Member Groups

The Public Servant
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

March 2007, vol. 8, no. 3

Attorney General issues opinions

Under section 4 of the Attorney General Act (15 ILCS 205/4 (West 2005 Supp.)), the Attorney General is authorized, upon request, to furnish written legal opinions to State officers and State’s Attorneys on matters relating to their official duties. The following is a summary of official opinions 06-004 through 06-006 and informal opinions I-06-041 through I-06-052 that may be of interest to the government bar. 

Copies of an opinion may be requested by contacting the Opinions Bureau in the Attorney General’s Springfield office at (217) 782-9070. Copies of official opinions may also be found on the internet at <>.


Opinion No. 06-004

Issued December 29, 2006

Provision of Field Notes to the Prosecuting Authority in Non-Homicide Felony Investigations
The specific statutory reference to disclosure of “field notes” in homicide felony investigations, and the concomitant exclusion of that term from the parallel non-homicide felony investigations provision, compels the conclusion that it was the intent of the General Assembly to require disclosure of field notes in the first instance but not in the second. 725 ILCS 5/114-13 (West 2004).


Opinion No. 06-005

Issued December 29, 2006

Residency Requirements for Sub-Circuit Judges After Circuit-wide Retention Election
The Illinois Constitution requires only that a judge be a resident of the unit that elects him or her. Resident and subcircuit judges may be required by statute initially to reside in and be elected from their sub-unit. However, pursuant to the Constitution, all circuit judges are retained by election of the greater circuit. Therefore, all circuit judges after retention may reside anywhere in the circuit. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 11; Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 12; 705 ILCS 35/1f(e) (West 2004).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-043

Issued December 11, 2006

Registration of Dogs and Cats Under the Animal Control Act

The plain language of section 3 of the Animal Control Act provides that counties are authorized, but not required, to mandate the registration of dogs and cats. Therefore, counties may opt not to impose mandatory registration requirements. 510 ILCS 5/3 (West 2005 Supp.). 


Informal Opinion No. I-06-045

Issued December 29, 2006

Signing Multiple Nominating Petitions for Different Candidates for a Single Elective Office from the Same Political Party

A registered voter may sign more than one candidate’s nominating petition for a single elective office, if the voter and candidates are from the same political party. 10 ILCS 5/7-10 (West 2004), as amended by Public Act 94-645, effective August 22, 2005.


Informal Opinion No. I-06-046

Issued December 29, 2006

Life Insurance Benefit Proceeds as Unclaimed Property
Provisions in the bylaws of fraternal benefit societies that attempt to create a default beneficiary for the proceeds of a society’s life insurance contract conflict with the provisions of the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act and are invalid as against public policy. 765 ILCS 1025/3 (West 2004).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-047

Issued December 29, 2006

Validity of Contract of Circuit Clerk to Collect Delinquent Fines
The circuit clerk has no authority to enter into a collection agreement with a private collection agency for the collection of delinquent fines. Rather, the authority to enter into such an agreement lies with the State’s Attorney. 55 ILCS 5/3-9005 (West 2004); 705 ILCS 105/27.3b (West 2004); 725 ILCS 5/124A-10 (West 2004); 730 ILCS 5/5-9-3 (West 2004).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-048

Issued December 29, 2006

Custody of Persons Arrested on Warrants in Municipal Ordinance Violation Cases
The sheriff has a nondiscretionary, statutory duty to execute all warrants and writs issued by the court, including warrants issued for the arrest of persons who have been charged with municipal ordinance violations. Therefore, the sheriff cannot refuse to accept custody of a person arrested on a warrant in an ordinance violation case. Pursuant to the language of section 5 of the County Jail Act, the county is responsible for the costs associated with incarcerating the individual while he or she is held on a warrant issued for the failure to appear in a municipal ordinance case. 65 ILCS 5/11-3-2 (West 2004); 730 ILCS 125/4 (West 2004); 730 ILCS 125/5 (West 2005 Supp.).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-049

Issued December 29, 2006

Use of Non-Certified Interpreters for the Deaf by Applicants for Driver’s Licenses
Neither the American with Disabilities Act nor the Illinois Interpreters for the Deaf Act (the Act) requires the office of the Secretary of State (SOS) to adopt a blanket policy that always prohibits a friend or family member from interpreting for a deaf and hearing impaired individual when applying for or renewing a driver’s license. However, if the SOS determines that it is inappropriate for a particular customer to use a friend or family member as an interpreter in a specific situation because of impartiality, confidentiality, or competency issues, then the SOS must provide its deaf or hearing impaired customer with a qualified interpreter. Further, a friend or family member’s simple act of assisting a deaf or hearing impaired person to communicate with others, standing alone, does not necessarily result in the friend or family member “represent[ing] himself or herself as an interpreter for the deaf” in violation of the Act. Rather, whether a person “represent[s] himself or herself as an interpreter for the deaf” in violation of the Act is a question of fact that depends on the surrounding circumstances, but necessarily requires holding oneself out as an interpreter. 225 ILCS 442/5 (West 2004); 42 U.S.C. §12132 (2000); 28 C.F.R. §35.160 (2005).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-050

Issued December 29, 2006

Illinois Procurement Code Prohibits Solicitations that Contain Requests for Cash Incentives
Section 20-50 of the Illinois Procurement Code prohibits solicitations or specifications that contain provisions inviting bidders to include in bid proposals cash incentives. 30 ILCS 500/20-50 (West 2004).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-051

Issued December 29, 2006

Appearance in Illinois Administrative Hearings of Attorneys Licensed in Other States
Attorneys licensed in other states but not in Illinois may only be authorized to practice law in Illinois by the courts. Neither legislative authorization nor administrative rules are sufficient to allow administrative agencies to permit out-of-State attorneys to participate in administrative proceedings. 220 ILCS 5/10-101 (West 2004); 705 ILCS 205/1 (West 2004).


Informal Opinion No. I-06-052

Issued December 29, 2006

Liability and Immunity for Volunteers

Volunteers organized and supervised by units of local government may have the protection from liability afforded by a number of Illinois laws (e.g., Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, Good Samaritan Act, Illinois Oil Spill Responders Liability Act, the Line of Duty Compensation Act, and State Employees Indemnification Act). Whether a particular law applies will depend on the facts and circumstances unique to each situation. 5 ILCS 350/1 et seq. (West 2004); 820 ILCS 315/1 et seq. (West 2004); 745 ILCS 10/1-202, 2-201, 2-203, 6-106 (West 2004); 20 ILCS 3305/15, 21 (West 2004); 745 ILCS 49/1 et seq. (West 2004); 740 ILCS 113/1 et seq. (West 2004); 42 U.S.C.A. §9601 et seq. (West 2005); 42 U.S.C.A. §14501 et seq. (West 2005); 45 ILCS 151/1 et seq. (West 2004); 820 ILCS 315/2(g) (West 2004), as amended by Public Act 94-696, effective June 1, 2006.