APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Knox County; the Hon. WILLIAM
D. HENDERSON, Judge, presiding.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE ALLOY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied July 15, 1980.
Michael D. Richardson appeals from a judgment of the Circuit Court of Knox County, dismissing, for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted, his claim against James R. Grundel. Mr. Richardson was the victim of a burglary perpetrated by a juvenile offender. The defendant, James R. Grundel, is the director of juvenile court services of Knox County. On April 27, 1978, the said juvenile offender was placed on probation by the circuit court. The juvenile was "placed under the guardianship and supervision of James R. Grundel, Director of Court Services, Knox County, Illinois, who also has the power of placement." Among the terms and conditions of his probation were that the "[s]aid minor shall not leave Knox County without the permission of his probation officer" and that the "[s]aid minor shall make restitution by arrangement with his probation officer."
On April 28, 1978, the Assistant State's Attorney of Knox County informed Mr. Richardson that the minor was placed on juvenile probation and was ordered to make restitution to Mr. Richardson's firm, such restitution to be handled through Mr. James Grundel of Knox County juvenile court services. Subsequently, the juvenile's probation was revoked.
On June 12, 1979, Michael Richardson filed a small claim complaint with the Circuit Court of Knox County against James Grundel for the amount of $225.50 for "his failure to enforce an Order of the Juvenile Court pursuant to his duties established by the Illinois Revised Statutes, Chapter 37, Section 705-3(2)(o) and Section 706-1(2)(g)." Mr. Grundel moved to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action. Mr. Grundel appeared personally and by counsel. Mr. Richardson appeared pro se. Both parties filed briefs. The trial court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Mr. Richardson then moved for leave to amend. This was denied because "there is no basis in tort, contract, or otherwise to support the plaintiff's claim against the defendant." Mr. Richardson appeals.
James Grundel, as the director of juvenile court services of Knox County, was appointed by, works under the supervision of, and serves at the pleasure of the chief judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 706-5(2)). It is clear, therefore, that the defendant, as well as other juvenile probation personnel, are judicial officers. (See also Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 706-1.) Pursuant to section 6-1(2)(c) of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 706-1(2)(c)), the juvenile offender was placed under the guardianship of the defendant. In addition, the juvenile was ordered to pay restitution by arrangement with his probation officer. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, pars. 705-2(4) and 705-3(2)(1).) The probation officer is vested with power to supervise the collection of such restitution by section 6-1(2)(g) of the Juvenile Court Act. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 706-1(2)(g).
It is the long-standing law of this State that a judicial officer will not be held liable for an act done by him in the exercise of his judicial functions, if the act is within the scope of his jurisdiction. (People ex rel. Munson v. Bartels (1891), 138 Ill. 322, 328, 27 N.E. 1091; cf. People ex rel. Scott v. Briceland (1976), 65 Ill.2d 485, 502, 359 N.E.2d 149.) Official action is judicial where it is the result of judgment or discretion.
"An officer will be regarded as being clothed with judicial or quasi-judicial functions, when the powers confided to him are so far discretionary that he can exercise or withhold them according to his own judgment as to what is necessary and proper. Where the question is one of opinion merely, * * * the discretion exercised cannot be disputed.
But where the duty imposed on an officer is purely ministerial, he will be held liable for an injury to another which results from his failure to perform it, or from his performance of it in a negligent or unskillful manner. Official duty is ministerial when it is absolute, certain and imperative, involving merely the execution of a set task, and when the law which imposes it, prescribes and defines the time, mode and occasion of its performance with such certainty that nothing remains for judgment or discretion." (People ex rel. Munson v. Bartels (1891), 138 Ill. 322, 328, 27 N.E. 1091.)
The plaintiff argues that the duty of the probation officer, to collect restitution from the defendant, was ministerial, in that he was under court order to perform it. However, it is clear that the court order gave the probation officer discretion as to the "time, mode and occasion" of the collection of restitution from the juvenile.
"If restitution is part of the disposition, the [juvenile] shall make restitution to the victim in accordance with the following:
(a) A [dispositional] hearing shall be held to assess the financial capacity of the [juvenile] to make restitution as well as to determine the amount and conditions of payment at the court's discretion." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 1005-5-6; ch. 37, par. 705-2.)
The amount and conditions of payment were not determined at the dispositional hearing in the instant juvenile case. Instead, the juvenile probation officer was, by means of the court order, vested with the court's discretion to determine these matters.
Furthermore, the court appointed the defendant, James Grundel, guardian and supervisor of the juvenile offender. It is the purpose and policy of the Juvenile Court Act "to secure for each minor subject [t]hereto such care and guidance * * * as will serve the moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare of the minor and the best interests of the community; * * * and, when the minor is removed from his own family, to secure for him custody, care and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should be given by his parents." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 701-2(1).) "`Guardianship of the person' of a minor means the duty and authority, subject to residual parental rights and responsibilities, to make ...