Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed February 7, 2013





People v. Jackson, 2013 IL 113986

Direct appeal from the circuit court of Clinton County.


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

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


      In 2011, the State’s Attorney of Clinton County filed an information alleging that this defendant had committed, on July 9, 2010, the Class 4 felony of driving on a suspended license. His license had been suspended in 1997, but, in 2006, he applied for a new license using a different name and answering negatively to a question as to whether his license had ever been suspended. A new license was issued at that time.

      Jackson argued that the statute on driving on a suspended license unconstitutionally denied him due process by preventing him from presenting evidence that he thought he had a valid license. The circuit court declared the statute unconstitutional as applied to him and this direct appeal followed. In this decision, the supreme court vacated the circuit court’s rulings because the case can be resolved on nonconstitutional grounds. Such cases are not subject to direct appeal.

      The supreme court said that the issue to be resolved in this case concerns proof of the elements of the offense and not statutory constitutionality. The court said that the defendant is entitled to present evidence supporting his defense that he did, in fact, possess a valid license, while the State may offer rebuttal that he misled authorities into reinstating his privilege to drive by providing erroneous information through either purposeful concealment or incorrect representation.

      The supreme court held that the determination as to statutory constitutionality was not necessary to the disposition of the case, and it was vacated. The dismissal of the information and the discharge of the defendant were also vacated.

      The cause was remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.