Schilb v. Kuebel

LOCATION: Iowa State Penitentiary

DOCKET NO.: 70-90
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1971-1972)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Illinois

CITATION: 404 US 357 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 12, 1971
DECIDED: Dec 20, 1971

John J. O’toole -
James A. Rooney - for appellees, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

A fine is a monetary penalty imposed on citizens and officials for administrative offenses in cases and amounts established by law. This is the most common form of punishment for administrative misconduct. In this case brief, the defendant was arrested for leaving the scene of a traffic accident. He had to pay a fine in order to be able to be released before the trial. After paying 10 percent of the fine, he was informed that he had to pay an additional 1 percent of the amount, which he had not previously been warned about. The defendant found this claim unconstitutional. However, the court ruled that this penalty is levied on all detainees, regardless of guilt or innocence in the incident.

Thus, this case study makes a precedent of pre-judicial regulation, and also creates an opportunity for the initially correct appointment of the amount of payment. The administrative penalty is the punishment most often used in the fight against administrative violations, and without much exaggeration, it is possible to say that in the fight against illegal actions in general. It is no accident that punitive sanctions are often called "penalties", and administrative responsibility "penalty." The penalty as a measure of impact, in addition to preventive and a number of other properties, is very interesting by another quality, not related to punitive action: it replenishes the budget. It is for this reason that this precedent matters in the correct fixation of the fine and its timely payment in full.


Media for Schilb v. Kuebel

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 12, 1971 in Schilb v. Kuebel

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in number 90, Schilb against Kuebel.

Your honor prior to proceeding I would like to make a motion.

Warren E. Burger:

Would you just protest this event for a moment that we can clear this counsel?

Mr. O’Toole, you may now proceed.

John J. O’toole:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the court, I moved that James A. Rooney be permitted to argue pro hac vice on behalf of the appellee in this case, he is a member in good standing of the bar of Illinois but he has not been a member for more than three years.

Warren E. Burger:

You motion is granted for the purpose of this case, so you may proceed Mr. O’Toole.

John J. O’toole:

In 1963, 75th General Assembly of the State of Illinois revamped our entire bail procedure, and they did this for two-fold reasons and the main and the most important one was to assure that all persons regardless of their financial status would not be unnecessarily detained a waiting trial.

As an ancillary blessing of the system we have practically eliminated the Bondsman System in the State of Illinois.

Basically, what this legislation did was to enable a person accused of a crime to gain his pretrial freedom in one of the three manners, under 110-2 he could make an application for release on his recognizance, under 110-8 he could post the full amount of the bond, I mean the bail set by the court in either cash, stocks, bonds or real estate in double the value, or he could deposit 10% of the full amount of bail under 110-7 and all of this was very good and has been very effective.

But in doing so, they put in one anachronism and that is they impose a cost on the individuals who are released under 110-7, those that make a deposit of 10% of the full amount of bail.

In this case, John Schilb and all those other similarly situate sought and received their release under 110-7 and they were all charged a 10% bail cost upon their release or conviction.

Now we contend that this imposition of a cost on this one segment is unconstitutional for all of the people involved here seek one end and that is to be released so they could prepare for trial and not to be subject to pretrial incarceration, yet they impose the burden of supporting the entire system on one segment of that class.

The second--

Harry A. Blackmun:

Let me ask you do they -- have they imposed the 1% on those who deposit a 100%, he would not be--

John J. O’toole:

Oh no, I think there is -- as the argument develops Mr. Justice Blackmun, you will see that if there was an over across the board imposition of the cost, I would still alleged that it would be not proper in that it could never be imposed upon indigents, true indigents, nor could it ever be imposed upon a man who is found innocent.

So, just across the board statute I do not think would solve our judges --

You mean even if it were simply that everyone has set released under it either of the three provisions would pay $10 (Inaudible), is it still like that?

John J. O’toole:

I think it would be wrong, when it became to a true indigent or to a person that was innocent.

True indigent, might be if he could not pay up, that would be one of problem.

But you would also say it was unconstitutional as charge found innocent--

John J. O’toole:


--of the $10, is that it?

John J. O’toole:

That is part of our contention before this court, where it is not only this class aspect where we say one segment is segregated out in burden.

But in addition to that, we also contend that these people who put up the 10% simply cannot afford the full amount of bail and they are penalized in their quest for justice in contrary to the long line of cases since Griffin versus Illinois.

Warren E. Burger:

Not necessarily true.

A man might be in business and want to keep his cash, keep his cash flow position very liquid.

So, instead of buying a bond, he put up the 10% even though he had a hundred thousand dollars in the bank.

John J. O’toole:

Oh yes, your honor.

I buy this fully that that statement was not meant to be a universal.

I think the statistics will bear out which we have cited some in our brief that as the amount of bail goes up, the ability to make the full bond decreases sharply and whereas some people might choose to only put up the 10%.