delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Fitzgerald and Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Garman, and Karmeier
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
dissented, with opinion.
In 2006, former
Governor George H. Ryan was convicted of multiple federal felonies
committed, between 1990 and 2002, as Secretary of State and as
convictions, the Illinois State Retirement System notified him that
his pension benefits from the General Assembly Retirement System
were being statutorily suspended. Ryan had been a member of this
system since 1972, when he joined the General Assembly, and
continued in it through his holding of the offices of Lieutenant
Governor, Secretary of State and Governor. However, his service in
the General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor did not give rise to
any felony convictions and, Ryan asserted, he was entitled to
benefits based on those earlier years of service. The administrative
termination of benefits was upheld by the circuit court of Cook
County, but the appellate court reversed in February 2009.
In this decision,
the Illinois Supreme Court held that Ryan had forfeited all of the
benefits he earned from the General Assembly Retirement System,
regardless of the fact that he had not been convicted of any
felonies in connection with his years in the General Assembly or as
Lieutenant Governor. The supreme court interpreted the involved
statute to bring about a forfeiture for crimes committed against the
employer, in this case the State of Illinois.