Sets May Hearing for Discovery Disputes
This morning, attorneys from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office argued a motion to stay the consolidated cases challenging Gov. JB Pritzker’s Assault Weapons Ban brought by former Republican candidate for Attorney General Thomas DeVore. Effingham County Chief Judge Douglas L. Jarman declined to stay the cases and set a hearing date in May to resolve DeVore’s discovery requests.
On behalf of defendants Gov. Pritzker, AG Raoul, House Speaker Chris Welch, and Senate Leader Don Harmon, lawyers from the AG’s office sought to stay the cases pending a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court on a similar but unrelated challenge to the Assault Weapons Ban brought on behalf of State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R, Decatur). They argued that DeVore’s cases were based on the same claim as Caulkins’ case, namely, that the Assault Weapons Ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Illinois Constitution.
The alleged Equal Protection violation stems from exemptions in the Ban that excludes enforcement against seemingly arbitrary classes of people, such as active and retired police, active but not retired military, and private security.
In other words, a mall cop is exempt from the Ban and can buy and use an AR-15, but a retired member of SEAL Team Six cannot.
In opposing the stay, DeVore argued that his cases and the Caulkins’ case are not similar, because he has served discovery requests in his cases to get to the bottom of the exemptions. Among other discovery requests, DeVore is seeking emails and text messages from Illinois lawmakers that would explain why they put the exemptions in the Ban.
During this morning’s hearing, Chief Judge Jarman said he would not be staying DeVore’s cases and set a May hearing to resolve the parties’ discovery disputes.
The defendants are refusing to respond to DeVore’s discovery requests on the basis that the requests violate “legislative immunity.” In other words, defendants believe that their emails and text messages are privileged and immune from discovery, even those communications with lobbyists.
DeVore’s consolidated cases represent over 7,000 plaintiffs, including nearly 200 federally licensed firearms dealers and thousands of Illinoisans from across the state.
Please continue to follow Illinois Review and DeVore Law Offices for more updates as they become available.