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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alderman Had Standing to Seek Removal of Another Alderman for Felony Convictions

Section 3.1-10-5(b) of the Illinois Municipal Code disqualifies a person from taking the oath of office for a municipal office if that person is in debt to the municipality or has been convicted of "any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony." 

In People ex rel. Wofford v. Brown, 2017 IL App (1st) 161118, the question was whether an alderman has standing to bring a lawsuit to enforce this statute against another alderman. The plaintiff alderman (along with two resident plaintiffs) sought the removal of Mr. Brown based on Brown's previous convictions of two felonies prior to being sworn into office in 2015.  Brown argued that plaintiffs did not have standing to enforce this statute, as only the states attorney or attorney general could bring such a suit. The court disagreed, finding that the alderman plaintiff did have standing to file an action in "quo warranto" to seek removal of Mr. Brown as alderman. Specifically, the alderman, as another city council member, has an interest in assuring that the legislative process is not tainted, and a duty to prevent an ineligible person from holding the office of alderman. 

The court did not address whether the other plaintiffs had standing, since they did not appeal the circuit court ruling that they did not. 

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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