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03/29/89 the People of the State of v. Angel Dejesus

March 29, 1989




Before Judge Block, the defense raised Judge Gilleran-Johnson's prior ruling as a bar to Judge Block's consideration of the State's motions. The defense informed the court that the State's petition had requested DeJesus be sentenced pursuant to the criminal laws, and that request was denied. The State countered that the issues before Judge Gilleran-Johnson were juvenile matters on a juvenile petition. The State represented to Judge Block that the only matter decided by Judge Gilleran-Johnson was that the State could not file a petition to have DeJesus adjudicated a delinquent at that point in time due to double jeopardy constraints. The State noted that the defense had not presented a transcript of proceedings before Judge Gilleran-Johnson and, without the transcripts, res judicata could not be demonstrated. The State then argued that section 2 -- 7(6) could not divest the court of discretion to treat DeJesus as either a juvenile or an adult for purposes of Disposition. The State remarked, "They [the legislature] can't give you jurisdiction over an adult criminal case, and then say that you can't do certain things as far as the way you handle the case in a sentencing hearing." The State contended that it had standing to raise due process and equal protection challenges to the statute as well: "We represent all of the people . . . and I think we have to make sure that the laws apply equally to everybody."


537 N.E.2d 800, 127 Ill. 2d 486, 130 Ill. Dec. 471 1989.IL.423

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, the Hon. William D. Block, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE CALVO delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE WARD took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.


Angel DeJesus was charged by indictment in the circuit court of Lake County with first degree murder and armed robbery. The charge alleged that the offenses were committed with a knife. Although defendant was only 16 years old when charged, proceedings were instituted in criminal court pursuant to the "automatic transfer" provisions of section 2-7(6)(a) of the Juvenile Court Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1987 Supp., ch. 37, par. 702-7(6)(a) (now Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 37, par. 805-4(6)(a))). Section 2-7(6)(a) requires prosecution pursuant to the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 1-1 et seq.) where a juvenile at least 15 years of age is charged with first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, armed robbery committed with a firearm, or violation of section 24-1(a)(12) of the Code. A jury subsequently acquitted DeJesus of the murder charge, but found her guilty of armed robbery. Since DeJesus was not convicted of an offense listed in section 2-7(6)(a) of the Act, section 2-7(6)(c) requires that further proceedings be conducted under the Act, rather than the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 1001-1-1 et seq.).

Following DeJesus' trial, the State filed a motion to clarify the applicable law, a motion to continue sentencing hearing, and a motion to permit prosecution under the criminal laws. The chief Judge of the circuit designated Juvenile Court Judge Barbara Gilleran-Johnson to hear and rule on the motions. The State argued that Judge William Block should hear the motions since he had presided over DeJesus' trial. The State informed the chief Judge that it would ask Judge Block to rule on the "transfer petition" at a later date. The motions were heard before Judge Gilleran-Johnson on January 19, 1988.

The State, relying upon section 2-7(3) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1987 Supp., ch. 37, par. 702-7(3)), argued that DeJesus could be sentenced as an adult, notwithstanding the legislative directives to the contrary in section 2-7(6)(c). Section 2-7(3) provides as follows:

"If a petition alleges commission by a minor 13 years of age or over of an act which constitutes a crime under the laws of this State, and, on motion of the State's Attorney, a Juvenile Judge, designated by the Chief Judge of the Circuit to hear and determine such motions, after investigation and hearing but before commencement of the adjudicatory hearing, finds that it is not in the best interests of the minor or of the public to proceed under this Act, the court may enter an order permitting prosecution under the criminal laws."

The State contended that, since no adjudicatory hearing under the Act had technically been held, the State could move to have DeJesus sentenced "under the criminal laws." The State noted that a former version of section 2-7(6)(c) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 37, par. 702-7(6)(c)) had given the court discretion, where a juvenile was tried as an adult, to either sentence under chapter V of the Unified Code of Corrections or proceed to a Dispositional hearing under article V of the Juvenile Court Act. The legislature has since amended the statute so that the court no longer has discretion. (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1987 Supp., ch. 37, par. 702-7(6)(c).) The State urged the court to hold that discretion to sentence a juvenile offender as an adult still implicitly exists under section 2-7(3), notwithstanding the directives of section 2-7(6)(c) that the court "must" proceed pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act where the juvenile is not convicted of one of the specified offenses in section 2-7(6)(a), but is nonetheless convicted of an offense.

The defense argued that an adjudicatory hearing had, in effect, taken place when DeJesus was found guilty of armed robbery; thus the State could not bring its contention within the purview of section 2 -- 7(3). Moreover, the plain language of section 2 -- 7(6)(c) required further proceedings to be conducted under the Act.

Judge Gilleran-Johnson found section 2-7(3) inapplicable because the State's motions had not been filed "before commencement of the adjudicatory hearing." (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1987 Supp., ch. 37, par. 702-7(3).) Since DeJesus had been adjudicated guilty of one of the charged offenses, the court ruled that an "adjudicatory hearing" within the meaning of section 2-7(3) had taken place and that a second adjudicatory hearing under the Act was barred by principles of double jeopardy. The court determined that further proceedings would be under the Juvenile Court Act pursuant to the plain language of section 2-7(6)(c) and dismissed the State's motion to permit prosecution under the criminal laws, advising the State that the order of dismissal was "final and appealable." The matter was transferred to Judge Block for "Disposition."

On January 22, 1988, the State filed a motion to declare section 2 -- 7(6)(c) unconstitutional or, in the alternative, to interpret the statute as permissive. A petition to sentence DeJesus pursuant to the Unified Code of Corrections accompanied the State's motion. In its motion, the State argued the legislative mandate of section 2 -- 7(6)(c) is unconstitutional in that it constitutes an invasion of the inherent powers of the judiciary. The defense moved to dismiss, arguing that Judge Gilleran-Johnson had already rejected the State's contention that it was within the court's discretion to proceed under the criminal laws and that the doctrine of res judicata therefore barred the State from pursuing, and the court entertaining, "other matters" which might have been raised before Judge Gilleran-Johnson. The defense claimed that the State was "seeking to accomplish, by attacking the constitutionality of section 2 -- 7(6)(c), that which it was unable to accomplish through [its] ...

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