LAW AMENDED AFTER BEING HELD UNCONSTITUIONAL
"In 2013, Vincent Rizzo was charged with aggravated speeding for allegedly driving 100 miles per hour in a 55 mph speed zone, and with improper lane usage for allegedly cutting in between two semi-trucks at a high rate of speed. At the time, supervision was not an available disposition for those who drove more than 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. Rizzo's counsel, however, persuaded the trial court that denying a driver of the possibility of supervision was unconstitutional. While noting that the Legislature has a legitimate interest in enacting legislation that defines and criminalizes excessive speeding, the circuit court found that denying a defendant the dispositional option of court supervision for speeding more than 40 mph over the speed limit was "cruel and degrading punishment." Notable was the trial court's concern that the Legislature was interfering
with a judge's ability to exercise discretion in imposing sentence.
On direct appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the trial court. People v. Rizzo, 2016 IL 118599.
Specially concurring, Justice Burke, with whom Justice Freeman joined, agreed with the result, but wrote that because the absence of supervision as a possible disposition is not a penalty, the only question that needed to be addressed was whether a mandatory misdemeanor penalty for the offense of aggravated speeding was so cruel and degrading to the offense that it shocked the moral sense of the community and thereby violated the proportionate penalty clause shocked the moral sense of the community. Justice Burke also stated a concern that the majority had been heavy-handed in its criticism of the trial judge. Justice Burke noted the circuit court's expressed concern about the inability to consider supervision for someone who, for example, was speeding because of a medical emergency, and observed that the Legislature had, as this case was pending, amended the relevant statutes to make supervision an optional disposition for first offenders." By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate DefenderREAD THE FULL ARTICLE HERE