Pro Se litigant takes his speeding ticket all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. We have a little fun and examine exactly why the police didn't follow the rules in this case.
I first talked about Cristopher Geiler and his battle with the Troy Police Department back in Episode 065 of the Criminal Nuggets Podcast.
If you recall…
This was the case featuring the pro se defendant who challenged the fact that the police department filed his speeding ticket with the clerk's office rather late.
In fact, the defendant was able to establish that the Troy City Police Department had a chronic habit of consistently violating the Illinois Supreme Court Rule requiring timely filing.
Argument Before Illinois Supreme Court
Well, now the Defendant has taken his case all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
The oral arguments were made available to the public. You can download them for yourself here.
You'll See That the State argued these main points:
- The Police Were Not Defiant
- Directory Rules Exist For a Reason
- Dismissal Is an Improper Remedy
- Illinois Supreme Court Rules Should Be Directory
The gist of the Defendant's argument was that…
The police should be expected to follow the rules just like the rest of us.
A Little Fun…
Yes, in this podcast I had a little fun at the expense of Assistant Attorney General Joshua M. Schneider.
I do, though, understand that he didn't exactly get to decide why the Troy City Police Department couldn't follow the rules.
Nonetheless, there are some important principles at play here. Following these arguments and keeping tabs on the case as it makes it way through the system is in our interest.
The Big Point
I always thought of this case as a balancing between the separation of powers.
The directory classification of rules was created because statutes were being passed without enforcement mechanisms. Legislatures were taking strong stands on police conduct, then not telling the court system what should happen after a violation.
It seems entirely appropriate for the Illinois Supreme Court to not get in the way of this. Lawmakers are on notice that if they want a certain thing to happen after a violation then they need to say that in the law.
The court won't make it up for them.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules Are Different
On the other hand, guess who makes up the Illinois Supreme Court Rules?
Hint: Look at the name of the rules.
The State was basically telling the Illinois Supreme Court Justices that their own rules are directory.
That's kind of a hard a sell to make.
I think the justices can decide for themselves if their rules are “real” rules or just directory rules.
There is nothing wrong with the Illinois Supreme Court deciding this case in favor of Cristopher Geiler and at the same time making a statement to police that when they make rules they really mean it.
If lawmakers want to make a statement that their rules are also “real” rules then they can say it as well…but they have to do it when they make the law that creates the rule.
Hey, if you thought this post was interesting then you may also want to look at my informal list of “cop gone wild” cases. I have been taking note and compiling all the cases that have gone through the Illinois criminal court system featuring some kind of questionable police conduct.
If you want to see this list of cases just hit the orange banner below.