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Illinois Supreme Court

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursdays's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the Civil case Carney v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. and the criminal cases People v. Jones and People v. Minnis.

CIVIL

Carney v. Union Pacific R.R. Co.

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

In affirming the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant Union Pacific, and reversing the appellate court, which had decided this case with a Rule 23 Order, the supreme court significantly examined three sections of the Restatement (Second) of Torts which are frequently invoked in cases involving injuries during construction.  Justice Theis wrote for the court.  Justice Kilbride dissented.

The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is a multistate bar examination prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which has been adopted in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Administered over two days, the UBE consists of: (a) the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) - a 200- question multiple-choice test; (b) the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) - six essay questions on general principles of law; and (c) the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) - two hypothetical legal assignments requiring examinees to complete the tasks in writing. Persons who take the UBE receive a portable score, which, if high enough, will be accepted by any UBE jurisdiction as a passing score on its bar exam for a specific time period.

The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted a new rule and amended another to address the use of restraints on a minor in delinquency proceedings arising under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987.

The new rule and rule changes take effect November 1, 2016.

New Supreme Court Rule 943 (Use of Restraints on a Minor in Delinquency Proceedings Arising Under the Juvenile Court Act) provides that instruments of restraint shall not be used on a minor during a court proceeding unless the court finds, after a hearing, that such restraints are necessary to prevent physical harm to the minor or another, the minor has a history of disruptive behavior that presents a risk of harm, or there is a well-founded belief that the minor presents a substantial flight risk. Amendments were also adopted to Rule 941 to state that the rules in Article IX apply to all juvenile delinquency proceedings filed under Article V of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987.

Christopher Bonjean
Christopher Bonjean
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Christopher Bonjean as Director of the Office of Communications and Public Information, effective October 3, 2016. He will head a newly reorganized communications operation, which has been charged with developing strategies to inform and educate a diverse public about the judicial branch of state government and promote public confidence in the administration of justice.

Chief Justice Rita Garman explained that the impetus to expand and emphasize the public information function came, in part, from the results of a survey conducted in the spring of 2015. Under the leadership of Fourth District Appellate Justice Carol Pope, chairperson of the Court’s Strategic Planning Committee, the survey was carried out in every courthouse in the state. Questionnaires were distributed to all users of the court facility including parties, witnesses, jurors, and other visitors.

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 22, 2016, during the September Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Joel S. Alpert, Buffalo Grove

Mr. Alpert, who was licensed in 1987, was disbarred. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by agreeing to represent a client while still serving a two-year suspension for previous misconduct. He also fabricated court documents in order to mislead his client into believing that she was represented by a law firm not involved in the matter. 

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Civil opinions in Kakos v. Butler, Bayer v. Panduit Corp., Moon v. Rhode, and J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC v. Wild, Inc.

Kakos v. Butler

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

In Kakos v. Butler, the court unanimously affirmed Judge Gomolinski’s judgment in the circuit court that the 6-person jury regime established by Public Act 98-1132 is facially unconstitutional.  Chief Justice Garman wrote for the court.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Criminal opinions in People v. Hood, People v. Cherry, People v. Reyes, and People v. Valdez.

People v. Hood

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Terry Hood was charged with attempt murder, home invasion, and aggravated battery of a senior citizen against Robert Bishop, Jr.  Prior to trial, the State sought to take Bishop’s evidence deposition due to health concerns. Present at the deposition were Assistant State’s Attorneys and defendant’s attorneys; defendant did not attend.  Subsequently, the evidence deposition was admitted at defendant’s trial upon a finding that Bishop could not testify.

Chief Justice-Elect Lloyd A. Karmeier
Chief Justice-Elect Lloyd A. Karmeier
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier will be its next Chief Justice. Justice Karmeier was unanimously elected to the office by his fellow justices and will serve a three-year term commencing October 26, 2016. He succeeds Rita B. Garman, whose tenure as Chief Justice ends October 25, 2016. An installation ceremony honoring Justice Karmeier’s election as Chief Justice will be held at
the Supreme Court Building in Springfield on Monday, October 31. Justice Garman will
administer the oath of office.

Justice Karmeier will be this State’s 120th Chief Justice and the second person from Washington County to hold that office. Justice Byron O. House, for whom Justice Karmeier served as a law clerk, was the first.

“I appreciate the confidence shown by the other members of the court in electing me to this position,” said Justice Karmeier. “Since joining the court in 2004, I have had the privilege of serving under five different chief justices, all of whom have done an outstanding job. I will do my very best to live up to the high standard they have set.”

The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted six new rules to establish a regulatory framework for a new state law that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

Supreme Court Rules 585, 586, 587, 588, 589 and 590 were created in response to legislation the Illinois General Assembly approved this past spring and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law last month. Public Act 99-697 took effect July 29, 2016, and the new Supreme Court Rules take effect September 1, 2016.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman announced today the formation of a judicial screening committee for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

The screening committee was formed for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of those persons who have applied for appointment to the office of At-Large Judge of the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit created by the upcoming retirement of Judge Harry E. Clem on September 15, 2016. Under the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy will be filled by Supreme Court appointment.