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Thomas v ISP - Processing Delays & Fund Sweeps


mauserme
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SAF, ISRA SUE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE

OVER FOID CARD INACTION

The Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois State Rifle Association have filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Illinois State Police, ISP Director Brendan Kelly and Jessica Trame in her official capacity as Bureau Chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau, alleging they have allowed Firearm Owner Identification Card and Concealed Carry applications to languish for interminable periods, thus violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Illinois citizens.

 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Illinois residents Ryan A. Thomas and Goran Lazic. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David G. Sigale of Wheaton and Gregory Bedell of Chicago. The lawsuit is known as Thomas, et.al. v. Illinois State Police, et.al.

 

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division federal court, says ISP “has swept or transferred funds totaling more than $29,500,000.00 from the State Police Firearms Services Fund, the State Police Operations Assistance Fund, and the State Police Services Fund away from these funds and into other accounts.” According to the complaint, “The money was to be used for three purposes: administration of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (“FOID Card Act”), background checks for firearm-related services, and concealed carry licensing pursuant to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act (“FCCA”). Instead, the more than $29,500,000.00 has been subject to interfund transfers which are ostensibly to be repaid but which have not been, or swept into other accounts without an obligation to reimburse the funds at all.”

 

“The sweeping of funds has denied qualified Illinois citizens their rights and the ability to defend themselves and their families,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Because of this practice, ISP processing of FOID and concealed carry applications has slowed to a crawl, allowing paperwork to languish. That’s not just poor performance, it’s pathetic.”

 

“The citizens of Illinois have been delayed getting their FOID cards for months,” added ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “It is evident that these fund sweeps have caused these delays.”

 

Thomas has been fighting the system for nearly three years. He had previously held a FOID card and carry license, but lost them simply because he moved out of state for a while. Since his return, to be closer to his children. Lazic had a FOID and CCL appeal pending since 2017 when a charge against him was dismissed and later expunged.

 

“It is inexcusable that the ISP has simply allowed these cases to gather dust,” Gottlieb said. “Denial of rights under color of law is an abomination to the Second and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and Illinois state law. ISP has had plenty of time to do the right thing, and didn’t. Now we’re asking the court to make them do it.”

 

 

 

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

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Not when the IL Supreme Court has ruled fund sweeps are legal and there's a bill passed into law overwhelmingly by both houses allowing unused funds to be swept and used to pay bills.

The case is really about compelling the state to meet deadlines or otherwise fulfill its responsibilities in a timely manner, not the cessation or restoration of "swept" funds. The two named plaintiffs have been waiting since 2017 for their FOIDs and CCLs, although in this case they serve as representatives of everyone who has been waiting. Injunctive relief isn't sought only for them.

 

It's one thing to emphasize swept funds in the press release. Doing it in the case brief is a bad move IMO. It invites the judges to be confused or annoyed about the intent of the suit. I get that the SAF and ISRA want to make a political statement, but I'd rather they just try to win the case.

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Not when the IL Supreme Court has ruled fund sweeps are legal and there's a bill passed into law overwhelmingly by both houses allowing unused funds to be swept and used to pay bills.

The case is really about compelling the state to meet deadlines or otherwise fulfill its responsibilities in a timely manner, not the cessation or restoration of "swept" funds. The two named plaintiffs have been waiting since 2017 for their FOIDs and CCLs, although in this case they serve as representatives of everyone who has been waiting. Injunctive relief isn't sought only for them.It's one thing to emphasize swept funds in the press release. Doing it in the case brief is a bad move IMO. It invites the judges to be confused or annoyed about the intent of the suit. I get that the SAF and ISRA want to make a political statement, but I'd rather they just try to win the case.

I disagree. The sweep is indicative of at best indifference, and at worst malice, in issuing licenses in an efficient manner when they had more than ample funding to do so. It's a good move!

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Shouldn't the main concern be the fact that the ISP states the reason for delay is that they don't have the money available. Gee, maybe they should sweep money from somewhere else? Didn't Willis have a bill saying the Cost of FOID needed to be raised because of the ISP's lie, err, "Reason", of no money?

That is the point I was making. Not that funds couldn't be legally swept, but that they were available to be swept because the ISP isn't utilizing enough to properly perform the function for which they are mandated. If they didn't bring up the sweeps in the complaint, they would leave themselves open to a defense that ISP didn't have sufficient funds in the budget.

 

Kent doesn't seem to get the point.

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One thing that’s being overlooked here

 

https://www.courthousenews.com/illinois-accused-of-pulling-funds-for-gun-license-program/

 

CHICAGO (CN) – Illinois violates residents’ Second Amendment rights by starving its Firearm Owners ID card program of the funds it needs to operate, gun-rights groups claim in court.

 

The Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and two men currently in the application process for Illinois Firearm Owner ID cards sued the state police force in Chicago federal court Friday.

How this goes can affect more than just Illinois

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Not when the IL Supreme Court has ruled fund sweeps are legal and there's a bill passed into law overwhelmingly by both houses allowing unused funds to be swept and used to pay bills.

 

Good luck.

Having seen this several times iirc now.

The law allows unused funds to be swept.......how can they sweep funds BEFORE they are considered as unused?

Seems they should somehow ask the question of do we sweep the left over funds each year or sweep out what we want and leave what we think they will need!

 

Just me, but it seems they again left a door open for corruption and pilfering of funds.

Unused funds would be in my mind those left over after operations.

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...

So, anyone on our side saying.......oh, look at my shocked face when show all the money missing from the ISP funds is not being truthful.

...

 

 

I am not suggesting they intended for this to happen.

 

I am stating they can't act shocked that it did after they voted for the bill.

...

I think that's exactly what you're suggesting.

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Maybe I'm wrong but I see this a bit differently. It's one thing to sweep funds that are apportioned through the budget process but it's entirely different when the funds are licensing fees meant to fund the licensing process. People pay those fees with the understanding it is used to process their FOID/CCL as the law says it will. If it is not needed or used for that purpose that fee should be discontinued until the courts rule the FOID/CCL requirement is unconstitutional.
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Maybe I'm wrong but I see this a bit differently. It's one thing to sweep funds that are apportioned through the budget process but it's entirely different when the funds are licensing fees meant to fund the licensing process. People pay those fees with the understanding it is used to process their FOID/CCL as the law says it will. If it is not needed or used for that purpose that fee should be discontinued until the courts rule the FOID/CCL requirement is unconstitutional.

 

I'm trying to stop, I really am.

 

That's exactly what the other organization fought for, got specific laws passed, and got lower court rulings in their favor.

 

The state supreme court ruled otherwise and no funds are special. The governor or the legislative bodies can use them as they see fit.

 

Now the new law actually exempted and made at least 3 funds "special", which goes against the court's ruling. That's a different issue, but it does boggle the mind.

 

Please, i'm begging, go talk to that organization. The last I knew, this organization included an ISRA membership form with their own membership renewals.

 

They keep 3 funds from being swept. Ask them how they do that, please.

 

I think that's exactly what you're suggesting.

 

 

You're wrong, just stating the history and the facts.

 

In 2011 the State Supreme Court issued their ruling. The law was passed in 2018. There's a 30 year history of fund sweeps.

 

Should I show my shocked face?

 

 

Can you cite the case? Would like to read it.

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Can you cite the case? Would like to read it.

ABATE of Illinois v Quinn (2011) decided basically that special funds, like the motorcycle training fund, are not irrevocable trusts and can be swept into the general fund. Special funds are derived from sources other than income tax revenue. For the ABATE case, the funds were derived from motorcycle licensing fees.

Edited by Euler
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The fund sweep may have been done with the intention of causing illegal delays which exposes the government officials to to deprivation of rights under color of law lawsuits as well as potentially being exposed the prosecution by the feds for the same. Also if 2 or more individuals conspired to raid the funds with the intention to cause the illegal delays they also can be sued for conspiracy against rights as well as be prosecuted by the feds for the same.

Edited by borgranta
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The fund sweep may have been done with the intention of causing illegal delays which exposes the government officials to to deprivation of rights under color of law lawsuits as well as potentially being exposed the prosecution by the feds for the same. Also if 2 or more individuals conspired to raid the funds with the intention to cause the illegal delays they also can be sued for conspiracy against rights as well as be prosecuted by the feds for the same.

 

That's what I wrote here, pretty much dead on.

Edited by ChicagoRonin70
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One small thing that folks can do to support SAF, is they are on the list for charitable contributions with the amazon smile. If you shop amazon anyway, might as well send that little bit to SAF.

 

Yep, I am doing that starting last month. I make about $20,000-$30,000 worth of purchases on Amazon for my home and business every year, according to my credit card company, so that's about $100-$150 per year going to the SAF.

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  • 6 months later...

Seems like this one has been lost a bit on this forum. As it is now, I feel this should be considered a very important case to watch.

 

I've been following this particular one quite closely as of late. This should be considered significant to know: It's a lawsuit specifically about denials and appeals for FOID/CCL. At issue isn't renewals/new applications for FOID/CCL--that's already in a different lawsuit filed in late July.

The fund sweeps being mentioned seem more of a fact that was mentioned. That's not the main issue at hand, and in fact is barely mentioned in the 20 pages of the filed case. They also make it clear that this has been going on long before COVID-19.

 

 

Also there's been updates to this: The two original individual plaintiffs both got their cards issued in less than 2 weeks after filing. It's almost like the ISP did this deliberately to try and make this lawsuit go away... Another individual plaintiff was added. It's no longer injunctive relief and was amended seeking class action relief. So it's not just about 2-3 people anymore: It's anyone in IL faced with a denial/appeal.

 

Amended filing:

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.ilnd.373136/gov.uscourts.ilnd.373136.16.0_1.pdf

 

ISP has a deadline of tomorrow (8/9/2020) to reply. They have been filing for delay after delay. So be interesting to see how they respond.

 

 

 

Also if you're wondering if ISRA is doing anything, I think you have your answer. Also their LAC fund is 501©(3) status so tax deductible too. https://www.isra.org/Participate/Make-a-Donation

Edited by hceuterpe
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I don’t see anything in the amended file about seeking class certification. Are you getting this from somewhere else?

 

 

Check my PDF link. It's 20 pages, instead of the original 16. It has an updated date of 6/10/2020: "AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR CLASS ACTION RELIEF IN LAW AND EQUITY "

 

Again here: https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.ilnd.373136/gov.uscourts.ilnd.373136.16.0_1.pdf

Edited by hceuterpe
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  • 3 weeks later...

So after months of filing for extensions. This week ISP filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction for this case. Let's hope the court denies the motion. But basically this buys them yet another near 2 months.

 

 

 

MOTION by Defendants Brendan F. Kelly, Jessica Trame, Illinois State Police to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction (Kozar, Amanda) (Entered: 08/24/2020)

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Mary M. Rowland: Plaintiffs' response to Defendants' motion to dismiss 26 is due 9/22/20. Defendants' reply due 10/13/20. The court will rule by mail. Mailed notice. (dm, ) (Entered: 08/25/2020)

Edited by hceuterpe
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  • 2 weeks later...

Illinois has a long history of fund sweeps. That fee you pay every time you get new tires that was passed with the pledge for it to fund vector related issues (used tires are major breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry West Nile). Swept. Lots of special funds routinely get swept. Is it right? Absolutely not. Is it legal? According to the courts so far. Until the courts stop them, they'll continue to do it.

 

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  • 2 months later...

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16788489/thomas-v-illinois-state-police/

 

34

 

Oct 16, 2020

 

Second AMENDED complaint by Ryan A. Thomas, Second Amendment Foundation, Inc., Illinois State Rifle Association, Goran Lazic, Dovoni R. Singleton, Manish Motwani against All Defendants (Sigale, David) (Entered: 10/16/2020)

 

Main Doc

 

36

 

Oct 19, 2020

 

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Mary M. Rowland: Without objection, the court grants defendants' motion to reassign 29 Bradley et al. v. Kelly et al., 20-CV-4270 (N.D.Ill. Guzman, J.). The Court finds that reassignment is proper under Local Rule 40.4 since both cases involve the same organizational plaintiffs (with different individual plaintiffs) asserting that members were denied Firearm Owners Identification Cards (FOID) by defendants. The cases challenge the defendants' conduct as violating the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. Per LR 40.4, both cases are pending in this court and transfer will save judicial resources since the same or similar legal issues will arise in both cases. Finally, the plaintiffs in Thomas (20-734) filed an Amended Complaint 34 on 10/16/20 so reassignment at this point will not result in any delay. Mailed notice. (dm, ) (Entered: 10/19/2020)

 

Main Doc

 

37

 

Oct 22, 2020

 

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Mary M. Rowland: Telephonic status set for 10/30/20 at 11:00 AM. Counsel shall call 866-434-5269, access code 3751971. Mailed notice. (dm, ) (Entered: 10/22/2020)

 

Main Doc

 

38

 

Oct 30, 2020

 

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Mary M. Rowland: Telephonic status hearing held. Parties appeared telephonically. Responsive pleadings due 12/14/20. Parties shall agree upon a date to exchange Rule 26(a) disclosures. If defendants answer further status will be set. If defendants file a motion to dismiss, the court will set a briefing schedule. Mailed notice. (dm, ) (Entered: 10/30/2020)

 

Main Doc

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  • 2 months later...

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