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Illinois Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justices to Attend Unveiling of Historical Marker

Posted on June 6, 2017 by Sara Anderson

A State Historical Marker will be unveiled in Alton on Monday, June 19th to honor Scott Bibb, an African American who successfully fought in the Illinois Supreme Court for the desegregation of schools in what became known as the Alton School Cases in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Supreme Court Justices Anne M. Burke and Rita B. Garman will be attending the dedication ceremony. Also attending are John Lupton, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, and members of the Historic Preservation Commission Advisory Committee; Justice Joy V. Cunningham, Hon. Neil Cohen, and Scott Szala, J.D.

With the assistance of Lewis and Clark Community College, the Illinois State Historical Society sponsored and erected the historical marker. The Society maintains markers statewide regarding subjects of historical significance to Illinois.

“In recent years, the Illinois Supreme Court through its Historic Preservation Commission has undertaken an effort to bring Illinois’ history to life," Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman said. "We have explored the life of Mary Todd Lincoln and the Mormon experience in Illinois. The program on the Alton School Cases has made people throughout the state aware of the courage and dedication of Alton’s Scott Bibb. I am honored to have been invited to the dedication ceremony and to have the opportunity to speak to the Alton community about one of its great heroes.”

Illinois Supreme Court Announces Amendments to Statewide E-Filing Order

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court today announced amendments to the January 22, 2016 E-filing Order, with the goal of further facilitating the Illinois courts' statewide move to an electronic filing system. The amendments address court and vendor fees, incarcerated pro se litigants, migration of counties with stand-alone e-filing systems, a statewide remote access system, and criminal e-filing. (For more about mandatory e-filing, see the June Illinois Bar Journal.)

Court and Vendor Fees. Effective July 1, 2017, for the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court, and effective January 1, 2018, for the circuit courts, no court or e-filing vendor shall charge the filer a transaction or user fee to e-file. The supreme court’s Electronic Filing Standards and Principles (Standards) were created to govern stand-alone e-filing systems in those jurisdictions approved to e-file. The Standards prohibited courts from collecting a fee (beyond the statutory civil filing fees) but allowed for an e-filing vendor to charge a transaction or use fee to the e-filer.

Director Michael J. Tardy Announces Retirement From Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Michael J. Tardy, director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced his retirement effective August 1, 2017, following a sterling 40-plus year career with the Judicial Branch. Tardy was named acting director in September 2011 and was officially appointed as director in January 2012.

"Throughout his long career, Mike has been an invaluable asset to the Supreme Court. An innovative administrator, a gifted leader, and a skillful diplomat, Mike has helped steer the Third Branch of Illinois government through some of its most difficult challenges. During a period of budgetary uncertainty, social change and rapid technological innovation, Mike has been instrumental in insuring that the judicial system remains available to all who need its protections," said Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. "He has overseen the implementation of statewide electronic filing and the introduction of new measures to improve pretrial release practices. He has helped place Illinois at the forefront of initiatives to improve access to justice, and his contributions have been critical to our implementation of new measures to insure that Illinois judges receive the best possible training and education."

Director Tardy served in both clinical and administrative positions within the Illinois judicial branch for the past 41 years. He initially worked for the Circuit Court of Cook County Social Service Department, a court agency charged with providing community-based supervision for adult misdemeanor and DUI offenders in Cook County. In his 13 years with the Cook County department, he started as a case worker and worked his way to district supervisor, managing three offices and a staff of 40.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Seven, Suspends Nine, Reprimands Three, Censures Three

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Sara Anderson

DISBARRED

  • Francis Joseph Coyle, Jr., Rock Island

Mr. Coyle, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred. He intentionally misappropriated $100,000 in funds that he was supposed to be holding in escrow in connection with a real estate transaction. In addition, on two occasions, he falsely represented to the buyer’s attorney that he was still holding all of the funds in escrow.

  • Laird James Heal, Sterling, Massachusetts

Mr. Heal was licensed in Massachusetts in 1989 and in Illinois in 1991. The Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts disbarred him for misusing over $13,000 of funds held in escrow in connection with a bankruptcy case. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Richard Carl Moenning, Chicago

Mr. Moenning, who was licensed in 1962, was disbarred. While serving as both trustee and trust counsel to several trusts created by two elderly sisters, he paid himself over $360,000 in purported fees without performing sufficient services to justify the payment of the funds. He also took years to notify or pay some of the trust beneficiaries, failed to disburse any funds to one beneficiary as of the time of the disciplinary hearing, failed to timely notify some of the beneficiaries of their interests under the trusts, and never provided an accounting to any of the beneficiaries or to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 15, 2016.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, May 18

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Thursday, May 18. The cases are Better Government Ass'n v. Illinois High School Ass'n, In re Estate of Shelton, Ferris, Thompson & Zweig, Ltd v. Esposito, Chultem v. Ticor Title Insurance Co., and People v. Veach.

CIVIL

Better Government Ass'n v. Illinois High School Ass'n

By Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP

In the ongoing battle involving public records requests made of governmental agencies, the supreme court was asked to define the term “subsidiary bod[y]” as used in the definition of “public body” in the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/2(a) (West 2014)) and then to determine whether the Illinois High School Association (“IHSA”) is subject to the FOIA.  The IHSA governs and coordinates interscholastic athletic competitions for public and private secondary schools in Illinois.

Chief Justice Karmeier Portrait Unveiled at Supreme Court Building

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Chief Justice Karmeier, portrait artist Greg McNair, Emily Schnitker, Mary Karmeier, and Karianne SchnitkerAn oil portrait of Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier was unveiled on Tuesday, May 16, at the historic Illinois Supreme Court building in Springfield. The painting hangs in the second floor hallway with the portraits of nine other chief justices, with additional portraits hanging in Chicago's Bilandic Building. The painting was done by artist Greg McNair of St. Louis. Chief Justices in Illinois are selected by their colleagues on the Supreme Court bench in a rotational pattern and serve for three years as the administrative head of the judicial branch. Chief Justice Karmeier's granddaughter, Emily Schnitker, performed the unveiling. She was on a Springfield visit with her 7th and 8th grade class from Trinity Lutheran School in Hoyleton. The class also heard the day's third oral argument, People v. Byron Boykins

Among those attending from Washington County were Circuit Judge Daniel Emge, Circuit Clerk Cynthia Barczewski and Court Reporter Brenda Engele along with Chief Justice Karmeier's wife, Mary, daughter, Karianne Schnitker and office staff.

Illinois Supreme Court Hosts "Law School for Legislators"

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court hosted 'Law School for Legislators' on May 9, 2017, with all seven Supreme Court Justices and leadership and new members of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate in attendance.

The event, held at the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield, was intended to familiarize the legislative branch with court operations and to foster dialogue of communication, cooperation and coordination between the legislative and judicial branches.

Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, Justice Rita B. Garman, AOIC Director Michael J. Tardy addressed the attendees and spoke on topics including the role of the Supreme Court and its relation to the legislative branch and how cases are initiated and proceed through the Illinois Courts. The Justices took comments and questions at a reception following the program.

The legislators who attended were Senate President John Cullerton, Senator Tom Rooney, Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Rep. Randy Frese, Rep. LaToya Greenwood, Rep Brad Halbrook, Rep. Michael Halpin, Rep. Theresa Mah, Rep. David Olsen,  Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, Rep. Dave Severin and Rep. Daniel Swanson.

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Statewide Policy Statement for Pretrial Services

Posted on May 1, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted a statewide policy statement for pretrial services. The statewide policy statement is a continuation of the advancement of pretrial services in Illinois.

"This policy statement seeks to serve as a guide for all of our trial courts," Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier said. "The goal of pretrial services is to reduce the pretrial incarceration rate while ensuring that defendants comply with approved pretrial release. This process includes the application of a validated pretrial risk assessment tool which aids judges in making research-based decisions about whether defendants should be detained or released prior to their criminal trials.”

The statement is as follows:

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, April 20

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

A leading appellate attorney reviews the Illinois Supreme Court opinion handed down Thursday, April 20. The case is People v. Way. 

People v. Way

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Ida Way was driving a vehicle when she crossed into oncoming traffic and struck another vehicle head-on, causing injuries to the driver of that vehicle as well as a passenger in her own car. Subsequent forensic testing revealed the presence of cannabis metabolite in Way's urine. She was charged with aggravated DUI based upon her having "any amount" of a drug, substance, or compound in her urine.

Way sought to defend against the charge by introducing evidence that a sudden, unforeseeable medical condition that caused her to lose consciousness was the proximate cause of the accident. She offered that her passenger would testify that she lost consciousness, three eyewitnesses would testify that they saw her shortly before the accident and she did not appear impaired, and her doctor would testify that it was possible that her loss of consciousness was due to her low blood pressure. The trial court rejected her request, concluding that the statute was one of strict liability "as to the accident." The appellate court looked to the law of proximate cause in civil cases and held that Way should have been permitted to present medical evidence.

Court Rule Change on Unidentified IOLTA Funds Raises Over $1 Million for Legal Aid

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Sara Anderson

A recent change to the rule governing how lawyers deal with unidentified funds in their pooled client trust accounts has generated over $1,000,000 for legal aid in Illinois.

In March 2015, the Supreme Court of Illinois amended Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to require Illinois lawyers to remit unidentified funds in these client trust accounts to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois after a 12-month due diligence process to determine who owns the funds. Since the new rule went into effect on July 1, 2015, the Lawyers Trust Fund (LTF) has received $1,007,829.21.

“For the 1.8 million Illinoisans living in poverty, legal aid is the only realistic option when confronted with a serious legal problem,” said LTF executive director Mark Marquardt. “Unfortunately, legal aid groups are facing serious financial headwinds in terms of both state and federal funding, which make this new source of revenue even more critical.”

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