Campton Hills trustee takes office despite challenge by state's attorney
Kane County State's Attorney's Jamie Mosser has asked a judge to decide whether Timothy Morgan can serve as a Campton Hills village trustee despite his having a felony conviction.
But Judge Kevin Busch denied her request to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Morgan from taking his seat at Tuesday night's village board meeting.
Mosser's office filed the quo warranto and temporary restraining order requests Tuesday morning, and a hearing on the temporary restraining order was held before Judge Kevin Busch early Tuesday afternoon. "Quo warranto" requires a defendant to show by what authority he or she is allowed to hold an office.
Assistant State's Attorney Donald O'Brien said a TRO was needed because Morgan was likely going to vote on village business Tuesday night, such as paying the village's bills.
Busch disagreed, however, that it was an emergency situation, and denied the TRO. He noted that Morgan won the April 4 election and that the Kane County clerk certified the results.
"It would be reckless and against the law for this court to now grant emergency relief and remove him," Busch said. "Plus, I'm not convinced this is an emergency."
At Tuesday's board meeting, two residents spoke against Morgan's serving on the board. One criticized the board for not waiting to seat Morgan until the legal challenge is removed. Another said he didn't think the people of Campton Hills would support having a felon on the board.
Morgan was convicted in Michigan in 2002 of driving under the influence of alcohol. He had previously been convicted twice of DUI in Ohio. Under Illinois law, a third conviction for DUI is a felony.
Morgan declined to be sworn in May 2 when other trustees were sworn in, and submitted a letter saying he would not take office.
But the next week, he changed his mind and said new legal advice convinced him he was eligible. A notary public at a bank administered the oath.
Mosser contends that state law prohibits felons from holding office unless they take action to restore their citizenship rights. She also contends that Morgan violated the Illinois Municipal Code by taking the oath of office, and because he did so he vacated the office.
Morgan's attorney told Busch that under Michigan law, citizenship rights are automatically restored.
Busch will hear arguments on the quo warranto complaint June 23.