THE PEOPLE ex rel. MATTHEW HARTRICH, State's Attorney of Crawford County, Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
2010 HARLEY-DAVIDSON, Defendant Petra Henderson, Claimant-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Crawford County. No. 14-MR-20
Honorable Christopher L. Weber, Judge, presiding.
Attorney for Appellant Jon C. Anderson, Attorney at Law,
Attorneys for Appellee Hon. Matthew Hartrich, State's
Attorney, Crawford County Courthouse, 105 Douglas Street,
Robinson, IL 62454; Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E.
Norris, Deputy Director, Patrick D. Daly, Staff Attorney,
Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor,
JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Stewart and Cates concurred in the judgment
Melissa A. Chapman, J. Justices.
1 This appeal involves the application of the excessive fines
clause of the eighth amendment in the context of our
State's civil forfeiture provisions. The claimant, Petra
Henderson, is the owner of a motorcycle valued at $35, 000.
Her husband, Mark Henderson, was arrested while driving the
motorcycle and charged with aggravated driving while
intoxicated and driving while his license was revoked. At the
time of Mark's arrest, Petra was a passenger on the
motorcycle. She appeals an order of the trial court finding
the motorcycle subject to forfeiture. At issue is (1) whether
the court correctly determined that Petra consented to
Mark's use of the motorcycle and (2) whether the
forfeiture violated the excessive fines clause. We conclude
that the evidence supports the court's finding that Mark
used the motorcycle with Petra's consent. However, we
find that the forfeiture violated the excessive fines clause,
and we reverse on that basis.
2 Petra Henderson is the sole owner of a 2010 Harley-Davidson
trike motorcycle. Her husband, Mark, does not have an
ownership interest in the motorcycle. On the evening of April
25, 2014, Mark suggested to Petra that they go for a ride on
the motorcycle. At the time, Mark's driver's license
had been revoked due to a previous conviction for driving
under the influence (DUI). Petra drove the motorcycle from
the couple's home in Robinson, Illinois, to a tavern in
Oblong, Illinois. She then drove to taverns in Lawrenceville
and Palestine. Eventually, Petra drove to the Corner Place,
which is located approximately 12 blocks from the
Hendersons' home in Robinson. Petra did not drink any
alcohol throughout the evening. Mark, however, had a lot to
drink and was intoxicated by the time he and Petra left the
Corner Place shortly after midnight.
3 Mark insisted on driving home from the Corner Place.
According to both Mark and Petra, he jumped onto the
motorcycle and told Petra that she could either ride home
with him or walk home. She rode home with him. During the
short drive home, Robinson police officer Dan Strauch
activated his lights and siren to pull them over. Instead of
stopping, Mark drove home and parked in the Hendersons'
driveway. A breath test indicated that Mark's blood
alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.161. Officer Strauch placed
Mark under arrest.
4 Mark was charged with aggravated DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)
(West 2014)) and driving while his license was suspended or
revoked (625 ILCS 5/6-303 (West 2014)). He subsequently pled
guilty to the charge of aggravated DUI, and the State
dismissed the charge of driving while license revoked.
5 The State subsequently filed a request for preliminary
review to determine probable cause for forfeiture, a verified
complaint for forfeiture, and an amended verified complaint
for forfeiture. The State alleged that the motorcycle was
used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the
offense of driving while license suspended or revoked and
that it was subject to forfeiture because the revocation was
due to a prior DUI conviction (625 ILCS 5/6-303(g) (West
2014)). In addition, the State alleged that the motorcycle
was used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the
offense of aggravated DUI during a time in which the
driver's license was revoked due to a prior DUI
conviction (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i) (West 2014)).
6 The matter came for a hearing on December 3, 2014. Officer
Dan Strauch testified that he was on patrol in Robinson
during the early morning hours of April 26, 2014. At
approximately 12:30 a.m., he heard a motorcycle revving its
engine in the parking lot of the Corner Place Tavern. He
described the sound of the motorcycle as a "racing
sound." He turned around and saw a black 2010
Harley-Davidson trike making a "very wide" right
turn onto Cherry Street. Officer Strauch testified that the
motorcycle then swerved, nearly hitting a telephone pole. At
this point, he followed the motorcycle and activated his
lights to initiate a stop. However, the motorcycle did not
stop, so Officer Strauch also activated his siren. He
testified that the motorcycle continued driving, weaving back
and forth, for approximately 12 blocks. It then turned left,
drove one more block, and pulled into a driveway.
7 Officer Strauch testified that Mark Henderson was driving
the motorcycle and his wife, Petra, was a passenger. The
officer further testified that Mark "had a strong odor
of alcohol, " poor balance, and slurred speech. Officer
Strauch arrested Mark for DUI and then spoke with Petra.
Petra indicated that she was aware both that Mark was
intoxicated and that his license had been revoked. She also
told Officer Strauch that she told Mark to stop but he did
not do so. Officer Strauch acknowledged that Petra did not
specifically tell him that she gave Mark permission to drive
8 After Officer Strauch testified, the State rested, and
Petra moved for a directed verdict. She pointed to the
officer's testimony that Petra told him "that she
asked [Mark] to stop, [and] that he didn't do so."
She argued that this testimony demonstrated that she did not
consent to Mark's use of the motorcycle. The State argued
in response that the testimony should be construed to mean
that Petra told Mark to stop "in response to the police
officer attempting to stop the vehicle." The court
denied the motion.
9 Mark testified next. He first described the events leading
up to his arrest. He testified that he called Petra at work
to ask if she wanted to go for a ride on the motorcycle.
Petra came home from work later than Mark, so Mark took the
motorcycle out of the garage before she arrived home. He then
put the key fob used to start the motorcycle in his pocket.
He explained that the motorcycle did not require the use of a
key to start; rather, it could be started if the key fob was
within 8 to 10 feet of the motorcycle. Mark testified that he
kept the fob in his pocket the entire evening. When asked
why, he explained, "You just don't think about it.
You put it in your pocket and go."
10 Mark was asked to describe the configuration of the seats
on the motorcycle. He responded, "It's a two-seater,
front and back, and with a trike, the passenger gets on first
for comfortability [sic] of the driver getting on.
If the driver would get on first, he would have to ...