Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed September 22, 2011

People v. Jackson, 2011 IL 110615

Appellate citations:

Jackson, No. 1-08-3464 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)

Lee, No. 1-09-0347 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).


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

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

      Justice Theis took no part in the decision.


      These two Cook County defendants were separately convicted in unrelated cases for possessing less than 15 grams of a controlled substance. Jackson was sentenced to five years of imprisonment and Lee received a four-year term. The various fees, costs and fines imposed on each defendant included a $10 medical cost assessment for the “Arrestee’s Medical Costs Fund,” pursuant to section 17 of the County Jail Act. This statute was amended effective subsequent to the offenses, but prior to sentencing.

      Each offender challenged the $10 charge by arguing on direct appeal that he had not received any medical treatment or services while in custody after arrest. In 2010, the assessments were upheld in each case by the appellate court, and the supreme court allowed leave to appeal. The State argued in response to the defendants’ claims that the statutory “medical costs assessment” functions as a health insurance fund which benefits all prisoners regardless of whether they actually receive medical services. In this decision, the supreme court agreed with the State on this, noting that the legislature, in working on the creation of the medical fund in 1996, did not provide an exception for defendants who do not receive medical care. The court stated that the fund, in serving as a medical insurance policy, benefits those who are in custody even if they do not require medical aid.

      In support of his claim, Jackson argued concerning the fact that the preamended statute used the term “arrestee” in the singular, while the amended statute deletes references to the use of the singular. The supreme court held in this decision that the legislature intended merely a clarification rather than a substantive change. Both versions make the same provision as to imposition of the medical fee, which the supreme court upheld here as to Jackson.

      Lee had argued in the appellate court that the amended statute applied to him, and the supreme court granted leave to appeal. Having held here that the fee is proper and that both versions provide for it, the court dismissed Lee’s appeal as improvidently granted.