Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division
ANITA ALVAREZ, in Her Capacity as Cook County State's Attorney, Plaintiff-Appellee,
KENNETH J. WILLIAMS, in His Capacity as Thornton Township High School District 205 School Board President, Defendant-Appellant
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 2013-CH-1379. The Honorable Rita Novak Judge, presiding.
The trial court properly granted plaintiff State's Attorney summary judgment in a quo warranto action based on the argument that defendant's 1985 Indiana felony forgery conviction on an accountability theory constituted an infamous crime under section 29-15 of the Election Code that rendered defendant ineligible to hold the office of a school board member; furthermore, the trial court did not violate defendant's due process or equal protection rights, and the fact that the conviction was expunged in Indiana after the trial court entered its order had no effect on the trial court's action in the instant case.
Andrew Finko, of Andrew Finko, P.C., of Chicago, for appellant.
Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Daniel F. Gallagher, Kent S. Ray, and Sisavanh B. Baker, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for appellee.
JUSTICE LAVIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pucinski and Justice Hyman concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] This interlocutory appeal arises from the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff Anita Alvarez, in her capacity as Cook County State's Attorney, in a quo warranto action, pursuant to section 18-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/18-101 (West 2012)), against defendant Kenneth J. Williams. On appeal, defendant first contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because he is statutorily qualified to seek and hold public office under the Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2012)) and School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2012)). Defendant also contends his due process rights were violated because the term " infamous crime" is vague, and therefore, violates the due process clause of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. XIV). In addition, defendant contends that section 29-15 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-15 (West 2012)) violates his equal protection rights under the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. XIV) because there is a disparity in the eligibility requirements for convicted felons seeking to hold constitutional and legislatively created offices. Furthermore, defendant contends that his equal protections rights were violated by plaintiff's selective prosecution of defendant. Finally, defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by limiting discovery. We affirm.
[¶3] In April 2009, defendant was elected to the Board of Education for Thornton Township High School District 205 (Board) and was subsequently reelected in April 2012, attaining the position of Board president. Prior to defendant's reelection to the Board, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant alleging that a prior conviction (a 1985 Indiana felony forgery conviction on an accountability theory for which he served five years) constituted an infamous crime under section 29-15 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-15 (West 2012)), rendering him ineligible to hold the
office of a school board member. See Ind. Code Ann. § § 35-41-2-4, 35-43-5-2 (West 1984). The parties filed cross-motions on the pleadings. After briefing and argument, the trial court dismissed plaintiff's motion for default judgment and defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant then filed his answer and affirmative defensives, drawing plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Defendant thereafter filed his response to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, along with his counsel's Rule 191(b) affidavit (Ill. S.Ct. R. 191(b) (eff. Jan. 4, 2013)), regarding anticipated evidence that would have been obtained through party discovery. Defendant also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment including two volumes of exhibits highlighting documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1.1 et seq. (West 2012)). In October 2013, the trial court allowed oral argument on both motions for summary judgment and ruled in plaintiff's favor. The court determined that defendant's conviction was applicable in Illinois and he was statutorily ineligible to hold the office of a school board member under the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2012)) and School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2012)). Consequently, the trial court denied ...