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Powell v IL - Racial impact of gun violence


Euler

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There have been previous threads on this case.

Three Children and their guardians v Illinois - ADA complaint

Federal judge declines IL request to dismiss lawsuit to force more gun restrictions

Those topics are now locked, but the case is still ongoing. The case was filed in the Northern Illinois Federal District Court in October 2018.

 

Docket

Complaint said:

DEMETRIA POWELL, as guardian ad litem and on behalf of her son D.P.; TANYA REESE, as guardian ad litem and on behalf of her son M.R.; and TYWANNA PATRICK, as guardian ad litem and on behalf of her granddaughter J.C., as well as on behalf of a class of similarly situated children,

Plaintiffs,

v.

THE STATE OF ILLINOIS; THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE; BRUCE RAUNER, Governor of the State of Illinois; and LEO P. SCHMITZ, Director of the Illinois Department of State Police,

Defendants.

...

Chicago Is Awash In Gun Violence

...

A Substantial Number of the "Crime Guns" Used in Chicago Come from Chicago Area Gun Dealers

...

The State of Illinois Has Failed To Implement Meaningful Regulation of Gun Trafficking in Illinois, Despite Ample Authority to Do So

...

The Pervasive Gun Violence in Chicago's African-American Neighborhoods Has Caused Thousands of African-American Children to Become Disabled Under the ADA

...

The Plaintiffs' Exposure to Gun Violence Has Left Them Disabled Under the ADA

...

The State of Illinois Is Responsible for Providing Plaintiffs With a High Quality Education

...

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray that this Court:

 

A. Declare that the defendants have violated the rights of the plaintiffs under 740 ILCS 23/5(a)(2), by failing to take reasonable steps to control the gun trafficking that is having an adverse impact on African-American children.

 

B. Enter an injunction requiring that the defendant Illinois Department of State Police exercise its authority, under applicable law, to adopt reasonable gun trafficking regulations in order to reduce the level of gun violence, including rules and regulations such as those contained in paragraph 28 above, in order to eliminate the adverse racial impact of gun violence on African-American children.

 

C. Grant plaintiffs their reasonable attorneys' fees, costs and such other relief as may be appropriate.

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On 30 September 2019, the judge dismissed all plaintiffs other than Demetria Powell on behalf of her son for lack of standing, but otherwise allowed the suit to move forward.


On 15 October 2019, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, based on mootness due to then-recently-enacted state Gun Dealer Licensing Act. On 18 December 2019, the judge denied the defendant motion to dismiss on the basis that gun dealer licensing does not compel the state to implement regulations to reduce violence. (The plaintiffs want the state to reduce violence. The judge said that gun dealer licensing won't make the state do that.) The defendants argued that the plaintiffs should therefore amend their complaint to oppose the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. [umm ... LOL, but good try] The judge denied that argument, too.


On 28 July 2021, Powell filed an amended complaint that added a new plaintiff and changed the case and remedies a bit.

 

First Amended Complaint said:

DEMETRIA POWELL, as guardian ad litem and on behalf of her son D.P.; and SHANICE MATHEWS as guardian ad litem on behalf of her son, D.W. as well as on behalf of a class of similarly situated children,

Plaintiffs,

v.

THE STATE OF ILLINOIS; THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE; J.B. PRITZKER, Governor of the State of Illinois; and BRENDAN KELLY, Director of the Illinois Department of State Police,

Defendants.

...

The Public Health Emergency in Chicago

...

A Substantial Number of the "Crime Guns" Used in Chicago Come from Chicago Area Gun Dealers

...

The State of Illinois Has Failed To Implement Meaningful Gun Trafficking Prevention Regulation in Illinois, Despite Ample Authority to Do So

...

The Pervasive Gun Violence in Chicago's African-American Neighborhoods Has Caused Thousands of African-American Children to Become Disabled Under the ADA

...

The Plaintiffs' Exposure to Gun Violence Has Left Them Disabled Within the Meaning of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

...

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray that this Court:

 

A. Certify the proposed class.

 

B. Declare that by failing to use the full regulatory authority to prevent illegal gun trafficking and straw sales as described above, the defendants have used methods of administration that have subjected the plaintiff children to discrimination based upon race in violation of 740 ILCS 23/5(a)(2), by

 

C. Enter an injunction requiring that the defendants to use their full regulatory authority prevent exposure of the plaintiff children to the violence that is resulting from illegal gun trafficking and straw sales

 

D. Grant plaintiffs their reasonable attorneys' fees, costs and such other relief as may be appropriate.

 

Most notably, the amended complaint focuses more on reducing the diversion of legal firearms into the illegal market and less on curbing violence itself.

 

Edited by Euler
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On 13 October 2021, the defense filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint on the basis that the injuries (childhood PTSD) could not be traced to the defendants, nor would they be redressed by government regulation, and that the plaintiffs had not been denied access to any program on the basis of race or disability.

 

On 24 November 2021, Powell amended the complaint again to reintroduce an alleged violation of the Illinois Civil Rights Act in place of an alleged violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as the original complaint had done. This change addresses the dismissal argument regarding access to programs.

 

On 17 December 2021, the defense filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint. [The text of that motion is not available to me, but is probably substantially the same as the motion from 13 October.]

 

A ruling on the motion to dismiss is still pending. The court has also not yet certified the suit as a class action.

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On 4/19/2022 at 12:50 AM, Euler said:

... The defendants argued that the plaintiffs should therefore amend their complaint to oppose the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. [umm ... LOL, but good try] The judge denied that argument, too.

...

 

I know I just dumped a lot of words into the forum, but I thought I should add a few more to explain my editorial comment above, just in case anyone missed it in the flood.

 

Remember that the defendants are Illinois state agencies and the governor. When "the defendants" argue something, that's the office of Illinois Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, arguing it.

 

So ...

 

... Kwame Raoul (JB Pritzker's attorney general) ...

 

... is saying that Demetria Powell (a black mother from Chicago) et al. ...

 

... should oppose Illinois gun dealer licensing in their suit.

 

That is so bizarre, "LOL" is but a token of my amusement.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

As of June 10:

  • The judge denied, without prejudice, the plaintiff's motion to certify the lawsuit as a class action. ("Without prejudice" means that Mathews, the plaintiff, can still try to get the suit certified as a class action, if she can come up with a better argument.)
  • The defendants have added the signing of "ghost" gun legislation (HB4383) as evidence that IL is already attempting to reduce "gun" violence.
  • Since Powell has withdrawn as a plaintiff, the case has been recaptioned "Mathews v IL."
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  • 2 months later...

As of August 16:

  • The plaintiff has reapplied to have the case certified as a class action.
  • The defense has issued a press release announcing "Crime Gun Connect," a statewide online database of "crime guns." It argues that this system satisfies the plaintiff's complaint to establish a statewide system to trace firearms and that the case should therefore be dismissed. While the plaintiff does not contest the existence of the system, the judge pointed out that neither the press release nor any supplemental information provides any information relating to the system's completeness and thus its implied effectiveness. Therefore the system and its associated press release are insufficient grounds to dismiss the case.

 

Edited by Euler
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/18/2022 at 11:34 PM, Euler said:

There have been previous threads on this case.

Three Children and their guardians v Illinois - ADA complaint

Federal judge declines IL request to dismiss lawsuit to force more gun restrictions

Those topics are now locked, but the case is still ongoing. The case was filed in the Northern Illinois Federal District Court in October 2018.

 

Docket

 

Yet another thread: Illinois Politics > Does Lax Enforcement of Illinois Gun Legislation Violate Victims’ Civil Rights?

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On 4/23/2022 at 6:50 AM, mab22 said:


So let’s sue California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas for the country being awash in illegal aliens and terrorists flooding the border. 
 

That's thanks to the Federal government's inaction - not the states.     So let's sue the Feds.

Edited by BobPistol
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  • 2 months later...
  • 7 months later...

On June 30, the judge ordered the parties to file briefs regarding if/how the US Supreme Court's decisions in US v TX (22-58) and DEd v Brown (22-535) affect the defendants' motion to dismiss this suit. The schedule is as follows:

 

July 12: defendants' brief due, not to exceed 7 pages

July 19: plaintiffs' response due, not to exceed 7 pages

July 26: defendants' reply due, not to exceed 5 pages

 

US v TX (22-58) was an 8-1 decision on June 23 that TX and LA lack standing to challenge federal immigration policy that prioritizes deporting certain non-citizens over others. The decision didn't analyze federal policy itself, only whether the states had standing to challenge it.

 

DEd v Brown (22-535) was a 9-0 decision on June 30 that two individual borrowers lack standing to challenge the administration's student debt forgiveness plan. As above, the decision didn't analyze the plan, only whether individuals had standing to challenge it. To challenge a policy in federal court, individual plaintiffs must show that at least one of them has been harmed by the policy. (In another decision on June 30, the court ruled 6-3 in Biden v Nebraska [22-506] that the administration exceeded its authority to establish the plan.)

 

So the judge appears to be asking the parties if individuals have standing to challenge the state's gun control policies, which is suddenly an angle that could go sideways for everybody.

 

Remember that in this case, the plaintiffs are demanding that Illinois enact MORE gun control (whether in the form of laws or unilateral executive actions, but mostly in the form of unilateral executive actions), because they say there's not enough gun control.

 

Edited by Euler
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  • 3 weeks later...
On July 1, 2023 at 11:56 PM, Euler said:
On June 30, the judge ordered the parties to file briefs regarding if/how the US Supreme Court's decisions in US v TX (22-58) and DEd v Brown (22-535) affect the defendants' motion to dismiss this suit. The schedule is as follows:

July 12: defendants' brief due, not to exceed 7 pages
...

On July 12, the government filed its brief on time. It continues to assert that plaintiffs have no standing. It adds that these Supreme Court cases support that assertion.

Illinois said:
...
In United States v. Texas ..., the Supreme Court ... explained that enforcement decisions are constrained by resources, depend on changing public safety and welfare needs, and require a complicated balancing process that "leaves courts without meaningful standards" for assessing those policies.
...
The Court confirmed that it is inappropriate for courts to encroach on the executive agency's authority to enforce the law, particularly when there are no "meaningful standards" for courts to assess the propriety of the challenged executive enforcement decisions.
...
[I]n Department of Education v. Brown ... [t]he primary basis for the Court's decision, however, was that the line of causation between the Department's promulgation of the loan forgiveness plan under one statute, and its decision not to provide broader benefits pursuant to a different statute, was "attenuated at best" and too dependent upon "conjecture" to support standing.
...
Like the plaintiffs in Brown, who wanted the Department of Education to create an expanded loan forgiveness program, Plaintiff here requests that ISP implement additional regulations.
...
Edited by Euler
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On July 19, the plaintiffs filed their response on time. It continues to assert that plaintiffs do have standing, since the Texas and Brown Supreme Court cases do not apply.

Plaintiff response said:
...
First, the Texas Court was reluctant to grant standing ... to challenge federal officer discretion. ... Plaintiff here challenges a total failure of the Illinois State Police ("ISP") even to require dealers to use responsible business practices. ... Plaintiff also challenges the failure to collect guns from those whose Firearm Owners Identification ("FOID") cards have been or should be revoked -- not a discretionary decision, but a statutory duty.

Second, ... Plaintiff Mathews has an express statutory cause of action to require agency action unlawfully withheld under laws prohibiting discrimination. ... Section 504 [of the Illinois Civil Rights Act] authorizes a legal challenge to any "program or activity" that fails to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to the needs of disabled individuals. ... Plaintiff has standing to seek a modification of any program that subjects her child to discrimination because of race or disability.
...
In the Brown case, the Supreme Court rejected a claim for a rule-making procedure that might give the parties a "chance" for inclusion in a debt relief program that the U.S. Department of Education had no duty to provide ....

... The ISP's breach of duty has caused Plaintiff an injury, traceable to the ISP, and is redressable by an order to the ISP to provide the very accommodation it has so far denied. ... As Plaintiff has alleged, there is a substantial factual basis to conclude that the enforcement of the [Firearm Dealer Licensing Certification Act] and FOID Act will lead to: (1) fewer illegal guns available, which in turn will lead to (2) lower levels of violence where the children live, which in turn will lead to (3) fewer incidents of violence and gunfire that re-traumatize the children.
...

The argument that the ISP has a duty to enforce the law is shaky. It'll be interesting to see if the ICRA argument has legs. Being poor, urban, and black equating to a disability may make a good emotional point, but I don't believe any court has found it to be strictly factual.
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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On November 13, the defendants filed a motion for an extension to respond to the amended complaint.

On November 15, the judge granted an extension to December 15.

On December 15, the plaintiffs responded with a motion to dismiss the complaint.

On December 19, the judge set the following schedule:

Jan 31: plaintiffs' response due
Feb 21: defendants' reply due
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  • 1 month later...

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