The Peoria County judge who dismissed the Rock Island County courthouse case on March 19th, 2019 based her decision on the plain language of state law.
Michelle O'Neill reports she also relied on a test case from three years ago, which was decided by a Henry County, Illinois judge.
Tenth Circuit Judge Jodi Hoos said her ruling was not about whether the 122-year-old building should be demolished, but whether the plaintiffs established valid claims under the law.
Hoos agreed with the Rock Island County Board and Public Building Commission, saying:
- Local governments are exempt from the Illinois State Agency Historic Resources Preservation Act.
- State law says the Public Building Commission has the authority to demolish buildings.
- And it's legal for bond funds to be spent on the demolition of the courthouse. That part of Hoos's decision is based on a 2015 ruling in which a Henry County judge said building the proposed justice center annex is within the authority of the Public Building Commission. At last week's hearing, Judge Hoos said, "Common sense tells you if it is the purpose of the commission to build the new courthouse, how is it not the same purpose to tear the old one down?"
The plaintiffs now hope the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa will hear their appeal.
Meantime, a crane and wrecking ball are parked next to the courthouse waiting for a decision.
Read the transcript of the hearing on motions to dismiss below:
Rock Island Co 19 Ch 40 Lan... by on Scribd