Fifth District reverses and vacates FOID card ruling; Man convicted in '93 for cocaine possession will not get FOID

By Erianne Leatherman | Apr 23, 2018

MT VERNON – Fifth District appellate judges reversed and vacated a decision of the circuit court of Jefferson County in an appeal involving a felon and a FOID card.

In the decision filed April 12, Justices Judy Cates, Thomas Welch, and James Moore found that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to enter order requiring the State Police to issue James Lewis a FOISD card.

According to court documents, petitioner-appellee Lewis surrendered his FOID card in 1993 related to a felony drug plea agreement in Indiana. Then in 2015, he applied to have it reinstated by the state police and noted his guilty plea to his Class D felony for cocaine possession in 1993. In that matter he was sentenced to three years in prison, which was suspended so he could attend a drug treatment center. He completed his sentence in 1996.

Lewis said in his application that it had been 20 years since his conviction, his conviction did not involve firearms, and he had no other convictions of record in any jurisdiction. However, his application was denied by the State Police on May 13, 2015. Following that denial, Lewis filed a petition for relief in the circuit court of Jefferson County from the denial of his application pursuant to section 10 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.


“On January 28, 2016, Lewis filed a petition for rule to show cause because the State Police had not issued him a FOID card as ordered by the circuit court. The State Police moved to intervene and to vacate the September 8 order pursuant to section 2­ 1401(f) of the Code of Civil Procedure,” court documents state.

According to court documents, “On July 21, 2016, the circuit court entered its final judgment, denying the State Police’s motion to vacate and ordering the State Police to issue a FOID card to Lewis. The State Police appeal the circuit court’s final judgment denying the State Police’s motion to vacate and ordering issuance of a FOID card to Lewis. On October 12, 2016, this court entered an order staying enforcement of the judgment of the circuit court pending appeal, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 305(d) (eff. July 1, 2004)."

The appellate panel reversed the denial of the State Police’s motion to vacate, as well as the order requiring issuance of a FOID card to Lewis.

The court ruled that, “Because the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we must reverse the court’s decision and vacate the September 8, 2015, order and judgment. Given our disposition, we cannot address Lewis’s argument concerning the court’s ability to waive a federal firearm disability."

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