Under 18 and Driving Past Curfew

I'm pretty sure my parents didn't know about this law when I was in high school:

"(a-1) If the licensee is less than 18 years of age *** the license shall, as a matter of law, be invalid for the operation of any motor vehicle during the following times:

(A) Between 11:00 p.m. Friday and 6:00 a.m. Saturday;

(B) Between 11:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday; and

(C) Between 10:00 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, and 6:00 a.m. on the following day."

625 ILCS 5/6-110.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, I broke this law virtually every weekend. Or did I? The Vehicle Code has a curiously broad exception: 

"(a-2) The driver's license of a person under the age of 18 shall not be invalid as described in subsection (a-1) of this Section if the licensee under the age of 18 was:

***

(7) exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly."

Subsection (a-2)(7) applies whenever the licensee is "exercising First Amendment rights," including but not limited to the freedom of speech, exercise of religion, and right of assembly. So, if a 17-year old is driving around past curfew, his license is valid so long as he's engaging in any of the following First Amendment activities:

  • Listening to Miley Cyrus' book on tape, How to Get Rich Being Awful (prologue by Justin Bieber) 
  • Making political campaign contributions
  • Burning the American Flag
  • Praying that he doesn't get pulled over
  • Eating Kosher hotdogs
  • Dressing up as Hitler
  • Drawing a portrait of Muhammad
  • Skimming the articles in Hustler Magazine
  • Shouting out the window "I didn't win a Medal of Honor in Korea so that you kids could violate curfew!" 
  • Or, listening to his friend second-guess his decision to become a lawyer:



Who decides which evidence is "favorable" to the accused under Brady v. Maryland?

Where I practice in Illinois, the State usually discloses to defense counsel all the evidence it has in a criminal case--the good, the bad, and the neutral. 

But the Constitution requires the State to disclose less than everything. The Supreme Court held in Brady v. Maryland "that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." (Emphasis added.) Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 1196-97. 

What constitutes evidence "favorable to an accused?" More to the point, who gets to make that call?

I don't like the idea of a prosecutor deciding for me whether or not certain evidence is favorable to my client. Frankly, I think I'm more creative than a lot of prosecutors. What a prosecutor might see as neutral evidence, or evidence that hurts my client, I might see as evidence that proves how poorly the police conducted their investigation. 

Let's say the prosecutor discovers what he believes to be surveillance camera footage of my client's red Dodge pickup truck at the scene of a burglary. Obviously, from the prosecutor's perspective, disclosure of this evidence is not required under Brady because the evidence isn't favorable to the accused. But what if the prosecutor failed to recognized that my client's red Dodge pickup truck has a noticeable dent in the rear panel, which is not present on the truck in the surveillance video? Favorable is in the eye of the beholder.  

The clear problem with Brady is that it requires the prosecutor to make the completely subjective determination of whether certain evidence is favorable to the accused. But the prosecutor's perspective is calibrated in the opposite direction; he is conditioned to see the inculpatory characteristics of evidence, not the exculpatory characteristics. And the opposite is true of defense attorneys. It's like telling a Bears fan to identify the most lovable Green Bay Packer. Or asking a cat lady to pick you out the perfect dog. Wooof. No thanks. 

Brady's importance is largely offset by state and local discovery rules. I'm never really fearful that the State has withheld evidence that I might have found valuable. It just doesn't happen in my neck of the woods (I don't think). But if that were to change, I would have serious problems with the notion of a prosecutor deciding for me which evidence is favorable to my client. 

 

 

 

 

Why do the Illinois courts afford differing levels of anonymity to minors?

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 660(c) provides that "[i]n all appeals filed from proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act, the minor(s) shall be identified by first name and last initial or by initials only. The preferred method is first name and last initial. The alternative method of initials only is to be used when, due to an unusual first name or spelling, the preferred method would create a substantial risk of revealing a minor's identity. The name(s) of the involved minor(s) shall not appear on any documents filed with the Appellate Court or any subsequent court."

Somewhere along the line, the Illinois Supreme and Appellate courts began applying Rule 660(c) differently depending on the type of proceeding at issue.  In juvenile delinquency cases, the courts refer to the minor by first name and last initial (e.g., In re Montrell S.).  In custody and parental rights cases, however, the courts simply refers to the minor by his initials (e.g. In re S.W.).  

Nothing in Rule 660(c) justifies differing levels of privacy for delinquency proceedings versus custody proceedings. By disclosing comparatively more identifying information about juveniles in delinquency proceedings than juveniles in custody proceedings, the courts send the message (maybe inadvertently) that delinquent juveniles don't deserve full anonymity because they have done something wrong. On the other hand, juveniles involved in custody proceedings deserve a higher level of anonymity because those juveniles have been good. This is not a principle that can be gleaned from Rule 606 or any published case law.  

In addition to the peculiar distinction drawn between delinquency cases and custody cases, the courts have also seemed to shrug off the provision of Rule 606(c) that states a minor's initials are to be used only "when, due to an unusual first name or spelling, the preferred method would create a substantial risk of revealing a minor's identity." Take, for instance, the First District case filed earlier this year, In re Shermaine S., 2015 IL App (1st) 142421. I have personally never met a human being named Shermaine, and I can't imagine that Shermaine S. (who I should mention is a male) would feel very anonymous if, say for example, the school principal came onto the public address system and announced that Shermaine S. had wet himself during gym class. (The appellate court has issued many other opinions and Rule 23 orders that identify minors by their unique first names, for example: In re Tamajiana T.In re Stormie D.K.In re Stephone B.In re Raniya F.)

The courts should begin adhering to Rule 606(c) in some kind of principled way. The current practice just looks bad.

 

Highlights of the Gay Marriage Opinion

This is the gist of the Majority's reasoning: 

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.

*** 

The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter."

Roberts' Dissent:

"Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.

 ***

If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

Scalia's Dissent:

"If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: 'The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,' I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

Thomas and Alito's dissents are predictable and reasonable, but not as quotable as the others.

I am incredibly happy with the on-the-ground result of this decision. Denying marriage to same-sex couples is wrong. But legally speaking, I agree with Roberts' dissent. I worry about what might happen when an issue comes up in which my personal policy preferences are inconsistent with those of 5 justices on the Supreme Court. 

 

 

Don't they have snapchat?

I'm currently filling out an application for my 10-year passport renewal and realizing how amazing it is that, in the year 2015, the State Department's preferred method of obtaining a clear image of my face is to have me print off a 2x2 piece of paper and mail it to a processing center, where some poor sap will simply remove it from the envelope and scan it into a computer.

 

Coming from Illinois's Top Law-Enforcement Official

I understand the sentiment here. Being the victim of sexual assault would be bad enough, but having people dismiss your story as a lie would be all the more traumatizing. I really do get that.

But it's a little unsettling to see Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois's top law-enforcement official, making the statement she did on a matter of criminal law. For every victim of sexual assault, there's also an alleged perpetrator. To make the blanket statement that we should "believe" the victim's account (although that account is usually true, no doubt), is virtually the same as saying we should "believe" that the accused is guilty of the offense. 

But if we want people to abide by the standing policy of de facto believing the accuser, what should we expect when those people are called for jury duty?

The state's highest law-enforcement official should not make public comments that essentially encourage people to reverse the presumption of innocence when sexual assault is at issue. If someone were to read Madigan's comments and take them to heart, we should expect that person to carry those views into the jury box. 

It would be one thing if these statements came from some private activist, but Lisa Madigan is the top government lawyer in Illinois. She is in the business of criminal law, and her public statements on an issue such as sexual assault should be viewed in that context. Those words carry significant weight. In my humble view, Madigan's statements were (perhaps inadvertently) an affront to the presumption of innocence, one of the most sacred tenets of our legal system. 

The importance of lending trust to sexual assault victims is a message that should be promoted. But when the Attorney General decides to promote that message in her official capacity, she should do so without essentially asking her audience to disregard the presumption of innocence. 

 

What areas of Champaign-Urbana are within 1,000 feet of a park, school, or church?

Yesterday's drug bust near the U of I campus not only ruined a lot of people's plans for this weekend, it also illustrated the stupidity of Illinois' controlled-substances law (one of my favorite topics). At least one of the suspects is being charged with enhanced felonies because the apartment from which he sold ecstasy and LSD was within 1,000 feet of a public park (namely, Scott Park, which has seen more bicycles thefts than picnics in its lifetime). This blog post could be about the 879,321 legal things that are more dangerous to do near a public park than selling drugs, but it's not. It's about geography and really cool maps that I made all by myself. 

Section 407 of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570/407) increases the punishment for selling a controlled substance when the sale occurs within 1,000 feet of (1) any "public park," (2) "the real property comprising any school," or (3) "the real property of any church, synagogue, or other building, structure, or place used primarily for religious worship."

I decided to make maps of Champaign-Urbana showing the areas that are within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and places of worship.  These are conservative maps. I erred on the side of not classifying something as a park, school, or church if there was any reasonable basis to argue that the location did not qualify (for example, I didn't count the U of I quad as a public park, and I didn't count nurseries or preschools as schools).  

Here are the results:

Parks:

Areas within 1,000 feet of public parks

Schools:

Areas within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school

Yes, the University of Illinois is a school within the meaning of the Act. See People v. Young, 2011 IL 111886, ¶ 13, 960 N.E.2d 559 (the term "school" under the Controlled Substances Act means "any public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college or university.") When you drawn a 1,000 foot perimeter around all of the U of I's property, it basically takes up the whole town. 

Places of worship:

Areas within 1,000 feet of the real property of any church, synagogue, or other building, structure, or place used primarily for religious worship.

So most of the drug sales in this town occur near campus or on the north side.  Almost every part of campus is within 1,000 feet of some U of I property, and the north side of town seems to have more churches than fire hydrants.

I primarily relied upon Google to find the churches in town. I'm sure that there are many more churches, especially on the north side, but they don't have much of a web presence.

Here it is all together.  Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the special areas of town where we need to provide extra protection against drug dealers.

The Legal Value of Your Dog

Beautiful son of a female dog.

Beautiful son of a female dog.

If someone negligently kills your dog, you can sue them for damages. (If you haven't already killed them and their entire family.) But how are damages computed? For a workable rule, the damages would equal the market value of your dog. But in most cases, that would be a negative figure because in the market for living dogs, the supply far outweighs the demand. So clearly we can't rely upon market forces to put an accurate monetary value on the absolute very best most-awesome incredible dog in the whole wide world: [insert name of your dog]. 

Accordingly, Illinois courts have recognized that pets sometimes have "no market value," as if they were family heirlooms or artifacts. But then doesn't that make the question of damages impossible?  

Although it's beyond dispute is that my dog, Fritz, is the most valuable dog in the world, I still couldn't fix him with a price. (Although if any eccentric billionaires want to make me an offer, get in touch.)

Here's the law on the matter:

"In the eyes of the law, a dog is an item of personal property. The ordinary measure of damages for personal property is the fair market value at the time of the loss. The courts have recognized, however, that there are a number of items of personal property that have no market value. Included in this group are such items as heirlooms, photographs, trophies and pets. In Long v. Arthur Rubloff & Co. (1975), 27 Ill.App.3d 1013, 1025, 327 N.E.2d 346, 355, the court stated that where property is not the ordinary subject of commerce or is otherwise unique, damages are not restricted to nominal damages; rather, damages must be ascertained in some rational way from such elements as are attainable. The court there espoused the rule that the proper basis for assessing compensatory damages in such a case is to determine the item's 'actual value to [the] plaintiff' and stated that the plaintiff is 'entitled to demonstrate its value to him by such proof as the circumstances admit.' " Jankoski v. Preiser Animal Hosp., Ltd., 157 Ill. App. 3d 818, 820, 510 N.E.2d 1084, 1086 (1987).

If you were called upon to demonstrate the actual value of your dog to you, what evidence would you produce?  *Cue uncontrollable sobbing from the witness stand.*

So-Called "Finley Motions"

This is the most recent installment of my "Better Practice" column in he Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.  (See below for the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) version.)

TL;DR - For years, Illinois Appellate Courts have been citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987), for the opposite of what it stands for.

Chicago's "L" or "El" train?

This passage is from the Illinois Supreme Court's recent opinion in People v. Stevens, 2014 IL 116300:

"R.G. stated that on that day, she left work about 9 p.m. and was on the “L” train platform when a man approached her from behind, pointed something hard and sharp in her back and told her to go with him."

It seems obvious to me that the proper nickname for the "elevated train" should be the "el train." Apparently I'm wrong.

Come to find out, this controversy is worthy of its own Wikipedia section.  The Chicago Tribune Stylebook has officially adopted "L" as the formal informal designation of the elevated train. This terminology dates back more than 120 years, according to the CTA. The Stylebook explicitly disapproves using "el" train.

Maybe there are good reasons for this. If "el" train were used in a Spanish-language newspaper, it would come out as "the The train."

But, on the other hand, those who remember the restaurant scene in A Christmas Story know that "L" train would come out as " 'R' train" in Mandarin-language newspapers.

 

Darnell Docket is currently tweeting his way through jury duty

Arizona Cardinals defensive end, Darnell Docket (the same guy who recently reposted an Instagram photo of 16-year-old Malia Obama's booty), is currently tweeting his way through jury duty.  (No rhyme intended.)

Although I sternly shake my head and furrow my brow at this behavior, I can't help but be impressed at this guy's complete disregard for authority. He brags about (1) double-parking in a handicap spot, (2) trying to get kicked out through tweeting, and (3) being able to whoop the court security officer's ass. He even ordered a pizza. 

He should get held in contempt (if the judge is anything but a complete pushover), but I think guys like this are willing to do a little jail time to keep up their image. 

Here are just some of his tweets: 

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Spot the White Person

See if you can determine which of these people is legally classified as "white" (and only white) under Illinois law:

(5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).

(5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).

Yemeni = white. (6) White (a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa).

Yemeni = white.

(6) White (a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa).

(4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race).

(4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race).

(3) Black or African American (a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa). Terms such as 'Haitian' or 'Negro' can be used in addition to 'Black or African American'.

(3) Black or African American (a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa). Terms such as 'Haitian' or 'Negro' can be used in addition to 'Black or African American'.

The Increasing Absurdity of Illinois' DUI-Cannabis Statute

Yesterday, voters in Oregon, Washington D.C., and Alaska voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.  Consumption of cannabis will now be lawful in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Washington D.C., and Alaska. Polls show that most Americans favor legalization of marijuana, which indicates that the number of states to legalize the drug will continue to grow. This creates problems for Illinois' DUI-Cannabis statute, which stands out among many attorneys (including myself) as perhaps the most backwards, heavy-handed, and arbitrary criminal provision in Illinois.

This is a section 11-501(b) problem. 

This is a section 11-501(b) problem. 

Section 11-501(a)(6) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(6)) provides as follows:

"(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while: ***

(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person's breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act[.]"

Notice that the statute uses the word "unlawful." Under the plain language of the statute, one can be convicted under the statute only if the State proves that the drug, substance, or compound in the person's blood, breath, or urine resulted from the unlawful consumption of cannabis. In other words, if someone in Illinois drives with any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in their breath, blood, or urine resulting from the use or consumption of cannabis in a place where it is legal (such as Washington or Colorado), that person has not violated this statute. As more and more states make consumption legal, the State should have a more difficult time making its case under this statute.

Note also that the federal code does not provide a basis to prove unlawful use or consumption either. It is not a federal crime to use or consume cannabis. The federal code only makes it a crime to "manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance." 21 U.S.C.A. § 841

Also, the State can find no refuge in section 11-501(b) of the Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501(b)), which provides as follows:

"The fact that any person charged with violating this Section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, cannabis under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Section."

Section 11-501(b) does not apply to the use or consumption of cannabis in a jurisdiction where it is legal. More specifically, the section must be read for the following proposition: even if someone uses a substance lawfully, the lawfulness of that use does not provide a defense for unsafe driving. This is a reasonable provision, but it does not apply to section 11-501(a)(6), which has nothing to do with unsafe driving. 

"Cannabis" under section 11-501(b) is specifically tied to the use of cannabis under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (an Illinois statute). The section's reference to "other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof" must be read as a distinct category separate and apart from cannabis and alcohol. After all, section 11-501(a) separates cannabis and alcohol from the "others." Of course, it would still be illegal to drive in Illinois even after legally consuming cannabis if it rendered the person incapable of safe driving. But section 11-501(a)(6) does not set forth an "unsafe driving" standard; it merely prohibits driving at all after the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis. Nothing more, nothing less.

Unfortunately, if we're looking at legislative intent, we can presume that the legislature intended to punish the immoral act of cannabis consumption through this draconian statute. Applying the rule of lenity, however, I just don't see how it can be illegal for someone to drive in this state (assuming they're capable of driving safely) after consuming cannabis in a jurisdiction where it is legal. As the number of states legalizing the consumption of cannabis grows, the State should have more difficulty proving in each case that the cannabis in a defendant's system resulted from unlawful use or consumption. Defense attorneys should demand that the State meet this burden of proof in each case. 

Excessive Sentence

The following is a single, 838-word sentence from section 6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934:

"Alcoholic liquors may be delivered to and sold at any airport belonging to or under the control of a municipality of more than 25,000 inhabitants, or in any building or on any golf course owned by a park district organized under the Park District Code, subject to the approval of the governing board of the district, or in any building or on any golf course owned by a forest preserve district organized under the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act, subject to the approval of the governing board of the district, or on the grounds within 500 feet of any building owned by a forest preserve district organized under the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act during times when food is dispensed for consumption within 500 feet of the building from which the food is dispensed, subject to the approval of the governing board of the district, or in a building owned by a Local Mass Transit District organized under the Local Mass Transit District Act, subject to the approval of the governing Board of the District, or in Bicentennial Park, or on the premises of the City of Mendota Lake Park located adjacent to Route 51 in Mendota, Illinois, or on the premises of Camden Park in Milan, Illinois, or in the community center owned by the City of Loves Park that is located at 1000 River Park Drive in Loves Park, Illinois, or, in connection with the operation of an established food serving facility during times when food is dispensed for consumption on the premises, and at the following aquarium and museums located in public parks: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago Historical Society, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum of African American History, John G. Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, or at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences in Peoria, or in connection with the operation of the facilities of the Chicago Zoological Society or the Chicago Horticultural Society on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, or on any land used for a golf course or for recreational purposes owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, subject to the control of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners and applicable local law, provided that dram shop liability insurance is provided at maximum coverage limits so as to hold the District harmless from all financial loss, damage, and harm, or in any building located on land owned by the Chicago Park District if approved by the Park District Commissioners, or on any land used for a golf course or for recreational purposes and owned by the Illinois International Port District if approved by the District's governing board, or at any airport, golf course, faculty center, or facility in which conference and convention type activities take place belonging to or under control of any State university or public community college district, provided that with respect to a facility for conference and convention type activities alcoholic liquors shall be limited to the use of the convention or conference participants or participants in cultural, political or educational activities held in such facilities, and provided further that the faculty or staff of the State university or a public community college district, or members of an organization of students, alumni, faculty or staff of the State university or a public community college district are active participants in the conference or convention, or in Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during games in which the Chicago Bears professional football team is playing in that stadium during the renovation of Soldier Field, not more than one and a half hours before the start of the game and not after the end of the third quarter of the game, or in the Pavilion Facility on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago during games in which the Chicago Storm professional soccer team is playing in that facility, not more than one and a half hours before the start of the game and not after the end of the third quarter of the game, or in the Pavilion Facility on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago during games in which the WNBA professional women's basketball team is playing in that facility, not more than one and a half hours before the start of the game and not after the 10-minute mark of the second half of the game, or by a catering establishment which has rented facilities from a board of trustees of a public community college district, or in a restaurant that is operated by a commercial tenant in the North Campus Parking Deck building that (1) is located at 1201 West University Avenue, Urbana, Illinois and (2) is owned by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, or, if approved by the District board, on land owned by the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago and leased to others for a term of at least 20 years."  (235 ILCS 5/6-15 (West 2014)).

Catch all that? 

Note the specific exemption allowing liquor to be sold in "Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during games in which the Chicago Bears professional football team is playing in that stadium during the renovation of Soldier Field." The Bears returned to the renovated Soldier Field in September 2003. 

Also note the exemption for liquor sales "in a restaurant that is operated by a commercial tenant in the North Campus Parking Deck building *** at 1201 West University Avenue, Urbana, Illinois." That parking deck has been virtually vacant since it was completed in around 2003. 

Judge Gives Attorneys a Piece of His Mind at Oral Arguments

I just came across an interesting moment from the August 19, 2014, oral arguments in the Illinois First District Appellate Court case of Harris v. Adame, which I listened to while doing yard work.  

I know nothing about the case, but from what I can glean from the oral argument, one party is attempting to set aside a real estate conveyance because the conveying party was under some disability at the time (the attorney said it was "mental retardation"), and the guardian failed to obtain the required court approval before entering into the conveyance on the disabled party's behalf. The trial court granted summary judgment, finding the conveyance void. 

Justice Pierce (I think it was Pierce, but it could have been Simon) was very active in his questioning. He seemed very concerned about the impact of the Appellate Court's decision on the parties. At the conclusion of arguments (audio at 39:58), the Justice said the following:

"The court will take this matter under advisement. The court is adjourned.

I would like to encourage both sides, and the title company, that--[this] case is still alive, obviously, but legal fees, time, and best interest of everybody--in the judgment of this one justice requires consultation amongst the parties to resolve this so that the equities on all sides can be addressed. Further litigation of this is *** not productive. Thank you."

Disclaimer: Everything I know about this case comes from the oral argument audio. I might not even be correct in my guess of which of the four judges on the First District, Second Division, were speaking. 

Here's a Good Laugh

The first sentence of the Illinois Executive Inspector General's report about illegal hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation:

"The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government agencies from hiring people based on political affiliation."

Someone should tell everyone.