Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed June 21, 2012
People v. Hollins, 2012 IL 112754
Appellate citation: No. 2-10-0051 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Thomas, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Burke dissented, with opinion, joined by Justice Freeman.
This defendant was convicted of three counts of child pornography in a stipulated bench trial in Stephenson County, and he received three concurrent eight-year terms of imprisonment. The appellate court affirmed.
The events at issue here occurred in Freeport in 2008, when defendant Marshall Hollins, a man in his early thirties, had consensual sexual relations with a girl he knew was only 17 years old. He took pictures of the activity with his cell phone.
The pictures were found by the girl’s mother, who complained to police, but who was initially told that the girl was too old to be considered a victim under the statutes concerning sexual abuse or sexual assault. However, Hollins was ultimately charged under the child pornography provisions, which set a higher age limit for the age (18) at which a teenager may legally consent to be photographed while engaged in sexual activity. In 1985, the age of consent to be photographed pornographically was raised from 16 to 18, although the age of consent for sexual activity remained at 17.
On appeal, Hollins complained that it had been legal for him to have consensual sex with the girl and that, therefore, it was unfair to criminalize the photographing of what occurred. He asserted that this discrepancy was an as-applied denial of due process, equal protection, and the Illinois constitutional right to privacy. He did not claim that any fundamental right was implicated, and the supreme court, in this decision, applied the rational basis test. It found there to be a reasonable basis for the legislative choice which had been made and found no constitutional violation. The results below were affirmed.