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Weipert v. Illinois Department of Professional Regulation

February 20, 2003

LARRY L. WEIPERT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL REGULATION AND LEONARD A. SHERMAN, DIRECTOR, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 01MR404 Honorable Robert J. Eggers, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Unpublished

In February 2001, plaintiff, Larry L. Weipert, filed an application with defendant, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (Department), for licensure as a private detective. In June 2001, the Department denied Weipert's application because he lacked the three years' work experience required by section 75(a)(6) of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 1993 (Private Detective Act) (225 ILCS 446/75(a)(6) (West 2000)). In July 2001, Weipert filed a compliant for administrative review in the circuit court, which affirmed the Department's decision. Weipert appeals, arguing section 75(a)(6) is unconstitutional because its apprenticeship provision (1) grants a monopolistic right to instruct, (2) fails to enhance the expertise of prospective licensees, (3) fails to bear a reasonable relationship to the end of protecting the public, and (4) violates the federal and state equal protection clauses (U.S. Const., amend. XIV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §2). We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Weipert resides in Davenport, Iowa, where he is a private investigator licensed by the State of Iowa. In February 2001, Weipert submitted an application for licensure by endorsement with the Department. In April 2001, the Department denied Weipert's application based on endorsement and refused to allow Weipert to sit for the private detective examination. The Department informed Weipert of the experience requirement in Illinois. Weipert received two years' education credit for his baccalaureate degree in business administration, but he still needed one more year of qualifying work experience within the last five years. Weipert then requested the Department to reconsider his application. Weipert submitted a letter from his supervisor at State Farm Insurance, where he worked for 10 years as a claims representative. The letter detailed Weipert's "extensive experience in investigations."

In June 2001, the Department denied Weipert's application to sit for the private detective examination because he failed to meet the work experience requirement. The Department stated, "There is no provision that gives the Department authority to give credit to applicants for experience as an investigator for an insurance company." In July 2001, Weipert filed a complaint for administrative review, challenging the constitutionality of section 75(a)(6) of the Private Detective Act. In October 2001, the circuit court held a hearing and affirmed the Department's decision. This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Forfeiture

Initially, we note Weipert has forfeited his constitutional challenge to section 75(a)(6) of the Private Detective Act because he did not raise it before the administrative agency. Carpetland U.S.A., Inc. v. Illinois Department of Employment Security, 201 Ill. 2d 351, 396-97, 776 N.E.2d 166, 192 (2002). A party's right to question the validity of a statute is subject to forfeiture even though an administrative agency lacks the authority to invalidate a statute on constitutional grounds. Carpetland, 201 Ill. 2d at 397, 776 N.E.2d at 192. A party should assert a constitutional challenge on the record before the administrative tribunal because administrative review is confined to the proof offered before the agency. Carpetland, 201 Ill. 2d at 397, 776 N.E.2d at 192.

However, forfeiture is a limitation on the parties rather than on this court's jurisdiction, and we may relax the forfeiture doctrine when necessary to maintain a uniform body of precedent, or where the interests of justice so require. Carpetland, 201 Ill. 2d at 397, 776 N.E.2d at 192. We deem this case to present one of those occasions.

B. Standard of Review

This court reviews the constitutionality of a statute de novo. Schober v. Young, 322 Ill. App. 3d 996, 998, 751 N.E.2d 610, 612 (2001). Statutory enactments bear a heavy presumption of constitutionality. Toney v. Bower, 318 Ill. App. 3d 1194, 1198, 744 N.E.2d 351, 356 (2001). A party challenging the constitutionality of a statute has the burden of clearly establishing its invalidity. Toney, 318 Ill. App. 3d at 1198, 744 N.E.2d at 356-57. Courts must resolve all doubts in favor of the statute's constitutionality. Toney, 318 Ill. App. 3d at 1198, 744 N.E.2d at 357.

C. Section 75(a)(6) of the Private Detective Act

Weipert challenges the constitutionality of section 75(a)(6) of the Private Detective Act, which requires applicants for a private detective license to have three years' experience during the last five years (1) "working full-time for a licensed private detective agency as a registered private detective employee" or (2) "employed as a full-time investigator for a licensed attorney or in a law enforcement agency of a federal or [s]tate political subdivision, which shall include a State's Attorney's office or a [p]ublic [d]efender's office." 225 ILCS 446/75(a)(6) (West 2000).

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in police science or a related field, or a business degree, are given credit for two of the three years' required experience. Applicants with associate's degrees in those fields are given credit for one of the three years' required experience. 225 ILCS 446/75(a)(6) (West 2000). D. Apprenticeship Test

The supreme court has established a two-part test to determine whether an apprenticeship provision is constitutional: (1) the provision must not have the effect, when implemented, of conferring on members of the trade a monopolistic right to instruct, and (2) it must be structured in such a way that the apprenticeship it requires is calculated to enhance the expertise of prospective licensees. Johnson v. Department of Professional Regulation, 308 Ill. ...


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