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Thomas Brown v Illinois State Police

Molly B.

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This case is another example I am of the opinion a person should file for a pardon before appealing a FOID denial or revocation in court.  The IL Attorney General's office always argues for dismissal of the case because, without an attempt to seek a pardon, they argue not all other remedies have been sought prior to court appeal.  It will be interesting to see how the IL Supreme Court rules on this case.


There are other important points in this case that can be read here.

Video and audio of oral arguments.




Friday, September 17, 2021

Defendant seeks ruling on whether civil rights were restored by California statute

Capitol News Illinois


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to consider the laws of the state of California and the U.S. Constitution in ruling on one man’s eligibility to be issued a Firearm Owners Identification card by the Illinois State Police.


The high court heard oral arguments Thursday morning in Springfield in Thomas Brown v. the Illinois State Police, a case in which Brown is seeking to have his FOID rights restored so that he can participate in target shooting, hunting and be able to defend himself, according to a court filing.


Brown was a FOID cardholder for several years, most recently applying for and being granted renewal in 2013. But in 2016, he tried to purchase a gun at a federal firearm licensee, leading the Illinois State Police to conduct a background check. That unearthed a 2001 conviction in California on a “misdemeanor offense of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse” that he did not disclose on his FOID application, according to a filing before the Supreme Court. . .


In a 2020 case, Johnson v. the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled gun ownership is a “civil right” in terms of the federal provision, a precedent cited heavily in Brown’s court filings.

Brown’s attorney, James R. Angel of Princeton’s May, May, Angel & Harris, is primarily asking the Illinois Supreme Court to interpret whether a specific California law constitutes a restoration of civil rights.  . . .


The state argued the constitutional question is “premature” because Brown hasn’t even attempted all non-constitutional alternatives for rectifying the denial, including seeking pardon or expungement.  . . .


Brown’s case originated in Putnam County, where the court awarded him the FOID card and stated he had met the qualifications in the FOID statute. Angel said that decision was made in part as a response to the positive letter from Brown’s ex-wife and because Brown’s current wife has guns in their home with a court’s permission, indicating a lack of danger because no incidents have occurred.

The state appealed to the 3rd District Appellate Court, which reversed the Putnam County decision in a 2-1 vote. . .


“The exception (to federal law) cannot apply in this case, however, because Brown's California conviction was never expunged or set aside, Brown was never pardoned for that conviction, and Brown never had his civil rights revoked and restored in California as a result of that conviction,” he wrote.




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