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Illinois Supreme Court

In a recent ruling that inspired a strongly worded dissent, the Illinois Supreme Court held that police did not violate a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights by searching a small piece of luggage by his side after he was arrested and handcuffed on a civil warrant for failure to pay child support. Find out what search-and-seizure scholars say about the ruling in the April Illinois Bar Journal.

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee will seek comment at a public hearing Friday, April 4 in Chicago on a proposed change to address the scope of electronically stored information, limitations on its use, production, and how such information is managed.

Proposal 14-01 is presented in the form of amendments to Supreme Court Rules 201, 204, 214, 216, 218 and 219. A copy of this and other proposals are available on the Supreme Court website at:

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have given approval to a comprehensive analysis of the Cook County pretrial services program, statutorily established to provide guidance to judges setting bond for felony and misdemeanor defendants.

The report identifies systemic shortcomings in areas of echnology, automation, leadership, and management. It said the pretrial services operation also lacks the authenticity of verified reports on defendants. As a result, the program has fallen into disuse by judges, prosecutors, public defenders and the sheriff's office in setting bond or determining eligibility for electronic monitoring devices.

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced changes to Supreme Court Rules 361, 381, and 383 dealing with where attorneys or parties file motions with the Court.

If a case arises out of the Second, Third, Fourth, or Fifth Judicial Districts and is a motion to be heard by the full Court, an original and eight copies shall be filed with the Clerk's office in Springfield. If the mo-tion may be heard by a single Justice, an original and one copy shall be filed with the Clerk's office in Springfield, directed to the Justice from the Judicial District where the case originated. Responses to mo-tions shall be filed within the allowed time frames in the same manner along with the requisite copies.

In cases arising out of the First Judicial District (Cook County), motions for a single Justice will continue to be filed, along with one copy, in the Clerk's satellite office in Chicago. If the motion in a case from the First District is a matter for the full Court, the changes require an original and eight copies to be filed with the Clerk's Chicago office. Responses to motions shall be filed within the allowed timeframes in the same manner along with the requisite copies.

This applies whether motions and responses are filed electronically or not.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court civil opinions in the civil cases BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Mitchell, In re Marriage of Tiballi, Spanish Court Two Condominium Association v. Carlson and Home Star Bank and Financial Services, etc. v. Emergency Care and Health Organization, Ltd.

BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Mitchell  (PDF)

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

In the context of a motion attacking foreclosure proceedings for lack of proper service filed after confirmation of the report of sale, BAC Home Loans Servicing v. Mitchell “reaffirms the longstanding rule that ‘a party who submits to the court’s jurisdiction does so only prospectively and the appearance does not retroactively validate orders entered prior to that date.’”  The court resolved a conflict among appellate panels on the issue of whether a waiver of personal jurisdiction operated prospectively only, or whether it served to retroactively validate previous orders of the court entered without personal jurisdiction. 

The source of the controversy is the amendment of section 2-301 in 2000 which both eliminated the need for a special appearance and specified the manner of objecting to a court’s jurisdiction.  The court held that in context the amendment was ambiguous, and should therefore not be interpreted to contradict In re Marriage of Verdung, 126 Ill.2d 542 (1989), which applied the prospectively-only rule. 

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the criminal cases People v. Clark, People v. Melongo, People v. Fernandez, People v. Easley, People v. Davis and People v. Cummings. In People v. Clark and People v. Melongo the Court unanimously held that the current eavesdropping statute is unconstitutional.

People v. Clark and People v. Melongo

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 14, 2014, during the March Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.


  • Jason Scott Landgraf, Chicago

Mr. Landgraf, who was licensed in 1994, was disbarred on consent following his guilty plea in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on charges of bank fraud.


  • Reema Nicki Bajaj, South Elgin

Ms. Bajaj, who was licensed in 2010, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. She was convicted of a class A misdemeanor charge of prostitution. In addition, she made material misrepresentations to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar in her bar application and later failed to be candid to the ARDC during the course of the disciplinary investigation.

Hon. S. Gene Schwarm
Hon. S. Gene Schwarm
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday the appointment of Chief Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm to the Appellate Court in the Fifth Judicial District. Chief Judge Schwarm will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Appellate Justice James M. Wexstten, effective January 29, 2014.

The appointment is effective April 1, 2014 and will expire December 5, 2016, when the position will be filled by the winner of the 2016 General Election

“I am honored to be selected to fill the vacancy in the Fifth District Appellate Court," Chief Judge Schwarm said. "My humble thanks go to Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Supreme Court for giving me this opportunity.

"I am especially pleased to follow retiring Justice Jim Wexstten, an outstanding jurist and colleague."

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the creation of a Civil Justice Division within the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC), charged with supporting the Court’s multi-dimensional initiatives to improve access to justice throughout the state. In addition, Chief Justice Rita B. Garman has named Timothy W. Kelly of Bloomington as the next chairman of the Access to Justice Commission.

In 2012, the Court established an Access to Justice Commission to “promote, facilitate, and enhance equal access to justice with an emphasis on access to the Illinois civil courts and administrative agencies for all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.”

The Commission, made up of dedicated volunteers, has made great strides in improving access for non-native English speakers and in standardizing various forms and procedures, making them more user-friendly for pro se litigants.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Bartlow v. Costigan and Evanston Insurance Company v. Riseborough and the criminal cases People v. Cregan and People v. Tousignant.


Bartlow v. Costigan

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

The Employee Classification Act (820 ILCS 185/1) was enacted to “address the practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors” in the construction industry.  The Act broadly defines “performing services” for a construction contractor, and then states that an individual performing such services is “deemed to be an employee of the employer.”