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08/23/95 L.J. v. L.J.

August 23, 1995

IN THE INTEREST OF L.J., A MINOR. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
L.J., A MINOR, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE HARRY B. ARON, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Rizzi delivered the opinion of the court: Tully, J., and Cerda, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rizzi

JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court:

The State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship in the Juvenile Court, alleging that the respondent, L.J., a minor, was delinquent in that he committed the offense of first degree murder. The State then filed a motion in the Juvenile Court for a transfer of L.J. to the general adult criminal division of the circuit court to be prosecuted for first degree murder. After a hearing the Juvenile Court denied the State's motion to transfer, and the State has appealed from the denial of their motion. We reverse and remand with directions.

At the time of the homicide L.J. was 14 years and 6 months old. The victim, Antwon Blackwell, was 13 years old. Blackwell was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest.

The shooting occurred on October 16, 1991, at 6:30 p.m. near 6556 South Bishop, in Chicago. L.J. and D.H. approached Blackwell and four of his friends who were standing near a street corner. L.J. and D.H. were members of a street gang known as the Black Disciples. Blackwell and his friends were not members of any street gang, although they knew L.J. and D.H. from living in the neighborhood.

L.J. and D.H. began to argue with Blackwell apparently because L.J. and D.H. wanted Blackwell to join the Black Disciples. Blackwellwas pushed to the ground and kicked. D.H. told L.J. to "Shoot him. Shoot him." L.J. pulled out a gun and shot Blackwell. While Blackwell was on the ground holding his stomach and screaming, L.J. and D.H. left the scene. Blackwell died from the gunshot wound, which pierced his chest and heart. L.J. and D.H. were arrested and charged with murder.

In reviewing the Juvenile Court's order, we make some preliminary observations. If a petition for adjudication of wardship alleges commission by a minor 13 years of age or older of an act that constitutes a crime in Illinois, and, on motion by the State, after investigation and hearing but before commencement of the adjudicatory hearing, the Juvenile Court finds that it is not in the best interests of the minor or of the public to proceed under the Juvenile Court Act, the Juvenile Court may enter an order permitting prosecution under the criminal laws. 705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(a) (West 1992). The State's motion to transfer implicates this discretion of the Juvenile Court.

In a hearing on a motion to transfer a minor from the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court to the general adult criminal division of the circuit court for prosecution, the burden is upon the State to present sufficient evidence to persuade the Juvenile Court to grant the motion to transfer. People v. D.B. (1990), 202 Ill. App. 3d 194, 200, 559 N.E.2d 873, 877, 147 Ill. Dec. 533. On appeal, the reviewing court may not merely substitute its judgment for that of the Juvenile Court. Rather, the reviewing court must determine whether the Juvenile Court abused its discretion in ruling on the motion to transfer. The discretion of the Juvenile Court, however, is limited and controlled by the standards set forth in the Juvenile Court Act.

The Juvenile Court Act lists seven factors which the Juvenile Court must consider in reaching its decision on whether to grant the motion to transfer. 705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(b) (West 1992). Specifically, the seven factors listed in the Juvenile Court Act include:

(i) whether there is sufficient evidence upon which a grand jury may be expected to return an indictment; (ii) whether there is evidence that the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner; (iii) the age of the minor; (iv) the previous history of the minor; (v) whether there are facilities particularly available to the Juvenile Court for the treatment and rehabilitation of the minor; (vi) whether the best interest of the minor and the security of the public may require that the minor continue in custody or under supervision for a period extending beyond his minority; and (vii) whether the minor possessed a deadly weapon when committing the alleged offense. 705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(b) (West 1992).

Here, the Juvenile Court found that the State presented sufficient evidence upon which a grand jury may be expected to return an indictment, and that there is sufficient evidence that the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner. Thus, there is no dispute that the State has presented sufficient evidence to grant its motion to transfer insofar as the first two factors to be considered.

The third factor to be considered is the age of the minor. L.J. was 14 years and 6 months old at the time of the homicide. Fifteen year old minors are automatically tried as adults for the crimes of first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, armed robbery when the armed robbery was committed with a firearm, and unlawful use of weapons under prescribed circumstances. 705 ILCS 405/4 (6)(a) (West 1992). ...


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