Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 99--DT--1369 99--TR--39900 99--TR--39902 Honorable Patrick N. Lawler, Judge, Presiding. Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 99--TR--22008 99--TR--22011 99--TR--22012 Honorable Patrick N. Lawler, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Rapp
These consolidated cases present the issue of whether home rule local governmental units exceed their home rule powers if they enact and enforce an ordinance that allows a law enforcement officer to stop a motor vehicle solely because an occupant of the motor vehicle was perceived to be not wearing a seat belt even though a statute prohibits law enforcement officers from making such a stop. We conclude that home rule units do not exceed their home rule powers if they enact and enforce such an ordinance.
On April 13, 1998, the Village of Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire), a home rule unit, adopted ordinance No. 98--1548--10 (Lincolnshire ordinance) (Lincolnshire Village Code No. 98--1548--10 (eff. April 13, 1998)) pursuant to its home rule powers. The Lincolnshire ordinance requires all noninfant occupants of a motor vehicle that is being operated on a roadway in Lincolnshire to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.
On February 8, 1999, a Lincolnshire police officer stopped a motor vehicle that was being driven by defendant Eugenio Gomez. The sole reason for the stop was that the police officer perceived Gomez to be in violation of the Lincolnshire ordinance by not wearing a seat belt. Following the stop, Gomez was arrested and charged with driving while his driving privileges were suspended (see 625 ILCS 5/6--303 (West 1998)).
Gomez filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. Following a hearing, the trial court issued a written order granting the motion. The order found that the stop was improper because the Lincolnshire ordinance was contrary to section 12--603.1(e) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Vehicle Code) (625 ILCS 5/12--603.1(e) (West 1998)). Section 12--603.1(e) prohibits any law enforcement officer from stopping a motor vehicle solely for not wearing a seat belt. Lincolnshire filed a timely notice of appeal and a certificate of impairment.
On October 5, 1998, the Village of Mundelein (Mundelein), a home rule unit, adopted ordinance No. 98--10--40 (Mundelein ordinance) (Mundelein, Ill., Ordinance No. 98--10--40 (eff. October 5, 1998)) pursuant to its home rule powers. The Mundelein ordinance requires all noninfant occupants of a motor vehicle that is being operated on a roadway in Mundelein to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt. The Mundelein ordinance also provides:
"Any Village police officer may stop any motor vehicle, or driver or passenger of such vehicle solely on the basis of a violation or suspected violation by either the driver or passenger failing to have a fastened seat safety belt, in violation of this section while such motor vehicle is being operated on any roadway within the corporate limits of Village of Mundelein." Mundelein, Ill., Ordinance No. 98--10--40 §(I)(B)(4) (eff. October 5, 1998).
On April 3, 1999, a Mundelein police officer stopped a motor vehicle that was being driven by defendant Francisco Franco. The sole reason for the stop was that Franco was perceived to be violating the Mundelein ordinance by not wearing a seat belt. The police then arrested Franco for driving under the influence of alcohol (see 625 ILCS 5/11--501(a) (West 1998)). Franco's driver's license was subsequently summarily suspended (see 625 ILCS 5/11--501.1 (West 1998)).
Franco filed a motion to suppress evidence and a petition to rescind the summary suspension. Following hearings, the trial court issued orders granting the motion and the petition. In the order granting the motion, the trial court found that the stop was improper because the Mundelein ordinance was contrary to section 12--603.1(e) of the Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/12--603.1(e) (West 1998)). Mundelein then filed a timely notice of appeal and a certificate of impairment. The notice of appeal indicated that Mundelein was appealing from both the order granting Franco's motion to suppress and the order granting Franco's petition to rescind the summary suspension of his driver's license.
We consolidated the appeals of Lincolnshire and Mundelein (plaintiffs). Plaintiffs filed joint appellate briefs. We note that Gomez has not filed an appellee's brief. We will therefore review Lincolnshire's appeal under the principles enunciated in First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp., 63 Ill. 2d 128 (1976).
On appeal, plaintiffs contend that the trial court orders that granted Gomez's motion to suppress and Franco's motion to suppress and petition to rescind the summary suspension of his driver's license should be reversed. Plaintiffs assert that the trial court erred when it found that the stops of defendants for violating plaintiffs' "primary stop" seat belt ordinances were improper. By "primary stop" plaintiffs mean a stop based solely on a violation or suspected violation of the ordinance. Plaintiffs argue that the stops were proper because enacting their primary stop ordinances was within their home rule powers. The parties do not dispute that the Lincolnshire ordinance and the Mundelein ordinance are primary stop ordinances.
Franco responds that the trial court did not err because a primary stop seat belt ordinance is invalid. In Franco's view a local authority that enacts such an ordinance exceeds its home rule powers. Franco asserts that in the Vehicle Code the legislature expressed an intent that section 12--603.1(e), the statute prohibiting a stop solely on the basis of a failure to wear a seat belt, should be uniformly applied throughout the state. Franco argues that a primary stop seat belt ordinance is invalid because it directly conflicts with this legislative intent.
As home rule units, plaintiffs' exercise of their home rule powers derives from the Illinois Constitution of 1970. Section 6(a) of article VII of the constitution defines home rule units and provides:
"[A] home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(a).
The constitution further provides that the "[p]owers and functions of home rule units shall be construed liberally." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(m). Our supreme court has stated that the constitution gives home rule units "the broadest powers possible." Scadron v. City of Des Plaines, 153 Ill. 2d 164, 174 (1992).
On the other hand, home rule powers are not unlimited and the legislature "may provide specifically by law for the exclusive exercise by the State of any power or function of a home rule unit other than a taxing power." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(h). A home rule unit may exercise its home rule powers concurrently with the state unless the legislature specifically limits the concurrent exercise of home rule powers or specifically declares the state's exercise of power to be exclusive. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(i); Village of Bolingbrook v. Citizens Utility Co. 158 Ill. 2d 133, 138 (1994). In order to limit home rule power, a statute must contain express language as to the ...