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Thomas J. Honzik v. the Department of State Police

January 31, 2013

THOMAS J. HONZIK,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit Will County, Illinois Circuit No. 11-MR-417 Honorable Barbara Petrungaro Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lytton

JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Plaintiff, Thomas Honzik, a registered sex offender, was notified in 2009 that his registration period had been extended because he failed to timely register a change of address in 2003. Plaintiff filed a petition to rescind the extension of his sex offender registration period with the Director of State Police. The Director denied plaintiff's petition. Plaintiff then filed a complaint for administrative review in the circuit court. The court affirmed the Director's decision. We reverse.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 In 1998, plaintiff was convicted of child pornography (720 ILCS 5/11-20.1(a)(6) (West 1998)) and sentenced to 30 months' probation. As a result of his conviction, plaintiff was required, pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (Act) (730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2002)), to register as a sex offender for 10 years. From August 1999 to July 2003, plaintiff submitted sex offender registration forms showing his address as 41 Brittany Drive, New Lenox.

¶ 4 In June 2003, plaintiff and his wife entered into a purchase agreement to build a house at 362 Heartland Drive, New Lenox. On October 16, 2003, plaintiff obtained a new driver's license, which showed his address as 362 Heartland Drive. At that time, the home on Heartland Drive was not finished. On October 20, 2003, plaintiff went to the New Lenox police station and registered his new address as 362 Heartland Drive. On or about that same date, plaintiff and his wife moved out of their home at 41 Brittany Drive.

¶ 5 After moving out of their Brittany Drive home, plaintiff and his wife stayed with plaintiff's mother-in-law in Orland Park and plaintiff's mother at 6825 South Tripp, Chicago. On November 13, 2003, plaintiff submitted a sex offender registration form to the Chicago police department, which showed that he was residing at 6825 South Tripp, Chicago. In late December, plaintiff submitted change of address forms to the police departments of Chicago and New Lenox showing that he now resided at 362 Heartland Drive, New Lenox.

¶ 6 In June 2009, the Illinois State Police sent plaintiff a letter notifying him that he had violated the Act in November 2003, and, therefore, his 10-year registration period was extended to November 13, 2013. Plaintiff filed a petition to rescind the extension.

¶ 7 On January 20, 2011, the State Police conducted a hearing before an administrative law judge on plaintiff's petition to rescind. At the hearing, plaintiff testified that he lived at 6825 South Tripp, Chicago for 7 to 10 days before registering his address with the Chicago police department on November 13, 2003. Plaintiff's wife testified that between late October and mid-November 2003, she and plaintiff "weren't living anywhere" but were staying some nights in Orland Park with her mother and some nights at her mother-in-law's home at 6825 South Tripp, Chicago.

¶ 8 Following the hearing, the administrative law judge issued a recommended order and decision, finding as follows: "[I]t is undisputed that Registrant resided at 6825 South Tripp (or conceivably some other address, such as where another family lived) for more than ten (10) days before November 13, 2003, but did not register within that time frame. Therefore, there is a violation of the Act, mandating a ten (10) year extension." The Director of State Police adopted the recommendations of the administrative law judge and denied plaintiff's petition to rescind the extension.

¶ 9 Plaintiff then filed a complaint for administrative review in the circuit court. The court affirmed the Director's decision to deny plaintiff's petition to rescind, finding that plaintiff violated the Act because he "lived at the South Tripp address for ten days before he attempted to register in Chicago."

¶ 10 ANALYSIS

¶ 11 In an administrative review case, we review the decision of the agency, not that of the trial court. Arlington Park Racecourse LLC v. Illinois Racing Board, 2012 IL App (1st) 103743, ¶ 26. An agency's findings of fact are considered prima facie true and correct and will not be disturbed unless they are contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Id. ¶ 27. An administrative agency's decision on a question of law, such as the interpretation of a statute, is reviewed de novo. Sorock v. Illinois State Board of ...


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