APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
546 N.E.2d 816, 190 Ill. App. 3d 584, 137 Ill. Dec. 871 1989.IL.1735
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Philip J. Equi, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and INGLIS, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD
Frank T. Fujinaga, defendant, was charged in a nontraffic complaint ticket in the circuit court of Du Page County with possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis in violation of a Village of Glen Ellyn (Village) ordinance (Glen Ellyn, Ill., Municipal Code title 6, ch. 2, 6-2-3.16(1981)), which is punishable by a fine only. Defendant appeared for arraignment on February 28, 1989, and the trial Judge dismissed the complaint. The court ruled that the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 37, par. 801 et seq.) precluded it from exercising jurisdiction over defendant, a minor.
The Village, plaintiff, appeals pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 301 (107 Ill. 2d R. 301) from the circuit court's dismissal of the complaint against defendant for possession of cannabis. *fn1 The issue raised is whether the circuit court had jurisdiction other than through the procedures contained in the Juvenile Court Act in this prosecution of a juvenile for violation of a Village ordinance where the penalty for its violation is a fine only.
On January 27, 1989, a verified nontraffic complaint and arrest ticket was executed and filed with the circuit court of Du Page County. The face of the complaint shows that defendant was born June 4, 1973, indicating that he was 15 years old at the time of the alleged offense. On February 28, 1989, defendant appeared with his parents for arraignment. When informed that defendant was 15 years old, the trial Judge determined that he was without jurisdiction to hear the case against him because defendant was a juvenile. The court sua sponte dismissed the charge against defendant and informed him that any further proceedings on the matter would have to be brought in juvenile court. The court rejected the Village's contention that jurisdiction was proper because the offense charged carried a penalty of a fine only.
We note initially that no brief has been filed with this court on behalf of the defendant. However, where the record is simple and the claimed errors are such that the court can easily decide them without the aid of an appellee's brief, as here, a reviewing court should decide the merits of the appeal. (First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill. 2d 128, 133, 345 N.E.2d 493, 495.) Although the Glen Ellyn village ordinance was not made part of the record, we take judicial notice of its provisions pursuant to section 8-1002 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 8-1002).
On appeal, the Village contends that although section 5-4(1) of the Juvenile Court Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 37, par. 805-4(1)) generally requires prosecutions against minor defendants to be carried out according to the Act's procedures in juvenile court, an exception to this requirement contained in section 5-4(2) of the Act is clearly applicable in the instant case. The relevant provisions of the Act which were in effect on January 27, 1989, read as follows:
"(1) Except as provided in this Section, no minor who was under 17 years of age at the time of the alleged offense may be prosecuted under the criminal laws of this State or for violation of an ordinance of any political subdivision thereof.
(2) Subject to paragraph (5) of Section 5-10, any minor alleged to have committed a traffic, boating or fish and game law violation whether or not the violation is punishable by imprisonment or an offense punishable by fine only may be prosecuted therefor and if found guilty punished under any statute or ordinance relating thereto, without reference to the procedures set out in this Act." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 37, par. 805-4.)
The Village maintains that, because the ordinance violation which defendant was charged with is punishable by a fine only, the Juvenile Court Act did not prohibit the circuit court from hearing this case.
In City of Waukegan v. Forster (1978), 59 Ill. App. 3d 842, 376 N.E.2d 356, this court had occasion to interpret a prior version of the statutory provision presently at issue. The provision interpreted in that case, section 2-7 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1965 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 37, par. 702-7), stated that "any minor alleged to have committed . . . an offense punishable by fine only may be prosecuted therefor and if found guilty punished under any statute or ordinance relating thereto, without reference to the procedures set out in this Act." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 37, par. 702-7(2).) This language is identical to that currently at ...