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People v. McLeer

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

February 27, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAIME McLEER, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 14-TR-2948. Honorable Joel D. Berg, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

When defendant was arrested for driving under the influence and the arresting officer, after defendant refused to submit to testing, told defendant that his driving privileges would be suspended and the officer tendered the sworn report to defendant even though the report was incomplete in that a date was not filled in, and later, based on the advice of the Secretary of State's Office, the arresting officer amended the report to include the missing date, sent it to the Secretary, who used it to confirm the suspension date, and the officer gave defendant the amended report at the suspension hearing, the State was allowed to amend the sworn report in the court's file to show the correct date; therefore, under the circumstances, the amended sworn report allowed the Secretary of State to calculate and confirm defendant's suspension and determine that the defect did not warrant the rescission of the suspension, and the trial court's judgment upholding the denial of defendant's petition to rescind suspension was affirmed.

For Appellant: Elizabeth J. Pudwill, Donahue & Walsh, P.C., McHenry.

For The People: Louis A. Bianchi, State's Attorney, Woodstock (Lawrence M. Bauer, Sally A. Swiss, State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, Of Counsel).

JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Schostok and Justice Zenoff concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 1051

BURKE, J.

[¶1] The driving privileges of defendant, Jaime McLeer, were summarily suspended after he refused to submit to chemical testing to determine the concentration of alcohol in his blood. Defendant petitioned to rescind the suspension, claiming, among other things, that the suspension was based on the arresting officer's incomplete " Law Enforcement Sworn Report" [1] (sworn report). At the hearing on the petition, the court allowed the State to amend the sworn report to indicate the date that the notice was given to defendant. The trial court denied the petition, and defendant timely appeals. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

[¶2] The following facts are relevant to resolving the issue raised. On January 26, 2014, defendant was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) (see generally 625 ILCS 5/11-501 (West 2012)). After being warned of the consequences, defendant refused to submit to testing. As a result, the arresting officer told defendant that his driving privileges would be suspended, and the officer tendered the sworn report to him. The sworn report was dated " 01/26/14," listed that date as the " Refusal or Test Date," and indicated that " immediate Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation of driving privileges [was served] on [defendant]." However, no date was listed next to the designation " Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation Given On." Based on the lack of this date, among other reasons, defendant petitioned to rescind his suspension.

[¶3] At the hearing on this petition, the arresting officer testified that, soon after he sent the sworn report to the Secretary of State's office (Secretary), the Secretary informed him that, because information was missing on the sworn report, the Secretary was unable to confirm the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges. More specifically, the Secretary advised the arresting officer that he needed to fill in the portion of the form that provided when " Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation [was] Given." The arresting officer amended the sworn report to indicate that notice was given to defendant on the date he was arrested, January 26, 2014. He sent the amended sworn report to the Secretary, and the Secretary used it to confirm that the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges would begin 46 days after January 26, 2014, i.e., on March 13, 2014. However,

Page 1052

the officer never sent the amended sworn report to defendant or the court. Nevertheless, the officer confirmed at the hearing that he gave defendant notice of the suspension on January 26, 2014. Based on this evidence, the court allowed the State to amend the copy of the sworn report that was in the court's file to reflect that notice was given to defendant on January 26, 2014.

[¶4] The trial court denied the petition to rescind the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges. In doing so, the court found that the arresting officer's failure to fill in the portion of the sworn report asking for the date that " Notice of Summary Suspension/Revocation [was] Given" constituted a formal defect that could be cured by amendment, as all of the evidence ...


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