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Connour v. Grau

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

July 7, 2015

SCOTT CONNOUR, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HIRAM GRAU, Director of State Police; and MICHAEL W. VORREYER, FOID Enforcement Manager of the Department of State Police, Defendants-Appellants, and THE McLEAN COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY, Defendant

Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 11MR148. Honorable Rebecca Simmons Foley, Judge Presiding.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Chicago (Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, and Brett E. Legner (argued), Assistant Attorney General, of counsel), for appellants.

Todd A. Roseberry (argued) and John P. Schwulst, both of Schwulst & Roseberry, P.C., of Bloomington, for appellee.

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pope and Justice Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

STEIGMANN, JUSTICE.

Page 245

[¶1] In March 1999, plaintiff, Scott Connour, was convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery and sentenced to a one-year term of conditional discharge. In February 2011, plaintiff applied for a card under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (FOID Act) (430 ILCS 65/1 to 16-3 (West 2010)). In March 2011, the Illinois State Police (hereinafter, Department) denied plaintiff's application, citing a provision of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (Gun Control Act) (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) (2006)) that made it unlawful for a person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to possess a firearm. In May 2011, plaintiff filed a petition in the trial court for the issuance of a FOID card pursuant to section 10 of the FOID Act (430 ILCS 65/10 (West 2010)). In July 2011, the court granted plaintiff's petition and ordered the Department to issue plaintiff a FOID card. In August 2011, the Department issued plaintiff a FOID card that bore the following language: " WARNING: The individual shown on this card is prohibited from possession firearms or ammunition under Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 44 922 g [ sic ]." (Emphasis in original.)

[¶2] In May 2012, plaintiff filed a petition for writ of mandamus against the Department--specifically, Hiram Grau (director of the Department) and Michael W. Vorreyer (FOID enforcement manager of the Department)--seeking an order directing the Department to issue plaintiff a valid FOID card " without any qualifiers thereon prohibiting [its] full and lawful use." In August 2013, following a hearing, the trial court granted plaintiff's mandamus petition and ordered the Department to (1) issue plaintiff a FOID card without any qualifying language and (2) " report to the appropriate federal agency that [plaintiff's] rights have been restored to possess firearms and ammunition."

[¶3] The Department appeals, arguing only that the trial court erred by ordering it to report to the appropriate federal agency that plaintiff's right to possess firearms and ammunition had been restored. Although we affirm the court's judgment, we modify it and remand with directions that the court modify its order by directing the Department to report to federal authorities that plaintiff's rights to possess

Page 246

firearms and ammunition have been restored as a matter of Illinois law.

[¶4] I. BACKGROUND

[¶5] The following facts were gleaned from the parties' pleadings, exhibits, evidence presented at the hearings, and the trial court's orders.

[¶6] Upon his March 1999 conviction for misdemeanor domestic battery, plaintiff lost his right to possess a firearm under Illinois law (430 ILCS 65/8(l) (West 1998)) and federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) (1994)). In May 2011, plaintiff initiated proceedings under section 10 of the FOID Act, which at that time provided, in pertinent part, as follows:

" (a) Whenever an application for a [FOID] card is denied, *** the aggrieved party may petition the circuit court in writing in the county of his or her residence for a hearing upon such denial, revocation, or seizure.
(b) At least 30 days before any hearing in the circuit court, the petitioner shall serve the relevant State's Attorney with a copy of the petition. The State's Attorney may object to the petition and present evidence. At the hearing the court shall determine whether substantial justice has been done. Should the court determine that substantial justice has not been ...

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