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The People of the State of Illinois v. Robert F. Grabeck

December 14, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT F. GRABECK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 09-DT-5173 Honorable Robert G. Kleeman, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke

JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justice Bowman concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Justice McLaren dissented, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The State raises two issues in this appeal: (1) whether the statutory summary suspension of the driving privileges of defendant, Robert F. Grabeck, must be rescinded when the "Law Enforcement [Officer's] Sworn Report" (Sworn Report) does not indicate the manner by which notice of the suspension was served on defendant and (2) whether the trial court erred when it denied the State's motion to amend the Sworn Report to reflect that notice of the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges was mailed to him. For the reasons that follow, we determine that failing to indicate on the Sworn Report the manner by which defendant was given notice of his suspension is not a defect warranting rescission of his suspension. Our holding obviates the need to decide whether the trial court erred in denying the State's motion to amend the Sworn Report to indicate the manner by which notice of the suspension was served on defendant. We reverse the rescission of the statutory summary suspension and remand the cause for further proceedings.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 The facts relevant to resolving this appeal are as follows. On December 21, 2009, defendant was observed speeding (625 ILCS 5/11-601(b) (West 2008)), disobeying a stop sign (625 ILCS 5/11-1204(b) (West 2008)), and allegedly driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4) (West 2008)). After a blood test confirmed that defendant was DUI, the arresting officer completed a Sworn Report, which is a preprinted form on which the officer fills in details about the DUI arrest. On this form, the officer indicated that "Notice of Summary Suspension [was] Given On 03/12/10." At the bottom of the Sworn Report was the following:

"Pursuant to Section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code I[, i.e., the officer,] have: G Served immediate Notice of Summary Suspension of driving privileges on the above-named person.

G Given Notice of Summary Suspension of driving privileges to the above-named person by depositing in the U.S. mail said notice in a prepaid postage envelope addressed to said person at the address as shown on the Uniform Traffic Ticket."

¶ 4 Underneath this certification, the officer signed his name and dated the Sworn Report "3/12/10." Although the Sworn Report provided a way for the officer to indicate the manner by which service of the summary suspension was made on defendant, the officer checked neither box and did not otherwise indicate on the Sworn Report how service was effected.

¶ 5 Thereafter, the Secretary of State's office (Secretary) sent defendant a "Confirmation of Statutory Summary Suspension [(Confirmation)]." According to the Confirmation, defendant's suspension was effective beginning April 27, 2010, which was 46 days after March 12, 2010.

¶ 6 On April 16, 2010, defendant petitioned to rescind the statutory summary suspension of his driving privileges. Defendant sought to rescind the suspension because "the arresting authorities, and the Secretary ***, failed to comply with the provisions of Section 11-501.1(h) by issuing a Confirmation *** where the [Sworn Report] was completed in error in that it was sent to the Secretary *** without indicating whether service was made upon the Defendant by (1) immediate service; or (2) by notice by mail." The petition did not allege that defendant had not actually received notice of the suspension.

¶ 7 Prior to a hearing on the petition, the State sought to amend the Sworn Report to indicate that notice of the suspension was served on defendant by mail. The trial court denied that motion and granted defendant's petition to rescind. The State moved to reconsider, emphasizing that the Sworn Report indicated that "Notice of Summary Suspension [was] Given On 03/12/10." Even though the trial court was not aware of that provision on the Sworn Report when it initially ruled, the court found that this fact did not alter the court's view that defendant's petition to rescind should be granted. Thus, the trial court denied the State's motion to reconsider, and this timely appeal followed.

¶ 8 ANALYSIS

¶ 9 The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges must be rescinded where the Sworn Report failed to indicate the manner by which defendant was given notice of the suspension. Resolving that issue turns on interpreting various statutes. When the outcome of an appeal is dependent on the construction of various statutes, the well-settled rules of statutory construction apply. "The cardinal rule of statutory construction is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature." People v. McClure, 218 Ill. 2d 375, 381 (2006). "The best evidence of legislative intent is the language of the statute." McClure, 218 Ill. 2d at 382. "When possible, the court should interpret the language of a statute according to its plain and ordinary meaning." McClure, 218 Ill. 2d at 382. "If intent can be determined from the plain language of the statute, there is no need to resort to interpretive aids." McClure, 218 Ill. 2d at 382. "Courts are to construe the statute as a whole, so that no part of it is rendered meaningless or superfluous." McClure, 218 Ill. 2d at 382. "A court should not depart from the language of the statute by reading into it exceptions, limitations, or conditions that conflict with the intent of the legislature." McClure, 218 Ill. 2d at 382. Because resolving the issue raised turns on interpreting statutes, our review is de novo. In re J.L., 236 Ill. 2d 329, 339-40 (2010).

¶ 10 Having delineated the rules of statutory construction, we turn next to the sections of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) that apply here. Section 11-501.1(d) requires the arresting officer to submit a Sworn Report to the Secretary, certifying that a test was requested and that the defendant either took the requested test and failed or refused to submit to testing. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(d) (West 2008). Once the Secretary receives the Sworn Report, his office must follow one of two courses of action prescribed in section 11-501.1(h) (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(h) (West 2008)). Specifically, section 11-501.1(h) provides:

"Upon receipt of the sworn report from the law enforcement officer, the Secretary of State shall confirm the statutory summary suspension by mailing a notice of the effective date of the suspension to the person and the court of venue. The Secretary of State shall also mail notice of the effective date of the disqualification to the person. However, should the sworn report be defective by not containing sufficient information or be completed in error, the confirmation of the statutory summary suspension shall not be mailed to the person or entered to the record; instead, the sworn report shall be ...


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