Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard
in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County;
the Hon. Michael A. Orenic, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendants were 14 and 15 years old respectively when they were indicted in the circuit court of Will County for the offenses of murder and deviate sexual assault committed upon a victim 14 years of age, crimes which occurred September 16, 1968. They pleaded guilty to both charges and were sentenced to terms in the penitentiary of not less than 75 nor more than 90 years for murder, and not less than 13 nor more than 14 years for deviate sexual assault. Both sentences were affirmed by the appellate court (People v. Perruquet, 4 Ill. App.3d 4; People v. Sprinkle, 4 Ill. App.3d 6). We allowed the defendants' petition for leave to appeal.
The defendants argue that the legislature may not vest in the State's Attorney the discretion as to whether a juvenile shall be tried as a juvenile or an adult, that the statute which provides for the transfer of cases from the juvenile division of the circuit court to the criminal division does not provide due process of law, and that the sentences are excessive.
Prior to the return of the indictments, petitions had been filed on the day of the defendants' arrest in the juvenile court division of Will County charging the defendants with being delinquents. A detention hearing was held the same day, the Public Defender having been appointed to represent the defendants. At the hearings, the coroner testified as to the cause of death of the victim. The chief investigator from the sheriff's office testified to the fact that the defendants were in custody, as well as to the substance of admissions and statements made by them to him within hours after their arrest. The admissions and statements constituting, in effect, a confession, the court found that further detention was necessary.
Ten days after the detention hearing, the State's Attorney petitioned the juvenile court to transfer the cases to the criminal division for trial of the defendants as adult offenders, pursuant to sections 2-2, 2-7, and 2-8 of the Juvenile Court Act, effective January 1, 1966. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 37, pars. 702-2, 702-7, and 702-8.
At the very brief hearing on the State's petition to transfer, the juvenile court judge, in the presence of the defendants and their parents, advised the defendants' counsel that he was "present to listen to evidence or arguments you may have in this matter." Counsel for the defendants, however, explained that "the detention hearing which went into considerable detail and was very lengthy afforded us a full opportunity for examination," and they offered neither evidence nor argument to the court.
The judge who conducted the hearing was the same judge who had previously heard testimony in the case. Thus, on the basis of the evidence he had previously taken and upon the undisputed facts set forth in the State's petition for transfer, the judge had sufficient information concerning the matter to make a reasoned judgment on the petition to transfer.
When the case was called for trial in the circuit court, no testimony was required to convict the defendants since they both entered a plea of guilty to both of the charges against them after being fully admonished of their rights.
While many protections of the Bill of Rights extend beyond the courtroom, the guaranty of a hearing found to be within the due-process clause of the fifth amendment has traditionally been limited to judicial and quasi-judicial decision making. We believe that the Illinois legislature reasonably vested in the State's Attorney, rather than the judge of the juvenile court in a judicial proceeding, the responsibility of deciding whether the offender should be proceeded against as an adult or as a juvenile. Under section 2-7(5) of the Act, the State's Attorney's discretion in question was subject to a type of veto by the minor, in that the minor may, with consent of his counsel before the commencement of the adjudicatory hearing, file with the court a motion that criminal prosecution be ordered and that the petition be dismissed, and if said motion is filed, then the court shall so order. To this extent the decision of the State's Attorney on the matter of transfer was not final.
Section 2-7 was amended by Public Act 77-2096, effective January 1, 1973. The section as amended vested discretion in the juvenile court judge to waive jurisdiction over the minor, and prescribed standards to be considered in the exercise of that discretion.
We hold, therefore, that the Illinois legislature may reasonably vest in the State's Attorney the discretion of deciding whether the juvenile shall be prosecuted as an adult or juvenile offender. The guaranty of hearing found in the due-process clause of the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution had traditionally been limited to judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings. It has never been held applicable to the process of prosecutorial decision making. If it were so held, the prosecutorial function would be vitally impaired.
In the light of the circumstances of this case and this court's prior interpretation of the statute as to the discretion reposed in the State's Attorney, the contention of the defendant in this respect cannot be sustained. People v. Bombacino (1972), 51 Ill.2d 17, 19-20; People v. Handley (1972), 51 Ill.2d 229, 233.
The defendants further contend that the statute which authorizes the transfer of cases from the juvenile division of the circuit court to the criminal division violates due process of law, and is therefore unconstitutional, because it fails to provide for a meaningful hearing into the transfer. The defendants assert that the statute providing for the hearing fails to state who shall have the burden of proof, lacks standards which the court can follow in making its determination, and fails to require the court to state its reasons for not objecting to the transfer.
The facts of this particularly brutal crime are adequately stated in the appellate opinion (4 Ill. App.3d 6) and need not be repeated here. For the purposes of our decision, it is sufficient to relate that the victim to whose murder the defendants had pleaded guilty was kicked and beaten about the head with a metal bar and concrete block, after refusing to buy a transistor radio from the defendants and after being forced to submit to unnatural sex acts. ...