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12/22/89 In Re B.S.

December 22, 1989



Petitioner-Appellee, v.

B.S., Respondent-Appellant)

549 N.E.2d 695, 192 Ill. App. 3d 886, 140 Ill. Dec. 44 1989.IL.2016

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. John W. Rogers, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LaPORTA delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN,* J., concurs. JUSTICE McNAMARA Dissenting.


Following an adjudicatory hearing, respondent was found delinquent on a charge of theft of property valued under $300 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1)), was adjudicated a ward of the State, and was committed to the Juvenile Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections for an indeterminate period. On appeal, respondent contends that (1) the evidence failed to establish that the Department of Corrections was the least restrictive placement where he could receive treatment, (2) his commitment for an indeterminate period violated his constitutional rights to equal protection, due process, and proportionate penalties, and (3) trial counsel's failure to raise this constitutional issue deprived him of his right to effective assistance of counsel.

The evidence adduced at the adjudicatory hearing established that about 2 p.m. on October 12, 1987, the 13-year-old respondent went with his mother to the Payless Shoes store located at 6145 North Broadway in Chicago, Illinois. When he entered the store, respondent was carrying a brown paper bag that contained several items. While in the shoe store, respondent tried on a pair of boots but did not buy them because they were not the correct size. Before leaving, respondent took a pair of white high-top gym shoes and placed them in the bag he had carried into the store. Respondent and his mother then left the shoe store without paying for the gym shoes, which were valued at $27.99. Upon consideration of the evidence presented, the trial court found the respondent delinquent on the charge of theft.

At the Disposition hearing, probation officer LuAnn Nystrom testified that respondent had been referred to Intensive Probation Services but was rejected as a candidate for that program. Nystrom also testified as to the contents of a report of respondent's behavior while at the Audy Home. That report, dated December 1, 1987, indicated that respondent exhibited an abrupt and continued deterioration in his behavior, which included abusive acts in the classroom and threatening, aggressive, disobedient, and quarrelsome behavior. Nystrom also reported that respondent would not be considered a candidate for placement through the Department of Children and Family Services based upon the difficulty in placing him due to his sometimes violent reactions; the likelihood that his mother would be uncooperative; his need for counseling; the assessment that he could best be treated in the community; the assessment that there had not been sufficient or reasonable efforts to keep him in the home; and the fact that potential placements within the community had not been exhausted.

Nystrom indicated that a residential placement through the board of education was inappropriate because respondent was enrolled at the Joseph Academy for emotionally disturbed youngsters and because there were adequate community support services available. Nystrom stated further that respondent had been involved in counseling with Paul Kredow of Alternatives, Inc., a community-based counseling service, since May 1987. Nystrom expressed her opinion that respondent had made progress with this counseling situation and that he had the potential to do well with treatment in the home. Nystrom concluded that placement in the Department of Corrections would be inappropriate for respondent and recommended a referral to Unified Delinquency Intervention System.

Probation officer McAdoo from Intensive Probation Services testified that respondent was not an appropriate candidate for their program based upon the quantity of petitions he had accrued by the age of 13; the fact that seven of those petitions were for crimes against people; respondent's attitude; his lack of maturity; and his lack of remorse or understanding of his court involvement. McAdoo recommended that respondent be committed to the Department of Corrections. McAdoo also stated that support from the home environment for respondent was minimal and that the Department of Corrections had the ability to handle emotionally disturbed children.

Mr. Lampley of Intensive Probation Services testified that commitment to the Department of Corrections was the only appropriate recommendation before the court, but also stated that residential placement in an inpatient counseling facility was a possibility.

Also before the court was a social investigation report prepared by Nystrom which reflected that respondent lived with his mother in a two-bedroom apartment. Respondent's mother was unemployed but received benefits from the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Although respondent's father made child-support payments to the Department of Public Aid, he had very little contact or involvement with respondent. The report also indicated that respondent had two prior court referrals for neglect by his mother. Both of these charges were dismissed for want of prosecution. Respondent had eight other court referrals for delinquent matters which were dismissed for want of prosecution or stricken with leave to reinstate. Respondent was found delinquent of criminal damage to property in July 1985 and received a one-year term of supervision which was terminated satisfactorily. Respondent received 18 months' probation in February 1987, upon finding of delinquency for battery. In ...

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