Pro-tip: read the service requirements before filing a petition (People v. Kuhn, 2014 IL App (3d) 130092)

People v. Kuhn, 2014 IL App (3d) 130092 (August 15, 2014) LaSalle Co. Affirmed.
 Defendant in this case filed a 2-1401 petition, which is a collateral attack petition brought under 735 ILCS 5/2-1401. “The notice requirements for filing a section 2-1401 petition are governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 105 (eff. Jan. 1, 1989). Ill. S. Ct. R. 106 (eff. Aug. 1, 1985). Rule 105 provides that notice may be served by either summons, certified or registered mail, or by publication. Ill. S. Ct. R. 105(b) (eff. Jan. 1, 1989). “The object of process is to notify a party of pending litigation in order to secure his appearance.” Professional Therapy Services, Inc. v. Signature Corp., 223 Ill. App. 3d 902, 910 (1992). In construing the sufficiency of the notice, we focus on whether the object and intent of the law were substantially attained rather than the formal and technical requirements. People v. Ocon, 2014 IL App (1st) 120912.” Kuhn at ¶ 12.

The defendant, who was in prison, properly filed his petition, but he served notice by regular mail instead of certified mail. Therefore, notice was improper under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 105 because the notice was not sent by certified mail. The case was dismissed by the trial court because defendant failed to provide proper notice. The defendant appealed, “objecting to his failure to properly serve the State with notice of his section 2-1401 petition.” He was essentially objecting on the State’s behalf that his notice was improper. The court held that he didn’t have standing to object on the State’s behalf, and the trial court’s dismissal of the defendant’s petition was affirmed. The takeaway message from this case is to be sure you read, and strictly adhere to, the service requirements before filing any form of collateral attack petition.

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