Thursday, July 20, 2017

Illinois Appellate Court Holds It Lacks Jurisdiction to Vacate Erroneously Assessed Fines and Fees Raised on Appeal for First Time from Collateral Proceeding

By Andrew Kwalwaser
Law Clerk to Hon. Thomas E. Hoffman, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

In People v. Grigorov, 2017 IL App (1st) 143274, a panel of the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court granted a defendant's request for presentencing detention credit but found that it lacked jurisdiction over other claims that he raised for the first time on appeal.
In April 2014, the defendant, George Grigorov, pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and driving on a revoked or suspended license. The circuit court sentenced him to concurrent prison terms of six and three years, respectively, with "all mandatory fines, fees, and court costs." He did not file a Rule 604(d) motion to reconsider his sentence or withdraw his plea, nor did he file a timely notice of appeal. In August 2014, however, he filed a petition pursuant to section 5-9-2 of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-9-2 (West 2014)), requesting that the circuit court vacate $6,000 in imposed "assessments" due to his inability to pay. In September 2014, the circuit court denied the petition.
On appeal, the defendant abandoned his claim that his fines should be revoked due to his inability to pay and argued, for the first time, that (1) he should receive $975 in presentencing detention credit against his fines pursuant to section 110-14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/110-14 (West 2012)), and (2) certain fines and fees were erroneously assessed.

Friday, July 14, 2017

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Speak in Chicago on September 11

On Monday, September 11, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will speak at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago with United States Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams.

Justice Ginsburg, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1993, will discuss her life and judicial career. Judge Williams has served on the Seventh Circuit since 1999 and recently assumed senior status.

Individual tickets go on sale on July 28 at 10 a.m. and are $35 for the general public.

Please visit here for more information.

New Facebook Group Fosters Discussion of Illinois' New Appellate E-Filing System

With the recent introduction of Illinois’ new appellate e-filing system, questions abound among participants, including lawyers, staff, and court staff. To foster a collegial forum in which all ALA members and nonmembers can openly discuss difficulties encountered and solutions discovered, the Appellate Lawyers Association is pleased to announce a new Facebook group, “Unofficial Illinois Appellate E-Filing Tips,” which can be accessed here.

While this group is not ALA-affiliated, our membership will benefit from the chance to ask questions and offer answers. The ALA encourages you to share this announcement with your colleagues and friends—all are welcome.

DISCLAIMER:  The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sanctions: Combating Improper Conduct in the Appellate Court

By Kimberly Glasford
Law Clerk to Hon. Terrence J. Lavin, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

Appellate practitioners who want to avoid sanctions under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 375 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994) should consult the First District’s decision in Oruta v. Biomat USA, Inc., 2017 IL App (1st) 152789, which provides a good example of what not to do. The decision also reminds practitioners of a potential resource for combating obnoxious litigants.

On January 14, 2013, the circuit court dismissed with prejudice plaintiff Oruta’s pro se claims against defendant Biomat USA, Inc. In September 2015, however, the plaintiff moved to file a service of summons against the defendant. The court denied that motion on September 29, 2015, noting that the court had dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant 32 months earlier. The plaintiff immediately filed a notice of appeal and filed an amended notice on May 20, 2016. Both notices of appeal, as well as the plaintiff’s appellate brief, stated that the circuit court entered a final judgment years earlier on January 23, 2012. That being said, the notice of appeal identified the 2015 order as the judgment being appealed.

The reviewing court found the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the court had jurisdiction to entertain his appeal. If a final judgment was entered in 2012, the 2015 notice of appeal was filed well after the requisite 30-day filing period set forth by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(a) (eff. Jan. 1, 2015). Similarly, the plaintiff’s brief set forth no basis for the reviewing court to exercise jurisdiction over the 2013 order. Furthermore, the 2015 order was not appealable, as a final judgment was allegedly entered in 2012. Accordingly, the court agreed with the defendant’s sole contention that the appeal should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Yet, the reviewing court found more was required.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July 1: Mandatory E-Filing in Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts

Beginning July 1, both the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts will ONLY accept electronically filed notices of appeal, docketing statements and appearances from the parties’ attorneys.  Additionally, the reviewing courts will ONLY accept electronically filed records on appeal from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In order to e-file with the reviewing courts, attorneys must register at the Illinois Courts’ website. There, attorneys can also find other resources about e-filing and instructions on how to e-file.

Also beginning July 1, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County will ONLY accept the submission of trial exhibits, reports of proceedings and supplemental records through its online portal. From this portal, the Clerk will transmit the pertinent records directly to Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts.

The portal is available on the Clerk’s website along with additional resources and instructions.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. 


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Evan Siegel Installed as 50th President of the Appellate Lawyers Association

By Josh Wolff
Law Clerk to Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

On Thursday, June 22, the Appellate Lawyers Association installed Evan Siegel as its 50th President. The installation luncheon was held at the Union League Club in Chicago and began with 49th President Joanne Driscoll's opening remarks, which also recapped a wonderful bar year for the ALA. 

Following President Driscoll's remarks, Karen DeGrand introduced Evan, emphasizing how once he joined the ALA, he immediately became involved with the Association's events, including writing an opinion for the 2007 Moot Court Competition. Karen discussed how over the years, Evan had made a tremendous impact within the ALA, including most recently his push to improve the ALA's website and its social media presence. After speaking to Evan's various professional accomplishments, she described Evan out of the workplace as a world traveler, avid cyclist, family man and voracious reader. At the conclusion of her introduction, she swore Evan in as the ALA's 50th President. 

Credit: Chris Ocken/
Evan began his installation speech, thanking those in attendance for the privilege to serve as the ALA's President. Evan discussed his 12-year involvement with the ALA and some of the highlights of his experiences. He talked about the ALA's core components of collegiality, civility, and collaboration and how those components guide not only the ALA, but also the appellate law world. 

Evan informed the ALA that his agenda for the upcoming bar year will focus on three main goals: (1) "continue to be engaged in the use of new technologies that modernize the practice of appellate law and bar association membership;" (2) "become an active partner with other bar associations;" and (3) "serve as a bridge between federal and state appeals practice, with a renewed emphasis on programming that informs and educates the bar about the workings of the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Supreme Court."

Evan also previewed three events for the upcoming bar year. On October 20, the ALA will host a program on the Seventh Circuit’s recent major decisions, featuring Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois, Michael Scodro, partner at Mayer Brown, and David Franklin, Illinois Solicitor General. On November 15, the ALA will host "Patterns and Practice: How Analyzing the Illinois Supreme Court Can Boost Your Appeals,” an event featuring Kirk Jenkins, who uses analytics to study and explain the workings of the Illinois Supreme Court and other courts of final appeal in the nation’s largest states. On December 7, the ALA will host a roundtable luncheon featuring the Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Evan's installation was also featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (behind a paywall). 

Everyone in the ALA looks forward to another successful bar year with Evan as our president. We also thank Joanne Driscoll immensely for her contributions this past year, as well as everyone else in the ALA who contributed.

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Persuasive Statement of Facts: Reoccurring Expert Tips on How to Write An Effective Facts Section of a Brief

By Louis J. Manetti
Attorney, Codilis and Associates, PC

The facts section of a brief can—and should—lend itself to the overall advocacy of the brief. The advocate who writes it as a necessary-but-unimportant regurgitation of events misses a valuable opportunity to persuade. Appellate experts give reoccurring advice to maximize the statement of facts.

Drafting an effective statement of facts is crucial to an appellate lawyer’s advocacy. Chief Justice William Rehnquist said, “[t]he brief writer must immerse himself in this chaos of detail and bring order to it by organizing[.]” Ross Guberman, Point Made 93 (2d ed. 2014). The facts section is the lawyer’s opportunity to organize in a compelling way: to cull the determinative facts from the chaos of the cold—and often long—record. Legal writing guru Bryan Garner and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stress the importance of facts: “Don’t underestimate the importance of facts. To be sure, you will be arguing to the court about the law, but what law applies—what cases are in point, and what cases can be distinguished—depends ultimately on the facts of your case.” Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, Making Your Case 9 (2008).

In his seminal work, Effective Appellate Advocacy, Frederick Wiener warns, “[t]he greatest mistake any lawyer can make, after he has written a fine brief on the law, is to toss in a dry statement of facts and send the thing off to the printer.” Frederick Bernays Wiener, Effective Appellate Advocacy 34 (revised ed. 2004). The strength of the facts section lies in its “selection and juxtaposition, without of course ever appearing to involve the irrelevant.” Id. at 36.

Like every other portion of the brief, the facts section should strive to persuade. Wiener instructs that the facts section, “should always be written in such a way as to advance the cause of the party on whose behalf it is prepared.” Id. Justice Scalia and Garner agree that the facts section must be designed to persuade: “[y]ou advance that objective by your terminology, by your selection and juxtaposition of the facts, and by the degree of prominence you give to each.” Scalia & Garner, supra at 94. And the effective brief obeys the maxim of “show, don’t tell.” That is, the lawyer should resist the urge to characterize the facts and tell the court what they mean. “Devote your energies instead to combing through the record in search of facts that are so clear and so strong that they make your case on their own.” Guberman, supra at 67.