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People v. Law

December 05, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
JASON A. LAW, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice McMORROW

Docket No. 93389-Agenda 25-September 2002.

In June 2001 defendant, Jason A. Law, was charged with violating section 6-16(c) of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 (the Act) (235 ILCS 5/6-16(c) (West 2000)). Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the case and have the statute declared unconstitutional. Following a hearing, the circuit court of Whiteside County granted the motion, declaring section 6-16(c) unconstitutionally vague and dismissing the information. The State appealed directly to this court. 134 Ill. 2d R. 603; 188 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

BACKGROUND

The factual background of this case is limited. Defendant's motion to dismiss raised only issues of law, not fact, and no evidence was presented by either side during the hearing.

In February 2001 the State filed a criminal complaint against defendant charging him with the offense of "Resident Allowing Person/s Under 21 to Leave Residence after Consuming Alcohol," in violation of section 6-16(c) of the Act. Section 6-16(c) provides in pertinent part:

"Any person shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor where he or she knowingly permits a gathering at a residence which he or she occupies of two or more persons where any one or more of the persons is under 21 years of age and the following factors also apply:

(1) the person occupying the residence knows that any such person under the age of 21 is in possession of or is consuming any alcoholic beverage; and

(2) the possession or consumption of the alcohol by the person under 21 is not otherwise permitted by this Act; and

(3) the person occupying the residence knows that the person under the age of 21 leaves the residence in an intoxicated condition." 235 ILCS 5/6-16(c) (West 2000).

The complaint alleged that on or about January 30, 2001, defendant "knowingly permitted" his residence "to be used for a gathering and knew that an invitee, Brock L. Boss[,] was under the age of 21 and the invitee was consuming alcohol while at his residence." The complaint added: "[D]efendant then allowed Brock Boss and others to leave the residence after consuming alcohol."

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. In his motion, defendant alleged, inter alia, that section 6-16(c) was unconstitutional because it "purport[ed] to require the Defendant to commit the offense of Unlawful Restraint in order to avoid criminal responsibility for such violation of the Liquor Control Act."

The State voluntarily dismissed the complaint and subsequently filed an amended information. While the amended information more closely tracked the language of section 6-16(c), it did not address defendant's unlawful-restraint objection. The information stated:

"[O]n or about the 30th day of January, 2001, [defendant] committed the offense of LIQUOR TO MINOR/PRIV RESIDENCE in that said defendant knowingly permitted his residence *** to be used as a gathering of two or more persons with knowledge that an invitee, Brock Boss, was under the age of 21, and that said invitee was consuming alcohol not otherwise permitted by [the Act], while at his residence. Said Defendant knew that Brock Boss left the residence in an intoxicated condition, in violation of [section 6-16(c) of the Act]."

Defendant moved to dismiss the information and declare the statute unconstitutional. Following a hearing, the circuit court granted the motion. In a ...


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