Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed January 24, 2014

People v. Elliott, 2014 IL 115308

Appellate citation: 2012 IL App (5th) 100584.

JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

A Perry County conviction for driving on a suspended license was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court even though, after that conviction, the summary suspension was later rescinded.

On August 26, 2009, David Elliott was arrested in Jackson County for driving under the influence and was given a notice of the statutory summary suspension of his driver’s license, which would commence on October 11. On September 1, he filed a petition to rescind that summary suspension.

On October 13, while under the suspension, he was pulled over in Perry County and issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. In a subsequent bench trial, he was found guilty, notwithstanding the fact that, on October 19, the Jackson County court had acted on his petition and had rescinded the statutory summary suspension. Pursuant to the Jackson County circuit court’s action, the Secretary of State later entered a notice and order of rescission, removing the statutory summary suspension from Elliott’s driving record.

The Perry County conviction was reversed by the appellate court on the theory that the suspension had been undone as if it never existed. The State appealed.

The Illinois Supreme Court took a different view, finding that the use of the word “rescind” in this statutory context is properly construed to be prospective-only and not to have any retroactive effect. If Elliott was under suspension when he was pulled over in Perry County, which was the case here, any subsequent rescission of his suspension did not change that fact because the rescission is prospective from the time at which it took place. Driving on a suspended license is a crime irrespective of any future rescission.

The appellate court was reversed and the circuit court was affirmed.