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Friday, April 10, 2015

Court Upholds Denial of Liquor License Based on Law Enforcement Problems

Last month, an Illinois appellate court upheld Chicago’s Local Liquor Commission’s denial of the issuance of a liquor license on the basis that it would “tend to create a law enforcement problem” for the City.  Move N Pick Convenience, Inc., v. Rahm Emanuel.

In early 2012, Move N Pick applied for a packaged goods liquor license.  Despite the background investigation revealing no criminal history, the Liquor Commission denied the license stating that a liquor license at the proposed location would “tend to create a law enforcement problem.”  The Commission cited a letter from the police district commander stating that calls for service and criminal activity would increase at that location if a liquor license were granted, and that the alderman and residents of the areas supported a denial of the license.  On appeal to the circuit court on administrative review, the court reversed the decision of the Commission, rejecting the City’s justification for the denial. 

The appellate court disagreed with the trial court, finding that denial of a liquor license on the basis that it would “tend to create a law enforcement problem” was sufficient regardless of the applicant never having violated liquor laws or other laws.  The appellate court determined that the City could base its decision on other factors that could create a law enforcement problem such as gang problems and a high number of calls for police service.  The court acknowledged that calls leading to arrests would tie up officers who would otherwise be addressing the gang and crime problems in the area.  As a result, the appellate court upheld the commission’s denial of the license.

Post Authored by Tiffany Jaworski, Ancel Glink


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