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People v. Kail
Illinois Appellate Court
501 N.E.2d 979 (1986)
Officer Seeley stopped Susan Kail (defendant) for riding a bicycle on a business sidewalk, which violated a city ordinance. Seeley testified that she stopped Kail because she suspected that Kail was a prostitute and the police department had a policy of strictly enforcing all laws against suspected prostitutes. Seeley testified that she would not have stopped Kail had Seeley not suspected that Kail was a prostitute. After stopping Kail, Seeley noticed that Kail’s bicycle did not have a bell, which violated another city ordinance. Seeley charged Kail with failing to have a bell on her bicycle but did not charge Kail with biking on a sidewalk. Seeley then arrested Kail because Kail did not have adequate identification or $50 to post bond. Seeley acknowledged that in three years of working for the police department, Seeley had seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bicycles without bells but had never arrested anyone for that offense before encountering Kail. At the police station, law-enforcement officials recovered marijuana from Kail during an inventory search. Kail was charged with unlawful possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and the trial court convicted Kail and sentenced her to one year of incarceration. Kail appealed, arguing in part that the police department’s policy of enforcing all ordinances against suspected prostitutes violated her right to equal protection. The government (plaintiff) responded that the policy furthered a legitimate goal of eradicating prostitution from the community.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Webber, J.)
Dissent (Green, J.)
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