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In Re Moore

OPINION FILED AUGUST 21, 1980.

IN RE EVELYN MOORE, A MINOR. — (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

JANICE MOORE BUCK, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR N. HAMILTON, Judge, presiding. MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Respondent, Janice Moore Buck, appeals from an order finding her an unfit parent (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 37, par. 702-4(1)(b)) and granting permanent custody of her daughter, Evelyn Moore (Evelyn) to Evelyn's maternal grandmother (Mrs. Moore), also named Evelyn Moore. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 37, par. 705-7(1)(a).

On appeal, respondent contends: (1) the trial court's acceptance of her admission to the allegation of neglect violated her right to due process of law; (2) she was denied effective assistance of counsel; (3) reversible error occurred when the trial court unduly restricted cross-examination of a State's witness and direct examination of a defense witness; (4) the evidence of parental unfitness was not clear and convincing; and (5) the trial court abused its discretion by appointing the maternal grandmother as Evelyn's guardian.

Since we reverse and remand for a new adjudicatory hearing, we find it necessary only to address the first issue.

On August 5, 1977, a petition for adjudication of wardship on behalf of the minor Evelyn Moore, then five years old, was filed by Agnes Piszcek. The petitioner alleged that Evelyn was neglected by reason of an injurious environment (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 37, par. 702-4(1)(b)). The specific allegations of the petition were that on January 25, 1977, and August 2, 1977, the minor's maternal grandmother took the minor to Mercy Hospital where an examining physician found that Evelyn had a relaxed vaginal vault and the doctor believed the relaxation was due to frequent sexual assault. The petition also alleged that the minor had said that Donnie Buck, her stepfather, "lays on top of her and puts part of himself in her" and that the child's mother had failed to obtain medical care for the minor. The medical reports from Mercy Hospital were not attached to the petition nor made a part of the record.

A detention hearing was held the same day the petition was filed and a guardian ad litem was appointed to represent Evelyn. An assistant public defender accepted appointment to represent respondent Janice Moore Buck, Evelyn's mother. The court granted a "by agreement" order giving temporary custody to the maternal grandmother, and ordered a social investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services.

On November 1, 1977, the adjudicatory hearing was held. The following colloquy occurred:

"[Defense Counsel]: Your Honor, at this time, I hate to impose upon the Court, I would ask for perhaps five or ten minutes.

The State's Attorney and I believe is not ready either and we would both appreciate a few minutes grace.

[Asst. States Atty]: I would join in that. If we could pass the case for ten minutes.

The Court: We'll pass the case to let counsel talk.

The Court: All right, recall of the Evelyn Moore case.

Now are both sides ready to proceed?

[Asst. States Atty]: Yes, we are, Your Honor.

I have consulted with Ms. Nash and she has informed me that the parents wish to — the mother wishes to make ...


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