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People v. Geiler

Supreme Court of Illinois

July 8, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Appellant,
v.
CHRISTOPHER M. GEILER, Appellee.

         Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fifth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. Review Elizabeth L. Levy, presiding.

          Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Thomas D. Gibbons, State's Attorney, of Edwardsville (Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, and Michael M. Glick and Joshua M. Schneider, Assistant Attorneys General, of Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

          Christopher M. Geiler, appellee pro se.

          JUSTICE KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Thomas, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Burke specially concurred, with opinion, joined by Chief Justice Garman and Justice Freeman.

          OPINION

          KILBRIDE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In this case, the circuit court of Madison County dismissed the defendant's traffic citation based on a violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 552 (eff. Sept. 30, 2002), requiring the arresting officer to transmit specified portions of the citation to the circuit court clerk within 48 hours after the arrest. The appellate court affirmed, holding that when, as here, there is a pattern of a clear and consistent violation of Rule 552, the trial court may dismiss a citation without considering whether the defendant was prejudiced by the violation. 2015 IL App (5th) 140423. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgments of the circuit and appellate courts and remand to the circuit court for further proceedings.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On May 5, 2014, defendant Christopher M. Geiler received a traffic citation from a city of Troy police officer for driving 80 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour speed zone. The citation was filed with the Madison County circuit court clerk's office on May 9, 2014. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the citation, claiming it was not transmitted to the circuit court clerk within 48 hours after it was issued, as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 552 (eff. Sept. 30, 2002).

         ¶ 4 At the motion hearing, the trial court noted that defendant submitted "a stack of tickets" issued by the city of Troy. The report of proceedings indicates those tickets were marked as defendant's Exhibit A and admitted into evidence, but the exhibit was not included with the record on appeal. The State described the exhibit in its subsequent motion to reconsider, stating "of the (50) tickets that Defendant submitted into evidence, almost half of them were filed within the 48 hours."

         ¶ 5 The State called city of Troy police detective Todd Hays, who testified that after a citation is issued, it is placed in a secure box in the dispatch office. On Mondays and Fridays, a supervisor would remove the citations from the box, review and record them on bond sheets, and deliver them to the Madison County courthouse. Hays estimated there were between 30 and 50 citations filed each Monday and Friday. He testified it was not "physically possible" to transport the citations to the courthouse every day.

         ¶ 6 When asked by defendant if he was familiar with Rule 552, Detective Hays responded, "I am now." He testified the rule "states that the tickets should be up within 48 hours." Detective Hays did not read the rule as "a mandate, " but a "decision that if you can get them up in 48 hours, if possible, that's the way it should be." Detective Hays testified that citations issued over the weekend were delivered to the circuit court clerk on Monday and the ones issued during the week were delivered on Friday. He acknowledged that citations issued on Tuesday would not be filed with the circuit court clerk until Friday.

         ¶ 7 The trial court determined that the evidence showed "a clear and consistent violation of Rule 552 and not an inadvertent action." Accordingly, dismissal of the traffic citation was warranted based on Rule 552 and People v. Hanna, 185 Ill.App.3d 404 (1989). The trial court also denied the State's motion to reconsider.

         ¶ 8 On appeal, the appellate court explained that, under Hanna, dismissal of a citation is warranted if there is "a pattern of clear and consistent violation of Rule 552." 2015 IL App (5th) 140423, ¶ 11. If a clear and consistent pattern is present, the court may dismiss a citation without considering whether the violation prejudiced the defendant or impaired the circuit court's management of its docket. 2015 IL App (5th) 140423, ¶ 13. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not err in dismissing the citation in this case based on a clear and consistent violation of Rule 552. 2015 IL App (5th) 140423, ¶ 14. The trial court's judgment was, therefore, affirmed. 2015 IL App (5th) 140423, ¶ 16.

         ¶ 9 We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. ...


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