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People Ex Rel. Hanrahan v. Felt

OPINION FILED APRIL 1, 1971.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. EDWARD HANRAHAN, STATE'S ATTORNEY, PETITIONER,

v.

JAMES H. FELT, JUDGE, RESPONDENT.



ORIGINAL PETITION for mandamus.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

By this original petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition, the State's Attorney of Cook County seeks to compel the respondent, James H. Felt, a judge of the circuit court of Cook County, to vacate a pretrial discovery order which he entered in a juvenile delinquency proceeding pending before him.

The facts are undisputed. On April 18, 1969, two delinquency petitions were filed in the circuit court of Cook County in the interest of Donald Vance, a minor, age 14, which charged him with the offenses of armed robbery and rape. On May 8, 1969, Vance's attorney served notice of his intention to take a discovery deposition of the alleged victim of the rape and robbery. At that time he also served a "Notice of Demand for Bill of Particulars and List of State's Witnesses."

On October 22, 1969, the trial judge granted leave to take the deposition of the complaining witness, and directed that she be produced for that purpose at the office of the minor's attorney on a specified date. And on the same date the trial judge entered an order which directed the State's Attorney to provide the minor with the following:

"(1) The time and location of the alleged offenses.

(2) An opportunity to inspect and copy any and all statements and/or reports made by complainant, Clarene Reed in regard to the alleged offenses.

(3) An opportunity to inspect and copy any and all reports made by the Chicago Police Department in regard to said offenses including the report of the Juvenile Officer, to the extent such reports are in the possession of the State's Attorney.

(4) Age, marital status, and home address of the complainant, Clarene Reed.

(5) Any and all statements taken by the Chicago Police from the respondent [the minor.]

(6) A list of witnesses who may be called by the State and an opportunity to inspect and copy statement [sic] taken from said witnesses.

(7) A list of any and all physical evidence that may be introduced by the State.

(8) An opportunity to inspect and copy any and all hospital or medical reports pertaining to the alleged rape, to the extent such reports are in the possession of the State's Attorney."

In issuing these orders the trial judge held that a proceeding under the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 37, par. 701-1 et seq.) is a civil proceeding and that he was therefore required to follow the discovery procedures applicable in civil cases. The State's principal contention is that a juvenile delinquency proceeding is criminal in nature and that the order was beyond the jurisdiction of the trial court. It is also argued that "civil practice discovery in criminal cases would be detrimental to the administration of justice" because broadened discovery would lead to harassment and intimidation of witnessees, suppression of evidence and an increase of perjury, "and that the question is governed by amendments to the Juvenile Court Act which provide that the standard of proof in criminal cases and the rules of evidence applicable to those cases are also applicable to juvenile delinquency proceedings." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 37, par. 704-6

The answer asserts that juvenile proceedings are basically civil, although certain procedural safeguards employed in criminal proceedings are required, and that the underlying purpose of a delinquency proceeding would best be served by allowing broad pretrial discovery. It notes that the juvenile proceeding is specifically intended not to be an adversary proceeding (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 37, par. 701-20(1),) and that broad discovery can insure that all relevant factual information is brought before the court. The answer denies the ...


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