Springfield –State Sen. Jason Barickman’s (R-Bloomington) legislation to stop governments from abusing outdated court rules to throw out citizen and business appeals has been passed by a unanimous vote of the Senate.
“You shouldn’t have the rules stacked against you when you’re attempting to fight a parking ticket or agency ruling,” said Barickman. “Our courts are supposed to be there to help hold the other branches of government accountable, not to have their rules used to block citizens from justice.”
Senate Bill 584 gets rid of an outdated rule that allows cases to be thrown out because someone misspelled or mislabeled their legal finding. The rule is only still in place in administrative courts, which are often used to appeal parking tickets or agency rulings. In both civil and criminal courts, filings can be amended to fix any spelling or naming errors.
Government entities, from police departments to school boards have frequently used the outdated rule to get cases thrown out for simple filing errors instead of being judged on the merits of the case itself.
“In every other place of law you can amend your filings, this simply brings administrative courts in line with the rules in place in civil and criminal courts,” said Barickman. “This is one more step we can take to modernize our government and make it more accessible, responsive and accountable to citizens.”
An initiative of the Illinois State Bar Association, Senate Bill 584 now heads to the House of Representatives for approval in that chamber.