The Illinois Supreme Court’s September Term begins Tuesday, September 10, 2019, with oral arguments scheduled for September 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19. A total of 19 cases will be heard – 5 criminal and 14 civil. The following criminal cases are scheduled for argument this Term:
People v. Muhammad Abdullah, No. 123492
People v. Ashanti Lusby, No. 124046
People v. Vivian Brown, No. 124100
People v. Quentin Bates, No. 124143
People v. Conrad Morger, No. 123643 (Godfrey, IL)
Below is a summary for one of these cases, People v. Vivian Brown. Summaries for this case and others pending in the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.
People v. Vivian Brown
Law enforcement responded to a call from defendant's husband reporting that defendant had fired a gun in their home. Upon arrival, police found a rifle beside defendant's bed but no evidence that she had fired the gun in the home. Because defendant did not have a Firearm Owner's Identification card (FOID card), she was charged with possession of a firearm without a FOID card. According to defendant, she was eligible for a FOID card at the time of her arrest.
This case is a direct appeal from the order of the White County Circuit Court that declared section 2(a)(1) of the FOID Card Act (430 ILCS 65/2(a)(1)) unconstitutional on its face and as applied under the Second Amendment. The court found two bases for striking the statute. First, the court held that requiring defendant to fill out a form, provide a picture ID, and pay a $10 fee to obtain a FOID card was an as-applied unconstitutional burden on her Second Amendment rights. Second, the court found that compliance with the FOID Card Act was impossible within one’s own home, rendering it facially unconstitutional as to those with guns in their homes.
Before the Illinois Supreme Court, the People first argue that the FOID Card Act is not an impermissible burden on the right to possess firearms in one's home. Second, the People assert that the circuit court erred by declaring the provision unconstitutional as applied to defendant based on facts other than those in her case. More specifically, the circuit court had raised two hypothetical scenarios (regarding constructive firearm possession in households with multiple residents) to justify the second basis for its order, neither of which describes defendant's circumstances.
Defendant argued that the circuit court correctly found that the FOID Card Act violates defendant's rights under the Illinois Constitution and that the People waived any argument to the contrary. Defendant also asserted that the circuit court's two findings were correct.
An amicus brief was filed in support of each party. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence supported the People; supporting defendant was a collection of gun rights groups, professors, and two state's attorneys.