods Law." In its revised form, Senate Bill 1153 amended 83 Illinois statutes, created 22 new statutes, and repealed one statute. On November 15, 1994, the bill, as amended, had its second and third readings and was passed by the House.

Upon the return of the amended bill to the Senate on November 30, 1994, the Senate voted to nonconcur in House amendment 13. Because the Senate and the House could not agree on which provisions of amendment 13 should stand, a conference committee was formed. The next day, December 1, 1994, a report issued by the conference committee on Senate Bill 1153 recommended that the entire text of the bill (as revised by House amendment 13) be deleted and replaced with another version of "the Safe Neighborhoods Law." Senator Dudycz, who reported the conference committee's recommendations to the Senate, stated that Senate Bill 1153 had grown into a "one-hundred-and-fifty-seven page document," and was now comprised of "three components." 88th Ill. Gen. Assem., Senate Proceedings, December 1, 1994, at 44-45 (statements of Senator Dudycz). The first component consisted of the contents of House Bill 381, which toughened and expanded various criminal laws, including child pornography, juvenile pimping, prostitution, criminal use of firearms, and fraud in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The second component, which according to Senator Dudycz resulted from "input from the Governor's office," established privately operated juvenile secure residential facilities to house delinquent minors. The bill's final component was described by Senator Dudycz as "fourteen proposals from the Mayor's Illinois Safe Neighborhoods bill." 88th Ill. Gen. Assem., Senate Proceedings, December 1, 1994, at 46 (statements of Senator Dudycz). The Senate approved the conference committee's report that same day.

Senate Bill 1153 was immediately sent to the House, where Representative Dart explained the bill's provisions as follows: "The long and short of this Bill is that it has provisions which are attempting to go after the main problems we're having on our streets these days. It's going after gangs, drugs and guns, namely." 88th Ill. Gen. Assem., House Proceedings, December 1, 1994, at 69 (statements of Representative Dart). That same day, the House approved the conference committee's recommendation and passed Senate Bill 1153 in its final form. Senate Bill 1153 was signed by the Governor on December 15, 1994, and became effective January 1, 1995.

The final version of the bill amended 55 Illinois statutes, created 10 new statutes, and repealed one statute. Article 5 of Public Act 88-680 amended the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Juvenile Court Act) (705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 1992)) to expand the types of offenses for which a minor can be tried as an adult, to mandate imprisonment for juveniles adjudicated delinquent for first ...


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