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In re S.P.

June 08, 1998

IN RE S.P., A MINOR (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
S.P., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Buckley, P.j., and O'mara Frossard, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gallagher

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County

No. 96 JD 00708

Honorable Carol A. Kelly, Judge Presiding.

JUSTICE GALLAGHER delivered the opinion of the court:

A jury found the juvenile respondent, S.P., delinquent of attempted armed robbery. Pursuant to the habitual juvenile offender statute, section 5-35 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5-35 (West 1996)), the trial court committed respondent to the Illinois Department of Corrections, youth division, until his twenty-first birthday. On appeal, respondent contends that the habitual juvenile offender statute was erroneously applied to him, where respondent's two prior adjudications of delinquency did not result in his being adJudged a ward of the court.

The facts of the case are as follows. Respondent was adjudicated delinquent on July 20, 1994, under petition No. 94 JD 6890, for the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance. This offense occurred on April 3, 1994. Respondent was ordered to return to court for a Dispositional hearing on September 14, 1994. Because he failed to appear on that date, a juvenile arrest warrant was issued for respondent. This arrest warrant was executed on May 21, 1995, when respondent was again arrested for the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance. Respondent's subsequent arrest formed the basis for petition No. 95 JD 8210; this latter petition also resulted in respondent's being adjudicated delinquent, this time on June 7, 1995. The Dispositional hearing for both cases, petition Nos. 94 JD 6890 and 95 JD 8210, occurred on July 19, 1995, wherein respondent was (among other things) adJudged a ward of the court and placed on probation for one year.

A few months later, respondent was arrested for the present offense, attempted armed robbery, on January 11, 1996 (petition No. 96 JD 00708). The State moved to prosecute respondent as an habitual juvenile offender. Respondent moved to strike the State's motion, arguing that judgment was not entered on his two previous adjudications of delinquency until the July 19, 1995, Dispositional hearing; as a result, respondent did not qualify as an habitual juvenile offender. The trial court denied respondent's motion.

The jury found respondent, S.P., delinquent of attempted armed robbery. A Dispositional hearing was held on July 3, 1996. At that hearing, the State presented certified copies of the Dispositions in No. 94 JD 6890 and No. 95 JD 8210. The trial court adJudged respondent a ward of the court. As required by the habitual juvenile offender statute, the trial court then committed respondent to the Illinois Department of Corrections, youth division, until his twenty-first birthday. 705 ILCS 405/5-35(f) (West 1996).

Respondent asserts that the trial court erroneously determined that he qualified to be sentenced as an habitual juvenile offender. In his brief, respondent frames the issue as follows: "Whether the term 'adjudicated a delinquent minor' under the Habitual Juvenile Offender statute means a mere finding of delinquency on the offense(s) alleged in the Petition for Adjudication of Wardship or whether it means, in addition to a finding of delinquency, an Adjudication of Wardship and a Dispositional Order have been entered." (Emphasis in original.)

In support of his contention that the trial court erroneously committed him pursuant to the habitual juvenile offender statute, respondent argues: (1) the trial court's holding denied respondent all of the procedural rights of an adult in a criminal proceeding, in violation of the purpose and policy of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Juvenile Court Act or Act) (705 ILCS 405/1-2(3)(a) (West 1996)); and (2) prosecuting respondent, and those similarly situated, as an habitual juvenile offender frustrates the purpose of the habitual juvenile offender statute because respondent is denied the full opportunity to utilize the rehabilitative services available under the Juvenile Court Act.

In the Juvenile Court Act, a "delinquent minor" is defined as "any minor who prior to his 17th birthday has violated or attempted to violate *** any federal or state law or municipal ordinance." 705 ILCS 405/5-3(1) (West 1996). Elsewhere in this act, an "habitual juvenile offender" is defined as follows: "(a) Definition. Any minor having been twice adjudicated a delinquent minor for offenses which, had he been prosecuted as an adult, would have been felonies under the laws of this State, and who is thereafter adjudicated a delinquent minor for a third time shall be adJudged an habitual juvenile offender where:

1. the third adjudication is for an offense occurring after adjudication on the second; and

2. the second adjudication was for an offense occurring after ...


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