Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Chatman

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

September 30, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CARL CHATMAN, Defendant-Appellee Susan Riggio, Petitioner-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 02 CR 14572 The Honorable Timothy Joyce, Judge, presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Lampkin specially concurred, with opinion.

          OPINION

          GORDON, PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 This appeal raises a purely legal question: does the complainant in a criminal case have standing to bring a petition, pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2014)), [1] for the purpose of challenging a court's prior grant of a certificate of innocence to a criminal defendant?

         ¶ 2 In the case at bar, petitioner Susan Riggio filed a section 2-1401 petition on December 29, 2014, seeking to vacate a trial court's order, entered on November 19, 2013. The order granted a certificate of innocence to defendant Carl Chatman, who was petitioner's alleged assailant. On July 20, 2015, the trial court granted the State and defendant's motions to dismiss her petition for lack of standing, and she appealed.

         ¶ 3 Petitioner argues that she has standing pursuant to the Illinois Constitution and various Illinois statutes[2] which provide rights to crime victims. However, as we explain below, she does not satisfy the definition of the term "[c]rime victim, " provided by our legislature and quoted in her brief. Pub. Act 99-413 (eff. Aug. 20, 2015) (amending 725 ILCS 120/3(a) (West 2014)). In addition, as the State observes, the legislature has authorized only the State's Attorney and the Attorney General to intervene in the civil proceeding for a certificate of innocence. 735 ILCS 5/2-702(e) (West 2012) (expressly providing only the Attorney General and the State's Attorney with "the right to intervene as parties").

         ¶ 4 We are mindful that our decision today might not leave petitioner with a level playing field in a contemporaneous federal civil action, which was filed by defendant against petitioner and various state entities and officials for damages in connection with his prior conviction and incarceration. At oral argument on this matter, defendant's attorney forthrightly admitted that defendant is seeking to admit his Illinois certificate of innocence as evidence of his innocence, and therefore evidence of petitioner's alleged lies, in that federal action. However, pure speculation about what may or may not be admitted in a federal action does not change the laws governing standing in a state court. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         ¶ 5 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 Petitioner appeals, stating that this appeal presents a pure question of law, and we agree. Thus, we present here only the few procedural facts needed to understand the legal question at hand.

         ¶ 7 In September 2013, the State moved to vacate defendant's 2004 rape conviction and sentence in People v. Chatman, No. 02 CR 14572 (Cir. Ct. Cook Co.), a case in which petitioner had been the complainant. In its motion, the State asked "that the matter be reinstated and redocketed, " so that it could "move to vacate the conviction and sentence and move to nolle pros the conviction" and "request that the defendant, Carl Chatman, be released immediately from the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections."

         ¶ 8 Petitioner concedes that she received prior notice of the State's decision to move to vacate defendant's conviction and sentence.[3] Although the State's attorney had a duty to notify her by first-class mail, [4] and petitioner was notified by telephone instead, petitioner does not challenge the method of notice here.

         ¶ 9 On September 10, 2013, the trial court issued a written order granting the State's motion, which stated in full:

"It is Hereby Ordered that pursuant to the State's motion to reinstate the matter, the conviction and sentence in the above-captioned matter are vacated and it is further ordered that Carl Chatman, Inmate Number ***, be released immediately from the Illinois Department of Corrections."

         The appellate record does not contain a transcript or bystander's report for these proceedings, and petitioner does not seek to challenge the order vacating defendant's conviction and releasing defendant.[5]

         ¶ 10 On October 25, 2013, defendant moved pursuant to section 2-702 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-702 (West 2012)) for a certificate of innocence. The State did not oppose it and, on November 19, 2013, the trial court granted it. It is this order that petitioner seeks to challenge in her section 2-1401 petition. She claims that she was not notified of defendant's motion, and neither defendant nor the State claims that she was.

         ¶ 11 On December 29, 2014, petitioner filed her section 2-1401 petition seeking to vacate the certificate of innocence granted to defendant 14 months earlier. The caption of her petition stated: ""The People of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff, v. Carl Chatman, Defendant. No. 02 CR 14572." Attached as an exhibit to the petition was a complaint filed on April 24, 2014, by defendant against the City of Chicago and 21 other named entities and individuals, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012).[6] The last of the 21 named entities and individuals was petitioner. The complaint alleged that defendant spent 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In addition to the section 1983 claims, the complaint also included state law claims for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and defamation. The defamation count specifically named petitioner.

         ¶ 12 On March 4, 2015, the State filed a response to the section 2-1401 petition in which it observed that defendant had already filed a "motion to strike" the section 2-1401 petition on the ground that petitioner lacked the standing to bring it, and the State adopted and joined defendant's motion.[7]However, defendant's motion is not in the appellate record.[8] It is this missing motion which is the subject of this appeal.[9]

         ¶ 13 On July 20, 2015, the trial court granted the State's and defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground that petitioner lacked standing. The trial court found that "[n]o notice of the petition for the certificate of innocence was given to [petitioner], " but concluded that petitioner was not entitled to notice. Petitioner had argued that she was entitled to notice pursuant to both the Illinois Constitution and various statutes[10] which provide rights to crime victims. In response, the trial court observed in its written order:

"First, how is it established that one is, or is not, a 'victim'?[11] Obviously, Riggio claims that she is and always has been. Curiously, the State once believed and alleged that Riggio was, and now they claim that she is not, or at least that she may not be, as evidenced by their motion to vacate Chatman's conviction, and seek his immediate release. Chatman presumably has always believed that she was not.
Thus, whether [she is] afford[ed] standing in connection with this proceeding would presumably require some type of hearing to determine whether she is a 'victim.' That, however, is putting the cart before the horse, if she is then determined to be a 'victim, ' then Chatman would resultantly be determined to be guilty of having victimized her, and thus not entitled to a certificate of innocence. Standing would thus be conferrable only to those who can 'prove' (in some manner not set out by the Constitution or any statute) that they are entitled to the relief they seek.
This is circuitous. The concept of standing relates to the ability to make a claim. Standing is not synonymous with having a successful claim; it is having the ability conferred by our Constitution and the laws of this State to make the claim, whether or not it is thereafter succeeded upon."

         ¶ 14 The trial court then observed that the law "affords no relief for any claimed violation" of its provisions for crime victims, and that this was "consistent with the well-established precepts regarding responsibility of the maintenance of criminal prosecutions in this State" by the State's Attorney or the Attorney General, but not by individual members of the public. The trial court concluded that petitioner was without standing to maintain her section 2-1401 action.[12]

         ¶ 15 Petitioner filed a notice of appeal on August 17, 2015, stating: "This is an appeal from an order granting the motions of [defendant] Carl Chatman and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to dismiss Susan Riggio's petition pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1401, holding that appellant, Susan Riggio, does not have standing to challenge the Court's grant of a Certificate of Innocence to Carl Chatman pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-702, et seq." This appeal followed.

         ¶ 16 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 17 In the case at bar, petitioner filed a section 2-1401 petition seeking to vacate a trial court's prior order, which had granted a certificate of innocence to petitioner's alleged assailant in a criminal case. The trial court granted the State and defendant's motion to dismiss her petition for lack of standing and, for the following reasons, we affirm.

         ¶ 18 I. Section 2-1401

         ¶ 19 Petitioner filed her petition pursuant to section 2-1401. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2014).

         ¶ 20 "Section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure [citation] establishes a comprehensive procedure by which final orders and judgment may be vacated or modified more than 30 days after their entry." Paul v. Gerald Adelman & Associates, Ltd, 223 Ill.2d 85, 94 (2006). It provides, in relevant part, that: "Relief from *** orders and judgments, after 30 days from the entry thereof, may be had upon petition as provided in this Section." 735 ILCS 5/2-1401(a) (West 2014). "The petition must be filed in the same proceedings in which the order or judgment was entered but is not a continuation thereof. The petition must be supported by affidavit or other appropriate showing as to matters not of record. All parties to the petition shall be notified as provided by rule." 735 ILCS 5/2-1401(b) (West 2014). "[T]he petition must be filed not later than 2 years after the entry of the order of judgment." 735 ILCS 5/2-1401(c) (West 2014).

         ¶ 21 "[A] section 2-1401 petition is ordinarily used to bring facts to the attention of the trial court which, if known at the time of judgment, would have precluded its entry, " and it also may "be used to challenge a purportedly defective judgment for legal reasons." Paul, 223 Ill.2d at 94.

         ¶ 22 II. Standard of Review

         ¶ 23 Where the success of a section 2-1401 petition is dependent entirely on the interpretation of a rule or statute, that legal issue will be reviewed de novo. Paul, 223 Ill.2d at 98. In the case at bar, we are faced with an entirely legal question, namely, which statutory section governs the issue of standing and whether the appropriate section permits petitioner to have standing. Thus, de novo review applies.

         ¶ 24 In addition, when a trial court enters judgment on the pleadings alone or grants a motion to dismiss a section 2-1401 petition due to a failure to state a cause of action or due to a legal insufficiency, we apply a de novo standard of review. People v. Vincent, 226 Ill.2d 1, 13-18. (2007). Thus, de novo review also applies for this reason.

         ¶ 25 "A de novo review entails performing the same analysis a trial court would perform. That is, we accept all well-pleaded facts in the [petition] as true while disregarding legal or factual conclusions unsupported by allegations of fact. [Citation.] From the well-pleaded facts, we draw inferences in the [petitioner's] favor whenever it would be reasonably defensible to do so. [Citation.]" Khan v. BDO Seidman, LLP, 408 Ill.App.3d 564, 578 (2011).

         ¶ 26 III. Standing

         ¶ 27 The issue before us is whether petitioner has standing. "Under Illinois law, lack of standing is an affirmative defense. A plaintiff need not allege facts establishing that he [or she] has standing to proceed. Rather, it is the defendant's burden to plead and prove lack of standing." Wexler v. Wirtz Corp., 211 Ill.2d 18, 22 (2004). "Where a plaintiff has no standing, the proceedings must be dismissed *** because lack of standing negates a plaintiff's cause of action." Wexler, 211 Ill.2d at 22. The issue of a plaintiff's standing presents a question of law, which we also review de novo. Wexler, 211 Ill.2d at 23.

         ¶ 28 IV. Statutory Interpretation

         ¶ 29 On this appeal, petitioner claims that article I, section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §8.1) and section 2-408 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-408 (West 2012)) govern the standing issue, while the State and defendant argue that section 2-702 of the Code applies. 735 ILCS 5/2-702(e) (West 2012) (describing who "shall have the right to intervene as parties" with a petition for certificate of innocence). We must interpret these sections to ascertain whether any of these sections permit petitioner to have standing.

         ¶ 30 With both constitutional and statutory interpretation, our primary goal is to ascertain the drafters' intent, and the best indication of their intent is the plain language of their words. MD Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Abrams, 228 Ill.2d 281, 287 (2008). However, when interpreting a constitution or statute, we do not read a portion of it in isolation; instead, we read it in its entirety, keeping in mind the subject it addresses and the drafters' apparent objective in enacting it. MD Electrical Contractors, 228 Ill.2d at 287.

         ¶ 31 V. Section 2-702

         ¶ 32 The State and defendant argue that section 2-702 takes precedence in our determination of standing.

         ¶ 33 Section 2-702 permits a criminal defendant to move the court for a certificate of innocence if: (1) his or her conviction was reversed or vacated, and the indictment or information was dismissed; or (2) a new trial was ordered and either (a) he or she was found not guilty at the new trial or (b) no retrial was held and the indictment or information was dismissed; or (3) the statute upon which the indictment or information was based was declared unconstitutional. 735 ILCS 5/2-702(c)(2) (West 2012).

         ¶ 34 Section 2-702 requires the criminal defendant to serve only the Attorney General and the State's Attorney. Section 2-702(e) provides: "A copy of the petition shall be served on the Attorney General and the State's Attorney of the county where the conviction was had. The Attorney General and the State's Attorney of the county where the conviction was had shall have the right to intervene as parties." (Emphasis added.) 735 ILCS 5/2-702(e) (West 2012).[13]"Under the maxim of expressio unius est exclusio alterious, the enumeration of an exception in a statute is considered to be an exclusion of all other exceptions." Schultz v. Performance Lighting, Inc., 2013 IL 115738, ¶ 17 (citing People ex rel. Sherman v. Cryns, 203 Ill.2d 264, 286 (2003)). This rule is based on " 'logic and common sense, ' " as it is " 'common experience' " that " 'when people say one thing' " they do not intend another. (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Schultz, 2013 IL 113776, ¶ 17 (quoting Cryns, 203 Ill.2d at 286). "When a statute lists the things to which it refers, there is an inference that all omissions should be understood as exclusions, despite the lack of any negative words of limitation." In re C.C., 2011 IL 111795, ΒΆ 34. Thus, this section provides only the Attorney General and the State's Attorney ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.