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Supreme Court Quick Takes


Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the criminal case People v. Casas.

People v. Casas

In 1996, Fernando Casas, Jr., posted bond in a drug case and was released from custody. He regularly appeared at scheduled court dates until June 1998. His bond was forfeited and a bench warrant was issued.  Casas was ultimately tried in absentia and a 20-year prison sentence was imposed.

In April 2014, a traffic stop revealed Casas’s outstanding warrant. Casas was taken into custody and began serving the 20-year sentence.  Then, in December 2014, Casas was indicted for violating his bail bond. Casas moved to dismiss on the basis that the general three-year statute of limitations had expired in 2001 and the state had not alleged any facts to toll or extend the limitations period. The state then filed an amended information alleging that the bond violation was a continuing offense and the limitations period did not begin to run until Casas’s April 2014 arrest.

The circuit court dismissed, relying on People v. Grogan, 197 Ill. App. 3d 18 (1st Dist. 1990), which held that violation of bail bond is not a continuing offense. The state appealed, and the appellate court agreed with the state's assertion that Grogan was wrongly decided and concluded that it should no longer be followed.


Leading appellate attorneys review Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Thursday, Nov. 30. The cases are People v. ColePeople v. RelerfordPeople v. Hunter, People v. Brown, People v. Staake, In re Marriage of GoeselCorbett v. The County of Lake, Citibank, N.A. v. The Illinois Department of Revenue, Lawler v. The University of Chicago Medical Center, Ramsey Herndon LLC v. Whiteside, and In re Benny M.

People v. Cole

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to conflict-free counsel. Representation of multiple defendants by a single attorney does not represent a per se violation of the constitutional guarantee of the effective assistance of counsel. Within a law firm, multiple lawyers may not represent multiple clients if such representation would be a conflict for any lawyer who practiced alone, per Rule 1.10 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010. Such potential conflicts of interest are common for Public Defenders, which were held to not be a firm in People v. Robinson, 79 Ill.2d 147 (1979).


Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the criminal case In re Jarquan B.

In re Jarquan B

In January 2015, the state filed a delinquency petition alleging that Jarquan B. committed the Class A misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. The minor pled guilty and was sentenced to court supervision and a 30-day detention term that was stayed. Jarquan B. was advised that if he violated the terms of his supervision, he could be placed on probation or taking into custody on the stayed detention term. Due to subsequent violations, the minor was placed on electronic home monitoring and then ordered to serve time in juvenile detention.

In September 2015, the state filed a petition alleging Jarquan B. had again violated the terms of his supervision on multiple occasions after release from detention. The minor admitted the violations and was resentenced to six months of probation. He was admonished that if he violated probation, he could be sentenced to a term of detention. Almost immediately (i.e., on his way back to his residential placement facility), the minor fled from staff thereby violating his probation. Following his admission to the probation violation, the minor was resentenced to a term in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in April 2016.


Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Thursday, October 19. The cases are People v. Reese, In re Destiny P., and Rozsavolgyi v. The City of Aurora.

People v. Reese

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In People v. Reese, 2017 IL 120011, the Illinois Supreme Court considered several issues, the most prominent of which was whether the offense of aggravated vehicular hijacking requires proof that the defendant took actual physical possession of a vehicle from the driver. In a 6-1 decision, the court held that the “offense encompasses taking actual possession of a vehicle but may also be committed when a defendant exercises control of the vehicle by use of force or threat of force with the victim still present.”

Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the criminal case People v. Bailey.

People v. Bailey

In 2005, Dennis Bailey was convicted of residential burglary and disarming a peace officer. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal and post-conviction petition, Bailey sought leave to file a successive post-conviction petition. The State filed a written objection, and Bailey field a written response.

The court held a hearing on the motion for leave to file; Bailey was not present and was not represented by counsel. At that hearing, the prosecutor argued that the pleadings did not satisfy the cause-and-prejudice test for filing a successive petition. The court acknowledged Bailey’s written response and denied leave to file.

Bailey challenged the State’s participation at the motion-for-leave-to-file stage of the proceedings, noting that the Post-Conviction Hearing Act does not expressly allow the State to file a responsive pleading or provide input on the court’s decision. The State argued that the Act is considered civil in nature, and parties are generally permitted to respond to motions for leave to file.


Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Thursday, September 21. The cases are People v. PetersonPeople v. Gray, People v. Holman, People ex rel. Madigan v. Wildermuth, In re Linda B., Cochran v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., Illinois Landowners Alliance, NFP v. Illinois Commerce Commission, Aspen American Insurance Company v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc., and Manago v. County of Cook.

People v. Peterson

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In 2004, Drew Peterson’s ex-wife, Kathleen, was found dead in her bathtub.

Her death was initially ruled accidental. In 2007, after Peterson’s then-wife Stacy disappeared, Kathleen’s body was exhumed and two additional autopsies were conducted. Both concluded that the manner of death was homicide. Peterson was charged with Kathleen’s murder in 2009, and was convicted in a 2012 jury trial.


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, August 3. 

Round v. Lamb

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Petitioner Danny Round brought a complaint for habeas corpus, or, in the alternative, for an order of mandamus. Round’s present incarceration is the result of his serving his mandatory supervised release (MSR) term in custody because an acceptable electronic monitoring host site could not be identified. In the instant proceeding, Round sought immediate release, arguing that the sentencing order in his case did not include the 4-year MSR term on which he is presently being held; that even if that 4-year MSR term applies, it started to run when he completed his term of imprisonment on the count with which it is associated and not when he completed a longer, concurrent term of imprisonment; and that his sentence should have been amended to be no more than seven years total. because that was the maximum term he expected at the time of his plea.

It would be difficult to provide a more clear and succinct summary of the court’s analysis of each of Round’s contentions than that provided by Justice Garman, writing for the Court, at the conclusion of the opinion (¶¶ 28-30):


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, July 20.

People v. Holmes

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Prior to the Illinois Supreme Court’s issuing its decision in Aguilar, David Holmes was arrested at a Chicago beach when officers observed a revolver sticking out of his waistband. After his arrest, the police learned that he did not have a FOID card. He was charged with two counts of AUUW for carrying an uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible firearm and two counts of AUUW for carrying a firearm without a valid FOID card.

Those first two counts were nolle prossed by the state after Aguilar was decided. Prosecution of the no-FOID counts continued.

Holmes filed a motion to suppress arguing that the police lacked probable cause to believe he was committing a crime because the AUUW statute upon which his arrest was based was later held unconstitutional and thus was void ab initio (or, as if it had never existed). Holmes further argued that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply where the police were enforcing an unconstitutional statute. The trial court allowed the motion to suppress, noting that it was “unfortunate” because the officer’s actions were not improper at the time. The appellate court affirmed, concluding that the void ab initio doctrine precluded application of the good faith exception.


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Ringland, handed down Thursday, June 29. 

People v. Ringland

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In these consolidated cases, the defendants were subjected to traffic stops on I-80 in LaSalle County, with each stop resulting in the discovery of a controlled substance. Those stops were initiated by a team of special investigators appointed by then LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne pursuant to Section 3-9005(b) of the Counties Code allowing State’s Attorneys to appoint special investigators. Towne named the team the State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit (or SAFE). The specific purpose of SAFE was to act as a drug interdiction team on I-80.

The defendants filed motions to suppress, challenging the investigators’ authority to conduct traffic stops, as well as the adequacy of the procedure by which they were appointed. The circuit court granted the motions on the basis that statutory procedural requirements for appointment of special investigators had not been met. The appellate court affirmed but on the basis that the investigators lacked authority under Section 3-9005 (b) to conduct the traffic stops in question. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court.

Section 3-9005(b) provides that the state’s attorney has the authority to appoint special investigators to: (1) serve subpoenas, (2) make return of process, and (3) conduct investigations which assist the state’s attorney in the performance of his or her duties. The supreme court agreed with the appellate court’s observation that this is an exclusive list.


Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Thursday, June 15. The cases are People v. Alexander and People v. Nelson

People v. Alexander

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In 2011, the Occupy Chicago movement demonstrated in Chicago’s financial district. About three weeks into the protest, the demonstrators were directed to an area known as Congress Plaza in Grant Park, but were then told they would have to leave at 11:00 p.m., pursuant to an ordinance that closes the park overnight, so that park employees could clean and maintain the park, and for safety concerns. Protesters who remained in the park at 1:00 a.m. were arrested for refusing to leave the park.

The circuit court dismissed the charges, finding that the ordinance was unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the defendants, in part because the Chicago Police Department occasionally permitted after-hours assemblage, including President Obama’s election night rally in 2008.

The appellate court, First District, reversed, holding that the ordinance did not violate the defendants’ right to assemble under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Illinois Supreme Court entered a supervisory order, which directed the appellate court to consider whether the Park District Ordinance violated the Illinois Constitution. The appellate court again reversed the circuit court’s judgment.