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People v. Eidel

March 15, 2001

KURT P. EIDEL (NO. 2--99--1303), JOAQUIN FUENTES (NO. 2--99--1304), LUKE E. KELLY (NO. 2--99--1305), JAMES A. ROHRMAN (NO. 2--99--1306), RAYMOND R. TOBIN (NO. 2--99--1307), JOSEPH E. TRIMARCO (NO. 2--99--1310), SUSAN M. PLATT (NO. 2--99--1361), MICHAEL D. NEMEC (NO. 2--99--1362), LOUIS F. VASSELLI (NO. 2--99--1363), GARY F. BABIARZ (NO. 2--99--1364), LAURA C. YOUNG (NO. 2--99--1380), JAMES A. SUHAJDA (NO. 2--99--1381), JOHN F. KAVALEC (NO. 2--99--1382), GERALD T. SMITH (NO. 2--99--1383), SCOTT A. MINTON (NO. 2--99--1384), JAMES D. FIEDLER (NO. 2--99--1385), JOEL B. HEINEMAN (NO. 2--99--1386), RANDALL T. LOBELLO (NO. 2--99--1387), GARY L. LIPSCHULTZ (NO. 2--99--1388), CHRISTOPHER J. ANTONICIC (NO. 2--00--0044), PATRICK J. HOUREN (NO. 2--00--0045), JAMES D. IRVING (NO. 2--00--0046), KURTIS D. KASPER (NO. 2--00--0047), MARK T. LIGHT (NO. 2--00--0048), ROBERT L. LORGE (NO. 2--00--0050), CHERYL A. MURRELL (NO. 2--00--0051), DWAYNE GESICKI (NO. 2--00--0052), STEVEN M. KOZOLA (NO. 2--00--0053), MICHAEL A. SAUBERT (NO. 2--00--0054), CHRISTOPHER WALLENBERG (NO. 2--00--0159), MICHAEL RODGERS (NO. 2--00--0160), DELMAR NEACE (NO. 2--00--0161), AND MARK KLIEM (NO. 2--00--0162), DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 97--DT--0396; No. 97--DT--3300; No. 96--DT--4519; No. 97--DT--306; No. 97--DT--5129; No. 97--DT--1659; No. 98--DT--4155; No. 98--DT--2932; No. 96--DT--3308; No. 97--DT--3979; No. 98--DT--1382; No. 98--DT--3665; No. 98--DT--157; No. 97--DT--2925; No. 98--DT--3038; No. 98--DT--3397; No. 98--DT--3634; No. 97--DT--2581; No. 97--DT--4345; No. 97--DT--3981; No. 98--DT--2727; No. 98--DT--4035; No. 98--DT--1402; No. 98--DT--1839; No. 98--DT--193; No. 97--DT--2923; No. 97--DT--4793; No. 98--DT--3217; No. 98--DT--1277; No. 97--DT--3117; No. 98--DT--312; No. 98--DT--3499; No. 97--DT--2538 Honorable Perry R. Thompson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Bowman

The State appeals 33 circuit court orders granting the petitions of the above-named defendants to rescind the statutory summary suspensions of their driver's licenses. Because the cases raise common issues of law, we have consolidated the appeals. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgments of the circuit court of Du Page County and remand the causes for further proceedings on the defendants' petitions.

Each defendant petitioned to rescind his or her summary suspension on grounds specified by section 2--118.1(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (625 ILCS 5/2--118.1(b) (West 1996)), then moved separately to rescind the suspension on constitutional grounds. In each case, the circuit court granted rescission solely on constitutional grounds. Later, in a separate case, the supreme court rejected these constitutional arguments. See People v. Fisher, 184 Ill. 2d 441 (1998). The supreme court then vacated the original rescission orders here and remanded the causes for reconsideration in light of Fisher.

Sometime after the supreme court's mandates were filed in the circuit court, the Secretary of State's office (Secretary or Secretary's office) sent each defendant a new "Confirmation of Summary Suspension" (Confirmation) stating that his or her license would again be summarily suspended as of a specified date. The Secretary mailed each Confirmation only a few days before the starting date of the new suspension. The defendants petitioned to rescind the suspensions, arguing that they had been denied their due process right to presuspension hearings and their statutory right to 46 days' notice of the new suspensions (see 625 ILCS 5/11--501.1(g) (West 1998)).

The circuit court granted the petitions and denied the State's motions to reconsider. The State timely appealed. On appeal, the State asserts that (1) section 11--501.1(g) of the Code did not require the Secretary to provide any defendant 46 days' notice of the new suspension; and (2) the defendants were not denied any constitutional right to a presuspension hearing.

Defendants Kurt P. Eidel, Joaquin Fuentes, Luke E. Kelly, James A. Rohrman, and Joseph E. Trimarco have jointly filed an appellees' brief. Defendants Cheryl A. Murrell and Susan M. Platt have filed separate appellees' briefs. All of the defendants who have filed briefs contend, in essence, that the Secretary's arbitrary precipitate resuspensions of their licenses violated both the Code and procedural due process.


For obvious reasons, we do not recite the facts of every case. We present the facts in People v. Eidel as paradigmatic.

On January 28, 1997, a police officer arrested Eidel (defendant) for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-- 501(a)(2) (West 1996)) and warned defendant in writing that, if he refused or failed a chemical test, his license would be suspended summarily for the period provided by statute (see 625 ILCS 5/6--208.1 (West 1996)). Defendant refused testing. On February 4, 1997, defendant was charged by complaint with DUI and the arresting officer's "Law Enforcement Sworn Report" was filed in the circuit court. On February 11, 1997, the Secretary's office filed a Confirmation that told defendant that his license would be suspended effective March 15, 1997.

On February 26, 1997, defendant filed a petition to rescind his suspension. The petition listed a variety of statutory grounds for rescission (see 625 ILCS 5/2--118.1(b) (West 1996)). Defendant obtained a continuance. On April 23, 1997, before any hearing took place, defendant filed a "Motion to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension" asserting that sections 6--208.1 and 11--501.1 of the Code (625 ILCS 5/6--208.1, 11--501.1 (West 1996)) violated due process and equal protection by discriminating against defendant and other adult nonfirst offenders who refused testing. On September 30, 1998, after a jury acquitted him of DUI, defendant filed another motion repeating these constitutional arguments. The State filed a response. Nothing in the record shows that defendant ever requested an evidentiary hearing on his original petition or that the State ever answered the original petition.

On October 15, 1998, the circuit court rescinded defendant's summary suspension. The court's written orders state that the rescission is based solely on the constitutional grounds defendant raised. We have no report of any hearing that might have resulted in these written orders. On October 16, 1998, the State filed a notice of appeal to the supreme court (see 134 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)).

On December 17, 1998, the supreme court filed its opinion in Fisher. The court rejected the precise constitutional theories on which the circuit court of Du Page County had relied to rescind defendant's summary suspension. See Fisher, 184 Ill. 2d at 449-56. On April 30, 1999, the supreme court's mandate in defendant's case was filed in the circuit court of Du Page County. The mandate states that, on April 6, 1999, the supreme court entered "the following judgment" in the appeal in defendant's case:

"The motion by appellant to vacate the judgment of the Circuit Court of DuPage County and to remand this cause to the circuit court for reconsideration in light of this Court's decision in People v. Fisher et al. *** is allowed and this cause is remanded."

On May 3, 1999, the circuit court clerk of Du Page County filed a "Notice of Receipt of Reviewing Court Mandate." The notice, addressed to both the State's Attorney and defendant, states that the reviewing court's mandate has been filed in the circuit court; that the case has been ordered "REVERSED & REMANDED"; and that "To reactivate this matter, please file your Notice of Motion in accordance with court rules." There is nothing in the record to prove that either party was sent this notice.

On July 22, 1999, the Secretary filed a new Confirmation with the circuit court. This document states that defendant's license will be suspended ...

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