Friday, October 13, 2017

Paper supplemental records in the Illinois reviewing courts

On September 27, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court entered an order allowing for the filing of paper supplemental records on appeal during the transitional period to all-electronic records in cases where the original record was filed as a paper record before electronic filing of the record was required.

Friday, October 6, 2017

EVEN MORE Illinois Supreme Court rule amendments

By order entered on September 15, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court amended several rules effective November 1, 2017. Some of the amendments were minor technical or clerical revisions, but the most significant effect of this latest round of amendments is to change or add word count limitations (as an alternative to page limits) for some briefs and petitions allowed under Rules 303A, 306, 307, 315, 341, and 367.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Illinois Supreme Court disapproves of language ripping

An interesting observation by the Illinois Supreme Court in Richter v. Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., 2016 IL 119518 ¶30:
Courts caution that "'general language in an opinion must not be ripped from its context to make a rule far broader than the factual circumstances which called forth the language.'" Quoting Rosewood Care Center, Inc. v. Caterpillar, Inc., 226 Ill.2d 559, 572 (2007).

Friday, September 15, 2017

First District Illinois Appellate Court rules that unrelated pending postdissolution matters constitute separate claims, not separate actions, for purposes of appeal

Acknowledging a split between (and ultimately within) the appellate districts, a unanimous panel of the First District Appellate Court (Justices Lavin (authored), Fitzgerald Smith, and Pucinski) held in In re Marriage of Teymour, 2017 IL App (1st) 161091, that simultaneously pending postdissolution matters in divorce cases may be unrelated and, therefore, constitute separate claims so that an order disposing of only one such claim is not subject to immediate appeal absent a Rule 304(a) finding. Such matters are not, however, separate "actions" so that one may be appealed immediately upon resolution pursuant to Rule 301 while others remain pending. In so doing, the panel joined the Second and Fourth Districts but diverged from other decisions of the First District.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Posner – as trial judge – reversed

United States v. Edwards, 869 F.3d 490 (7th Cir. 2017), isn’t particularly notable for any ruling on appellate procedure or even substantive law. I make note of it because Judge Posner sat by designation as the trial judge on the case, ruled on a purely legal issue, and was reversed by his colleagues on the Seventh Circuit. In brief, Judge Posner refused a request by both sides to deliver a jury instruction relating to one element of the crime charged – that the defendant acted "corruptly." Judge Posner refused the instruction because it contained too much "legal jargon," "no one knows what ‘corruptly’ means," and "[y]ou don’t need ‘corruptly’." Well, a panel of the Seventh Circuit consisting of Chief Judge Wood and Judges Hamilton and Manion (author of the opinion) disagreed. Because "corruptly" is one of the elements of the offense charged and the government is required to prove each element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt (pretty basic principles that most first year law students would readily grasp), the failure to deliver a jury instruction on the corruption element required the reversal of the defendant’s conviction on that count. The opinion was issued on August 24, 2017. Judge Posner abruptly retired from the bench on September 1, 2017. Coincidence?

Friday, August 4, 2017

MORE Illinois Supreme Court rule amendments

After making substantial changes to the Illinois Supreme Court rules by orders entered on June 22, 2017, and June 28, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court is at it again. By order entered on July 27, 2017, the court made clerical corrections and revisions to Rules 315 and 315, effective nunc pro tunc to June 22, 2017. The court also made clerical changes to Rules 311 and 315 and the form in the appendix to Rule 312 (the docketing statement form), effective nunc pro tunc to June 28, 2017.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Reinstatement of nol-prossed counts on appeal: Two similar cases, two different procedural postures, two different outcomes

The central issue on appeal in People v. Shinaul, 2017 IL 120162, and in People v. Daniels, 2017 IL App (1st) 142130-B, was the same: On an appeal of the trial court’s ruling on a motion under 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 to vacate the defendant’s conviction on certain charges, may the Appellate Court reinstate other charges on which the State has entered a nolle prosequi. In Shinaul, the answer was yes. In Daniels (which the Illinois Supreme Court directed the Appellate Court to reconsider in light of its Shinaul decision), the answer on reconsideration was no. The key difference is an aspect of the procedural posture of the cases. In Shinaul, the State moved in the trial court to reinstate the nol-prossed counts and the motion was decided in a final order. On the State’s appeal, the Appellate Court was vested with the authority to review the trial court’s order in that respect and, if appropriate, reinstate the nol-prossed counts. In Daniels, by contrast, the State raised the issue of reinstatement for the first time on appeal. Therefore, the Daniels court found that it had no jurisdiction to consider the State’s request for reinstatement.