Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed March 20, 2014
People v. Cummings, 2014 IL 115769
Appellate citation: 2013 IL App (3d) 120128.
††††† JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
††††† Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Karmeier, and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.
††††† Chief Justice Garman dissented, with opinion, joined by Justice Thomas.
In Whiteside County, this defendant was cited for the Class 4 felony of driving on a suspended license. He filed a motion to suppress evidence, claiming a violation of his fourth amendment rights, and he was successful in the circuit court. No trial on this offense has occurred. The State appealed the suppression, and the appellate court affirmed. The matter came before the Illinois Supreme Court when the State appealed again.
In 2011, in the City of Sterling, a police officer noticed that the registration of the van driven by the defendant appeared to be expired. The officerís check of the registration revealed that it was valid, but also revealed that the registered owner, Pearlene Chattic (who the officer knew was a woman) was wanted on a warrant. On pulling the vehicle over, the officer determined that the driver was not a woman. He then proceeded to ask defendant driver for his license, which defendant could not produce. The charge at issue here resulted. Both the circuit and appellate courts believed that, once the officer determined that the vehicle was not driven by the woman as to whom there was an outstanding warrant, he had no further reason to continue the traffic stop and should not have asked for the driverís license. They held that doing so amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure that was unconstitutional.
In this opinion the Illinois Supreme Court agreed, upholding the granting of the motion to suppress. The court said that, once the reason for the traffic stop had ended, the request for the license was no longer justified and was in violation of the fourth amendment.
The courts below were upheld.