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Rodimel v. Cook County Sheriff's Office

December 23, 2004

JASON RODIMEL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, AND ILLINOIS STATE POLICE, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 02 CH 22174. Honorable Patrick McGann, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'brien

Plaintiff, Jason Rodimel, appeals from the circuit court's order dismissing his declaratory judgment action against defendants, Cook County sheriff's office, Cook County State's Attorney's office and Illinois State Police. Plaintiff's complaint sought the court's declaration that the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act (Registration Act) (730 ILCS 150/2 (West 2002)) did not require plaintiff to register as a sex offender in Illinois. On appeal, plaintiff contends the trial court erred in dismissing his complaint because the offense of which he was convicted by a military court is not explicitly included in the Registration Act, nor is it substantially equivalent to any of the offenses listed in the Registration Act. We affirm.

[9]     In October, 2001, plaintiff was convicted of indecent assault under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Military Code) (10 U.S.C. §934 (2000)). Specifically, the military court found plaintiff guilty of "commit[ting] an indecent assault upon [the victim], a person not his wife, by kissing her on the mouth, by straddling her, and by grabbing her breasts, with the intent to gratify his sexual desires." Plaintiff's sentence included a reduction in military grade, one month's confinement and a discharge for "bad conduct."

After his discharge, plaintiff established residence in Indiana and registered with the Porter County police as a sex offender. He renewed his registration the following year. Plaintiff moved to Chicago in December 2002 and informed the Porter County police and the Cook County sheriff's office of his move. Plaintiff also informed them, upon his counsel's advice, of his belief that he need not register as a sex offender in Illinois. Plaintiff then filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that the Registration Act does not require him to register as a sex offender. The State Police filed a motion to dismiss, pursuant to sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615, 2-619 (West 2002)).

On September 17, 2003, the trial court granted the motion to dismiss under section 2-619 of the Code, finding the offense of indecent assault was "substantially similar" to criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-15 (West 2002)), and therefore plaintiff must register as a sex offender under Illinois law. Plaintiff filed this timely appeal.

Dismissal of the complaint under section 2-619 of the Code is proper where the "claim asserted *** is barred by other affirmative matter avoiding the legal effect of or defeating the claim." 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2002). "Affirmative matter" refers to "a defense that negates the cause of action completely or refutes crucial conclusions of law or conclusions of material fact contained in or inferred from the complaint." Glisson v. City of Marion, 188 Ill. 2d 211, 220 (1999). The trial court's order granting defendants' section 2-619 motion to dismiss is reviewed de novo. Glisson, 188 Ill. 2d at 220.

Plaintiff argues the trial court improperly dismissed his complaint because indecent assault, the offense for which he was convicted by a military court, is not explicitly included in the Registration Act, nor is it substantially equivalent to any of the listed offenses. Section 2 of the Registration Act states as follows:

"(A) As used in this Article, 'sex offender' means any person who is:

(1) charged pursuant to Illinois law, or any substantially similar federal, Uniform Code of Military Justice, sister state, or foreign country law, with a sex offense set forth in subsection (B) of this Section or the attempt to commit an included sex offense, and:

(a) is convicted of such offense or an attempt to commit such offense[.]

(B) As used in this Article, 'sex offense' means:

(1) A violation of any of the following Sections of the Criminal Code of 1961:

11-20.1 (child pornography),

11-6 (indecent solicitation of ...


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