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People v. Satterwhite

April 02, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JON T. SATTERWHITE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Vermilion County Nos. 91TR8990 95TR2339 97TR6930 97TR6932 Honorable Joseph P. Skowronski, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

Defendant Jon T. Satterwhite appeals the circuit court's December 14, 1999, denial of his petition(s) for expungement of several traffic-related cases. Satterwhite's record contains the following causes, charges, and dispositions:

No. 91-TR-8990 Driving 21 to 25 miles per hour above the speed limit (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 ½, par. 11-601) (supervision)

No. 95-TR-2339 Driving 16 to 20 miles per hour above the speed limit (625 ILCS 5/11-601 (West 1994)) (supervision)

No. 97-TR-6930 Reckless driving (625 ILCS 5/11-503 (West 1996)) (nol-prossed)

No. 97-TR-6931 Driving over 30 miles per hour above the speed limit (625 ILCS 5/11-601 (West 1996)) (supervision)

No. 97-TR-6932 Improper lane usage (625 ILCS 5/11-709(a) (West 1996)) (nol-prossed)

Satterwhite filed petitions in the circuit court to have each of these cases expunged from his record. The State offered no objection to any of the petitions. The circuit court nonetheless denied each. Satterwhite has chosen not to take an appeal with respect to cause No. 97-TR-6931 (driving over 30 miles per hour above the speed limit), so we need not consider that case.

I. CASES SUBJECT TO EXPUNGEMENT

The State argues (and the trial court found) that the charges in No. 91-TR-8990 (driving 21 to 25 miles per hour above the speed limit), No. 95-TR-2339 (driving 16 to 20 miles per hour above the speed limit), and No. 97-TR-6932 (improper lane usage) are not subject to expungement because the relevant statute does not so authorize. The State is correct. Section 5(a) of the Criminal Identification Act (Act) (20 ILCS 2630/5(a) (West Supp. 1999)) states in pertinent part:

"Whenever an adult *** charged with a violation of a municipal ordinance or a felony or a misdemeanor, is acquitted or released without being convicted, *** [certain judicial officers] may[,] upon verified petition of the defendant[,] order the record of arrest expunged ***."

According to the plain language of the statute, these cases are not subject to expungement because they do not constitute a violation of a municipal ordinance, a felony, or a misdemeanor. Absent a contrary provision of law, they are petty offenses. 625 ILCS 5/6-601(a) (West 1998). The legislature did not make petty offenses subject to expungement.

The charge of reckless driving in cause No. 97-TR-6930, however, is of a different order. It is statutorily defined as a Class A misdemeanor (625 ILCS 5/11-503(b) (West 1996)) unless aggravated by great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another (625 ILCS 5/11-503(c) (West 1996)). As such, it is subject to expungement. ...


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