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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Illinois Supreme Court set to hand down six rulings Friday

By Bethany Krajelis | Jan 21, 2014

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today it plans to issue opinions Friday in six cases, including one over an appeals panel's decision to throw out a downstate attorney's conviction for driving on a suspended license.

Four of the six cases listed on the court's anticipated opinion list are criminal in nature while one deals with a civil matter and the other focuses on a parental rights case.

They are: People v. David K. Elliott and In re S.L. from the Fifth District Court; People v. Billy McChriston and Gillespie Community Unit School District No. 7, etc., v. Wight & Company, etc. from the Fourth District; and People v. Christopher B. Bailey and People v. Peter Hommerson from the Second District.

The downstate attorney's case --People v. David K. Elliot --came to the high court after the state appealed the Fifth District Appellate Court ruling that reversed the lower court and vacated Elliot's conviction.

In November 2010, Elliott, a law student at the time who is now an attorney at Tomerlin Law Office in East Alton, was convicted of driving on a suspension license based on two traffic stops that occurred between August and October 2009.

The first stop resulted in a Jackson County notice of statutory summary suspension after Elliott refused to submit to testing for driving under the influence. The notice stated that his license would be suspended in 46 days.

Elliott’s attorney filed a petition for recession of statutory summary suspension under the state's Vehicle Code, which allows drivers to petition the court for a hearing to contest the suspension within 90 days of notice and requires the court to hold a hearing within 30 days of the petition or the first appearance date for the DUI citation.

Elliott’s suspension commenced on Oct. 11 and following two delays, the circuit court heard his petition on Oct 19, granted his request and ordered the recession of the suspension.

In the midst of those proceedings, Elliot was issued a citation in Perry County for driving on a suspended license stemming from a traffic stop that occurred after the Oct. 11 commencement of the suspension, but before the Oct. 19 hearing and order to rescind.

The trial court convicted Elliott of driving on a suspended license, a ruling the appellate court reversed in November 2012.

In its opinion, the panel noted that it was aware its decision appeared to conflict with decisions handed down in People v. Focia (1997) and People v. Ciechanowski (2008).

Elliott’s attorney, Edward Unsell, told the Madison-St. Clair Record in February that he assumed the conflict between appellate districts spurred the Supreme Court to accept the state’s appeal.

The other cases set to receive high court rulings Friday deal with:

  • the reversal of a circuit court ruling that found a minor child's mother to be an unfit parent (In re S.L.);

  • the denial of a defendant's petition for relief from a three-year term of mandatory supervised release (People v. McChriston);

  • a finding that a school district's fraud-based claims against an architect were time-barred (Gillespie Community Unit School District No. 7, etc. v. Wight & Company, etc.);

  • the dismissal of a defendant's motion to vacate his guilty plea and sentence for criminal sexual abuse (People v. Bailey); and

  • the dismissal of a defendant's pro se post-conviction petition alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel (People v. Hommerson).


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