Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed December 30, 2011


People v. Kladis, 2011 IL 110920

Appellate citation: 403 Ill. App. 3d 99.

      JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

      On May 3, 2008, this defendant was stopped by a Northlake policeman for drunken driving and refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test. The officer at the scene notified her that, pursuant to the Illinois Vehicle Code, her driver’s license would be summarily suspended. She was arrested, charged with misdemeanor DUI, and, later, with speeding and driving an uninsured vehicle.

      In the Cook County civil proceeding concerning her license, she sought production of the videorecording which had been made by a camera located in the officer’s squad car. The State agreed to this, but, by the time of the first trial date, the Northlake police department had destroyed the tape pursuant to its own rules for automatic expungement after 30 days.

      The circuit court judge found no bad faith on the part of the State but did find a discovery violation and ruled that, as a sanction, the officer could not testify as to what was on the tape (activities during the actual stop). At the presentation of evidence in the civil proceeding on the petition to rescind, the State presented no witnesses and did call the officer to testify as to events not covered by the tape which he did observe. The motion to rescind was granted.

      In the criminal case, the same type of discovery sanction was imposed, and the State appealed, claiming its prosecution of the matter was substantially impaired. The appellate court upheld the sanctions imposed below.

      In this decision, the supreme court affirmed the appellate court, agreeing that the circuit court’s sanctioning order was not an abuse of discretion. The supreme court did not agree with the State’s argument that a 1974 decision (People v. Schmidt, 56 Ill. 2d 572) should limit the discovery sanctions imposed in misdemeanor cases to the narrow list referred to in that case. Recording devices carried by police cars are now widespread, and have gone beyond the usages of 1974. The court held here that videorecordings from squad-car mounted cameras are discoverable in misdemeanor DUI cases. The court also noted that the sanctions did not preclude the officer from testifying as to what he observed that was not recorded on the tape, although, in the civil proceeding, the State had not called him to do so. Thus, the State had declined opportunities to present evidence apart from what was barred by the sanction.

      The appellate court’s judgment was affirmed.