United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MICHAEL PLATT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
DOROTHY BROWN, as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, and MARIA PAPPAS, as Treasurer of the Cook County Treasurer's Office, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee, Judge
Michael Platt, individually and on behalf of a putative
class, has sued Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Dorothy Brown and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas in their
official capacities. Platt alleges that Defendants have
violated his due process and equal protection rights as
guaranteed under the United States and Illinois Constitutions
by collecting a bail bond fee equivalent to 1% of the bail
amount. He also asserts that this practice violates the
uniformity clause of the Illinois Constitution and
constitutes unjust enrichment under Illinois common law.
Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons
given below, the Court grants Defendants' motion to
criminal defendant arrested in Cook County, for whom bail is
set, may secure his or her pretrial release by depositing 10%
of the full bail amount with the Clerk's Office. Compl.
¶ 19. Prior to January 1, 2016, once the defendant's
criminal case had progressed to the point when bond was no
longer necessary, the Clerk's Office returned 90% of the
10% deposit to the criminal defendant, while retaining the
remaining 10% of the deposit as a bail bond fee. Id.
¶ 20; see 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/110-7(f). For
example, if a defendant's bail were set at $10, 000, he
would pay a $1, 000 deposit to secure his pretrial release.
At the end of the case, assuming that the defendant complied
with the conditions of the bond, he would receive back $900
from the Clerk's Office, and the Clerk's Office would
keep $100 of the deposit as a bail bond fee. Compl. ¶
29. Alternatively, a defendant could secure the full amount
of the bond using cash, stocks, bonds, or real estate, in
which case he would not be required to pay a deposit or fee
at all. See 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/110-8.
2014, Plaintiff Platt was arrested after a bar fight that
resulted in the death of another person. Compl. ¶ 34.
The Cook County State's Attorney Office charged Platt
with first-degree murder. Id. ¶ 35. A judge set
Platt's bail at $2 million, and Platt paid a deposit of
$200, 000 to secure his release pending trial. Id.
¶¶ 36, 38. After Platt was acquitted, the
Clerk's Office returned his deposit, less a $20, 000 bail
bond fee. Id. ¶ 42. According to the complaint,
the actual cost of processing a criminal defendant's bond
is “$100 or less.” Id. ¶ 44.
2015, the Illinois General Assembly proposed an amendment to
the bond statute that would cap bail bond fees in Cook County
at $100. Id. ¶ 49; see Compl., Ex. 1.
The Governor signed the amendment into law on August 20,
2015, and it became effective on January 1, 2016.
Id. ¶ 55. Platt brings an action on behalf of
all individuals who paid a bail bond fee of more than $100
for the five years prior to January 1, 2016. Id.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Furthermore, the
complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). Although the complaint does not have to
include “detailed factual allegations, ” it must
“include sufficient facts to state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); see Cole v.
Milwaukee Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court
“construe[s] the . . . [c]omplaint in the light most
favorable to Plaintiff, accepting as true all well-pleaded
facts and drawing all possible inferences in his
favor.” Cole, 634 F.3d at 903. “A copy
of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a
part of the pleading for all purposes.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
Motion to Dismiss Counts I and II: Due Process
Counts I and II, Platt alleges that a bail bond fee that
exceeds $100 violates the Due Process Clauses of the United
States and Illinois Constitutions. Specifically, Platt
contends that the collection of such a fee violates
substantive due process because the fee does not relate to
the cost of administering a bail bond (which Plaintiff
asserts is $100) and, therefore, its collection
“impedes the due administration of justice.”
Compl. ¶¶ 26, 67, 72. In addition, Platt asserts
that the collection of fees exceeding $100 violates
procedural due process because, on balance, the private
interest in receiving back the remaining ten-percent of the
deposit outweighs the state's interest in collecting such
fees, especially in light of what Platt characterizes as the
lack of procedural safeguards around imposition of the bail
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides:
“[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S.
Const. amend. XIV. “[T]he Due Process Clause specially
protects those fundamental rights and liberties which are,
objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation's history and
tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,
such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they
were sacrificed.” Washington v. Glucksberg,
521 US. 702, 720-21 (1997).
Supreme Court has cautioned against “expand[ing] the
concept of substantive due process because guideposts for
responsible decisionmaking in this unchartered area are
scarce and openended.” Id. at 720. Rights that
have been recognized as fundamental are limited to:
“the rights to marry, to have children, to direct the
education and upbringing of one's children, to ...