Dixon v. Love

LOCATION: Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation

DOCKET NO.: 75-1513
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)

CITATION: 431 US 105 (1977)
ARGUED: Mar 01, 1977 / Mar 02, 1977
DECIDED: May 16, 1977

James O. Latturner - for appellee
Patricia Rosen - for appellant

Facts of the case

The Driver Licensing Law empowered the Secretary of Illinois State of Illinois to cease or annulated a driver's license without holding of initial hearing but proving by his notes or other legal confirmations that the driver's behavior referred to any of 18 indicated definitions, one of which was that the driver was accused of crimes that violated traffic rulings to a level that is defined as a not being able to conduct the care ordinarily and take care of safety driving [431 U.S. 105, 109].

The plaintiff Love, who worked as a driver of truck, was charged with three offenses in term of a 12-month thus his license was ceased in November 1969. Then he was accused of driving when his permission was denied, and another cessation was established. The plaintiff didn`t obtain further bill of indictment until 1974, when he was detained twice for breach of the speed regime. He was indicted of both prosecutions and then obtained a third accusation. Then he was informed about the annulation of his driving permission if commit the third infringement. A few days later the defendant was charged with the third prosecution and was notified about the repeal of his license.

He filed a suit in the District Court arguing that a declarative order contradicted with constitutional gurantees proven by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court upheld that point and stated that the license could not be canceled until the hearing was occurred citing it was mandatory confirmed in Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535 (1971). However, the Secretary filed an appellation, and Dixon v Love was handed to the Supreme Court of the USA.

The judges found that the Illinois statute, under which Dixon annulated permission, didn`t contradict with the norms of Constitution and the nature of. The case study of Dixon v Love underlined that the prior proceeding or other similar ones would not essentially change the number of mistaken deprivations, but would slow the exclude of dangerous drivers from roads. The court upheld that the decision have to be reversed by the state court.


Media for Dixon v. Love

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 01, 1977 in Dixon v. Love

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1977 in Dixon v. Love

Warren E. Burger:

We will resume arguments in Dixon against Love, Mr. LaTurner.

James O. Latturner:

Good morning, Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the court.

In order to fully and adequately understand the Secretary of State's action in this case.

It is necessary for a full consideration of the entire statutory and regulatory scheme set up by the State of Illinois and under which the Secretary of State Acts.

Illinois provides two basic statutory sections regarding the revocation of driver?s licenses.

They are found in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code.

The first Section 6-205 and the second Section 6-206.

The Secretary acted under Section 6-206 which provides for the discretionary revocation or suspension of driver?s licenses.

For comparison, I would first like to consider Section 6-205.

Section 6-205 is clearly headed mandatory revocation of driver?s license and provides that the Secretary Of State shall forthwith revoke a driver?s license upon receiving the report of the conviction of various traffic crimes, such as drunken driving, three instances of reckless driving and various others.

Not only is his action mandatory, but at the end of the Traffic Court proceeding where these convictions take place, the licensee must surrender his driver?s license to the clerk or the judge of that court.

The clerk or judge in turn forwards the license to the Secretary of State who now needs only to stamp it revoked.

The Secretary of State must revoke it. He has no discretion to take any other action on that license.

In start contrast to this mandatory revocation provision, we have Section 6-206.

This is the provision which the Secretary of State acted under the present case.

This is clearly headed discretionary authority to suspend or revoke licenses.

It gives the Secretary of State, the authority to revoke licenses upon the happening of the determination, certain events have happened.

In this particular case, Mr. Love?s license was revoked as stated in the notice, because his driving record indicated a disrespect for the traffic laws.

Other discretionary revocations under Section 6-206 even include non-feloniously violating any provision of the Motor Vehicle Code.

There was a little more specific and that was not it.

Did it not have something in it about three moving violations? Is not that the supporting data?

James O. Latturner:

No, Your honor, he was notified, this action has been taken as a result of your having been repeatedly convicted of offenses against laws and ordinances regulating the movement of traffic to a degree which indicates disrespect for the traffic laws.

Your answer to the question then should have been yes.

James O. Latturner:


That it is supported by repeated convictions not just some vague manifestation of disrespect.

James O. Latturner:

But they have to make the determination of disrespect and again the comparison...

But, do you suggest that's not the three moving violations and convictions therefore, does not support a conclusion of disrespect or...

James O. Latturner:

As a matter of fact, Your Honor, under the statutory scheme, a commercial driver is allowed to fight convictions prior to the time his commercial license is revoked.

Mr. Love is a commercial driver which the Secretary of State well knew since his driver classification is on the abstract of record.

In this case, his commercial license could not be revoked, yet in fact, it was without any prior hearing.