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In Re Polovchak

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 30, 1981.

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

v.

ANNA POLOVCHAK ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH C. MOONEY, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied March 23, 1982.

On August 4, 1980, pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 701-1 et seq.), Walter Polovchak (Walter) was declared a minor in need of supervision and was adjudged a ward of the court. A dispositional hearing was scheduled for November 5, 1980. However, on November 5, 1980, in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 662 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 110A, par. 662), Walter's parents, Michael and Anna Polovchak (the Polovchaks), appealed from the order of August 4, 1980.

On appeal, the Polovchaks raise the following issues: (1) whether the adjudication of wardship was an unconstitutional interference by the State into the sanctity and privacy of the family; (2) whether the Illinois minor in need of supervision (MINS) statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 702-3) was unconstitutionally vague; (3) whether the adjudication of wardship proceedings violated their constitutional and statutory rights to a trial; and (4) whether the evidence adduced at the hearing was sufficient to adjudicate Walter a ward of the court. *fn1

Michael and Anna Polovchak and their three children arrived in the United States from the Soviet Ukraine in January of 1980. On July 14, 1980, Walter, then age 12, left his parents' home with his sister, Natalie, age 17. On July 18, 1980, Michael Polovchak enlisted the help of the Chicago police to find his son. Youth officers found Walter and Natalie at the apartment of their cousin, Walter Polovczak (the cousin). Petitions for adjudication of wardship in which Walter and Natalie were alleged to be beyond the control of their parents and thus minors in need of supervision were filed; and an adjudicatory hearing was held to determine whether the allegations in the petitions were supported by the evidence.

The adjudicatory hearing began with the entry of admissions by Walter and Natalie *fn2 that they were minors in need of supervision. After the trial judge determined that the admissions were freely and voluntarily given, additional evidence was presented by the State and the Polovchaks.

Anna Polovchak testified that on July 14, 1980, at about 4 p.m., she returned home from work and saw Natalie and Walter removing their belongings from the family apartment. They were being helped by their cousin Walter and by two other men. Her son refused to tell her where he was going.

Walter Polovczak, the cousin, testified that he resided with the Polovchaks until July 12, 1980 when he moved into his own apartment. On Sunday, July 13, he drove Natalie and Walter to church and they spent the night at his apartment. The following day he returned to the Polovchak residence with his cousins and two friends to remove his belongings. At that time, Natalie and Walter proceeded to remove their belongings also. When Anna Polovchak arrived, he told her that her son was not being forced to do anything and that Walter was going with Natalie. Walter and Natalie stayed with their cousin until Friday, July 18, the day the police arrived. The cousin admitted that he never informed his aunt and uncle where Natalie and Walter were living. He did not have the parents' permission to take their children to his apartment. He denied that he influenced Walter, and stated that Walter wanted to stay with Natalie.

Natalie Polovchak testified that on Saturday, July 12, her father argued with her cousin and accused him of taking Walter away. The next day Natalie and Walter went to church with their cousin, and she asked to be taken home so that she could get her belongings. Walter did not go with her. When she left her parents' apartment, her father followed her to the bus stop and said "ugly words." Natalie returned to her cousin's apartment and questioned her brother about his intentions. Walter told her that he did not want to return to his parents and that he wanted to stay with her.

Natalie further testified on cross-examination that her parents told her of their intention to return to the Ukraine. She did not want to accompany them so they did not apply for readmission for her. On several occasions her parents told her not to take Walter with her.

Walter Polovchak, the minor, testified that on July 13, 1980, he had gone to church with his cousin and Natalie. After church his cousin drove Natalie home to get some clothes. He stayed with his sister and cousin, at the cousin's apartment, on Sunday night and went with them to his parents' apartment on Monday. Walter testified that after he packed his belongings, his mother arrived. When she questioned him, he told her that she should not be concerned.

On cross-examination Walter stated that his cousin offered to help him if he did not want to return to the Ukraine. He testified that he left his parents because he did not want to return to the Ukraine and because his parents did not talk to him. Walter stated that if he had not gone to live with his cousin he would have gone elsewhere. Walter testified that he would not return home if the petition for adjudication of wardship was dismissed.

Michael Polovchak stated that Walter had not presented any problems until he told Walter of his intention to return to the Ukraine. Michael testified that he wanted Walter to return to the Ukraine so that the family could be together, "for the love of a child," and because he was responsible for Walter.

Chicago Police Sergeant Leo Rojek, acting commander of Area 5 Youth, testified that on July 18, 1980, Michael Polovchak came to the police station with an interpreter and informed the police that his son was gone. Walter was found at his cousin's apartment and was brought to the police station. Walter said he had run away because he did not want to return to the Ukraine with his family. The police then telephoned the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and Department of ...


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