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08/20/87 In Re R.R.

August 20, 1987


Before reaching the State's contentions, we must address the minor's argument that this appeal should be dismissed because the order dismissing the petitions is not appealable by the State. While R.R. does not dispute that the State is appealing from a final order, R.R.'s position can be summarized as follows: (1) the court's determination not to adjudicate R.R. a ward of the State is tantamount to a sentencing order which the State may not appeal, and (2) Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (107 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)), which governs the State's ability to appeal from dismissal orders, does not contemplate appeals from orders dismissing petitions for adjudication of wardship.


Petitioner-Appellant, v.

R.R., Respondent-Appellee)

512 N.E.2d 1058, 159 Ill. App. 3d 313, 111 Ill. Dec. 517 1987.IL.1209

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Harry D. Hartel, Jr., Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. HOPF and NASH, JJ., concur.


The State appeals from an order dismissing its petition for adjudication of wardship against the minor respondent, R.R. A petition for adjudication of wardship was filed in the circuit court of Lake County against the minor alleging that he had committed the offenses of theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)) and criminal damage to property (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 21-1(a)). While the original petition was pending, the State filed a supplemental petition alleging that the minor had committed a residential burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 19-3). The State contends that the trial court erred in failing to make a delinquency finding before proceeding to the adjudication and the trial court abused its discretion when it found that an adjudication of wardship was not in R.R.'s best interest.

The record reveals that the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship of the minor on September 9, 1985, alleging that R.R. was a delinquent minor based on the commission of theft and criminal damage to property. These charges stemmed from R.R.'s having taken a two-way radio valued in excess of $300 from a high school and throwing the radio in a toilet so as not to be caught with it. The minor originally denied the allegations of the petition but then admitted to the theft after negotiating with the State. In return, the State withdrew the count charging R.R. with criminal damage to property and recommended 12 months' supervision and 50 hours of public service. The court received the minor's admission after it heard the State's factual basis. The cause was continued for ruling and Disposition.

On December 11, 1985, because the minor appeared without his parents, the court continued the matter. On the way home from court, R.R. allegedly committed the offense of residential burglary. As a result, the State filed a supplemental petition and withdrew its previous negotiation for supervision on the original petition.

At the hearing held on January 17, 1986, the minor indicated that he intended to admit to the theft and burglary despite the State's decision to no longer recommend supervision. After the court heard the State's factual basis for the underlying residential burglary charge, the court refused to accept the minor's admission with regard to that charge and scheduled the matter for trial. The State then moved for a substitution of Judges based on the court's refusal to accept the minor's admission of residential burglary. The State argued that the court in refusing to accept the minor's admission was retaliating against the State for its failure to agree to supervision of the minor. The record reflects that the court granted the State's motion and transferred the cause to Judge Hartel.

The trial on the residential burglary charge occurred on February 6, 1986, before Judge Hartel. At trial, Nancy Bitner testified that R.R. had been a friend of her son's and had visited their home in the past. On December 11, 1985, however, Bitner did not give R.R. permission to enter her home. Bitner stated that on December 11, 1985, after she had taken her son to school and no one remained home, a neighbor summoned her home because the neighbor had observed an intruder enter her home. When Bitner arrived home, the police were present and apprehended the minor. Bitner testified that while nothing was missing, a package that had been gift wrapped was torn open, two boxes of instant soup were found beneath her bed; and a crystal turtle figurine valued at $12 had been removed from the dining room table and placed under her bed.

The State indicated that had Officer Dennis testified he would have reported that he found R.R. in Bitner's bedroom hiding in the closet on December 11, 1985. Officer Jackson testified that he questioned R.R. regarding the incident. R.R. told the officer that on his way home from juvenile court, he became cold and hungry, so he decided to stop at his friend's home. R.R. opened and climbed through a window. When R.R. noticed the police outside the home, he hid in the bedroom closet. When Officer Jackson asked him about the turtle figurine, R.R. appeared not to ...

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