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People v. Burdunice

May 20, 2004

[5] THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
MELODY BURDUNICE, APPELLEE.



[6] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Fitzgerald

[7]  Docket No. 96563-Agenda 4-March 2004.

[8]  In January 2000, the defendant, a correctional officer at the Kankakee County Detention Center, was charged with one count of unlawful delivery of a contraband handgun into a penal institution (see 720 ILCS 5/31A-1.2(c)(1) (West 1998)), one count of unlawful delivery of contraband cellular telephone batteries into a penal institution (see 720 ILCS 5/31A-1.2(c)(1) (West 1998)), one count of aiding escape (see 720 ILCS 5/31-7(b) ( West 1998)), and one count of official misconduct (see 720 ILCS 5/31A-1.2(c)(1) (West 1998)). The defendant was convicted of the delivery of contraband cellular telephone batteries charge, acquitted of the other charges, and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment.

[9]  On appeal, the defendant argued that Public Act 89-688, which, among its various provisions, added cellular telephone batteries to the list of contraband prohibited in penal institutions, violated the so-called single subject rule of the Illinois Constitution. See Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d). The defendant specifically contended that section 0.5 of the Act, which amended the State Employee Indemnification Act (5 ILCS 350/0.01 et seq. (West 1996)) to allow the Illinois Attorney General to file counterclaims in civil suits against state employees, did not relate to the subject of the remainder of the Act, criminal law. The appellate court agreed with the defendant and reversed her conviction and sentence. The court relied on People v. Foster, 316 Ill. App. 3d 855 (2000):

[10]  
"The Foster court stated that Public Act 89-688 violates the single subject rule no matter how liberally construed. The court reasoned that civil actions, and specifically counterclaims, bear no natural and logical relation to the criminal law. The court ruled, therefore, that Public Act 89-688 violates the Illinois Constitution.
[11]  
Because we believe their analysis was logically sound in light of supreme court precedent, we must agree with the Foster court. The section of Public Act 89-688 that amends the Act concerns all State employees, not merely State employees whose work involves criminal law. Therefore, we concur with the Foster court's holding that Public Act 89-688 violates the single subject rule of the Illinois Constitution." 339 Ill. App. 3d 986, 988-89.

[12]   The State appealed. See 177 Ill. 2d R. 315(a). On the legal issue before us, our review proceeds de novo. See People v. Sypien, 198 Ill. 2d 334, 338 (2001).

[13]   ANALYSIS

[14]   Article IV, section 8(d), of the 1970 Illinois Constitution states: "Bills, except bills for appropriations and for the codification, revision or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject." Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d). The single subject rule prevents the passage of legislation which, standing alone on its own merits, would fail. See Fuehrmeyer v. City of Chicago, 57 Ill. 2d 193, 202 (1974). It also facilitates the passage of legislation in an orderly and informed manner. Johnson v. Edgar, 176 Ill. 2d 499, 514 (1997). "In sum, the single subject rule ensures that the legislature addresses the difficult decisions it faces directly and subject to public scrutiny, rather than passing unpopular measures on the backs of popular ones." Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515.

[15]   We use a two-tiered analysis to determine whether an act violates the single subject rule: "First, we must determine whether the act, on its face, involves a legitimate single subject. [Citation.] Second, we must discern whether the various provisions within an act all relate to the proper subject at issue. [Citation.]" Sypien, 198 Ill. 2d at 339. In short, if the public act addresses a legitimate single subject, the dispositive question becomes whether the individual provisions of the Act have a "natural and logical" connection to that subject. See People v. Boclair, 202 Ill. 2d 89, 109 (2002); People ex rel. Ogilvie v. Lewis, 49 Ill. 2d 476, 487 (1971) (observing that the single subject rule prohibits " ` "discordant provisions that by no fair intendment can be considered as having any legitimate relation to each other" ' "), quoting People ex rel. Gutknecht v. City of Chicago, 414 Ill. 600, 608 (1953), quoting People ex rel. City of Chicago v. Board of County Commissioners, 355 Ill. 244, 247 (1934). More eloquently stated:

[16]  
"The statute embraces but one subject or object where the matters included are such that, if traced back, they will lead the mind to the subject as the generic head. On the other hand, an act may not embrace unrelated or unconnected subjects or objects, but the various topics in the body of the act should and must be kindred in nature, and germane to the subject or object. It has been said that there can be no surer test of compliance with the constitutional requirement of singleness of subject than that none of the provisions of an act can be read as relating or germane to any other subject than the one named in the title." (Emphasis added.) Co-ordinated Transport, Inc. of Illinois v. Barrett, 412 Ill. 321, 326-27 (1952).

[17]   We turn to the Act.

[18]   Public Act 89-688 was labeled "An Act in relation to criminal law," a legitimate single subject. See People v. Malchow, 193 Ill. 2d 413, 428-29 (2000); see also Sypien, 198 Ill. 2d at 339; People v. Wooters, 188 Ill. 2d 500, 512-13 (1999). Four of its five sections obviously do address criminal law. Section 1 amended the Criminal Code of 1961 by, inter alia, adding a definition of "[e]lectronic contraband" that included cellular telephone batteries, to the list of items which persons cannot bring into a penal institution. See 720 ILCS 5/31A-1.1(c)(2)(xi) (West 1996). Section 1.7 amended the Statewide Grand Jury Act (see 725 ILCS 215/1 et seq. (West 1996)); section 2 amended the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Act (see 725 ILCS 240/1 et seq. (West 1996)), and section 5 amended the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/1-1-1 et seq. (West 1996)). Certainly, "substantive criminal law and correctional system administration fall squarely under the umbrella of the criminal justice system" (Boclair, 202 Ill. 2d at 113), and these four sections of the act satisfy the single subject rule. The State aptly frames the issue before us: "The only question is whether section 0.5 [of the act] also relates to criminal or correctional matters."

[19]   Section 0.5 provides:

[20]  
"The Attorney General may file a counterclaim on behalf of a ...

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