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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Enforcing Adjudication Orders on Local Ordinance Violations

Many communities encounter some difficulty in enforcing their ordinances through their local adjudication process.  Although municipal officials and police officers issue the citations, sometimes the offenders do not bother to show up for the local adjudication session and others refuse to obey a final order entered by the hearing officer finding the offenders guilty of the violation and assessing a fine.   Collection efforts by the municipality are rarely successful.  What can a municipality do to enforce its local adjudication order?

For a non-home rule municipality, the Illinois Municipal Code authorizes a municipality to petition the circuit court to convert an order of the local adjudication officer to a judgment of the court for ordinance violations.  65 ILCS 5/1-2.2-55.  It is a simple, statutory procedure, and a municipality can also request the court to enter an order compelling the property owner to abate the condition or repair a code violation. The municipality can then file a memorandum of judgment against the offender's property that, in most circumstances, will have to be cleared before the owner is able to sell the property.  Alternatively, the municipality could foreclose on that judgment if it is worthwhile to take that step.

A home-rule municipality is not required to apply to the court for a judgment and can simply record the hearing officer's final order from the adjudication with the county recorder.  That recorded order then becomes a judgment lien that is enforceable as is any other judicial lien against the offender's property.  65 ILCS 5-1-2.1-8.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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