The Illinois Supreme Court rode the circuit, virtually, on September 22nd in conjunction with central Illinois schools from Danville to Quincy. The Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases and students and teachers were invited to watch the proceedings live or at a later date.
In recent years the Supreme Court has held oral arguments at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in Champaign and at the Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey. Last year oral arguments were held virtually for schools in the 2nd Judicial District.
The Supreme Court on September 22 heard arguments in the cases of People v. Johnson and Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc. Legal briefs in both cases have been posted to the Court's website at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Docket/default.asp.
In People v. Johnson, the defendant was convicted of murder in 1992. He was released from prison in 2004, and in 2006 he was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (“UUWF”). The predicate felony for the UUWF charge was defendant’s 1992 murder conviction. Defendant pleaded guilty to the UUWF charge. In 2019, the murder conviction was vacated, and all charges against defendant that arose out of the murder were dismissed. In 2020, the defendant sought to vacate the UUWF conviction because his 1992 murder conviction - the predicate offense to the UUWF charge - had been vacated and the murder charges dismissed. The trial court dismissed the petition, and the appellate court affirmed. The appellate court observed the plain language of the UUWF statute applies to any person who “has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this State or any other jurisdiction,” and that at the time of defendant’s 2006 arrest and conviction for UUWF, his 1992 murder conviction had not been vacated or reversed. In other words, defendant’s status in 2006 was that of a convicted felon, and the subsequent vacation of the 1992 murder conviction did not alter that status. The defendant appealed this ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc the plaintiffs filed a complaint against their employer, alleging the employer violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) by scanning their fingerprints and using fingerprint scanning in its employee timekeeping without following various requirements of BIPA. The employer argued that plaintiffs’ complaint is barred by the one-year statute of limitations (the time period in which a person has for bringing a lawsuit) for “[a]ctions for slander, libel or for publication of matter violating the right of privacy.” (735 ILCS 5/13-201.) Plaintiffs argued their complaint is timely because it was filed pursuant to the five-year statute of limitations for “all civil actions not otherwise provided for.” (735 ILCS 5/13-205.)
The appellate court ruled that the one-year limitations period applies only where a plaintiff must allege or prove publication or disclosure by the defendant. Therefore, the one-year limitations period applies to plaintiffs’ claims that the employer violated those portions of BIPA which prohibit an entity from selling, leasing, or otherwise profiting from a person’s biometric identifier (such as fingerprints or facial recognition) and may not disclose or otherwise disseminate a person’s biometric identifier unless various requirements are met. The appellate court held the five-year limitations period set forth in section 13-205 governs plaintiffs’ complaints under the other sections of BIPA.
Both parties appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. The employer is arguing that the one-year limitations period should apply to all complaints under BIPA. The plaintiffs, arguing their complaint does not involve “publication” of their biometric identifiers as found by the appellate court, argue that the five-year limitations should apply to all complaints under BIPA.