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People v. Woolsey

July 05, 2001

IN RE: S.P. AND J.W., MINORS, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
AMBER WOOLSEY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 99JA58 Honorable Ann A. Einhorn, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Myerscough

UNPUBLISHED

In July 1999, the State filed a two-count petition pursuant to sections 2-3(1)(a) and (1)(b) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Juvenile Court Act) (705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(a), (1)(b) (West 1998)), alleging that respondent, Amber Woolsey, failed to provide her minor children, S.P. and J.W., with adequate shelter and exposed the children to unsanitary living conditions. Although the court continued the matter under supervision (CUS) until May 2, 2000, the State filed a petition to revoke CUS pursuant to section 2-20(5) of the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/2-20(5) (West 1998)) on April 6, 2000. The trial court set the petition to revoke CUS for hearing on May 31, 2000. On May 30, 2000, however, respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition to revoke CUS because (1) section 2-20(5) requires such a petition to be heard within 15 days of filing and (2) the State failed to call the matter for hearing within that 15-day period. The trial court denied respondent's motion to dismiss and proceeded with adjudicatory and dispositional hearings, resulting in the children being made wards of the court and their guardianship being transferred to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

On appeal, respondent only challenges the trial court's decision denying her motion to dismiss the State's petition to revoke CUS because the hearing was not held within the 15-day period proscribed by statute. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Respondent is the biological mother of S.P. and J.W., born October 26, 1982, and December 29, 1984, respectively. The minors' father is deceased. DCFS received several indicated reports of abuse prior to filing the neglect petition in this case.

In July 1998, DCFS received a report, alleging that respondent had caused S.P. to have abrasions, scratches, and redness on her cheek after a physical altercation. Respondent refused services at the time of the investigation. In May 1999, DCFS received an additional report, alleging environmental neglect.

A child protective investigator (investigator) attempted to contact respondent and her children regarding the allegations of environmental neglect. Despite the investigator's numerous attempts, respondent failed to return the investigator's messages. In June 1999, the investigator was finally able to contact respondent at her residence and notify respondent that she had three days to show marked improvement in the cleanliness of the home. Respondent refused services again.

On June 11, 1999, the investigator returned to respondent's home to again find filth and debris. On July 8, 1999, the State filed a petition to have S.P. and J.W. declared neglected minors due to unsanitary living conditions under sections 2-3(1)(a) and (1)(b) of the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(a), (1)(b) (West 1998)). In November 1999, the trial court granted the CUS for a period of six months during which time the children were to remain in respondent's custody until mid-May 2000. The trial court set the matter for a May 2, 2000, status hearing regarding the CUS, more than two weeks before the six-month CUS period would have run.

On April 6, 2000, however, the State filed a petition to revoke the CUS pursuant to section 2-20(5) of the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/2-20(5) (West 1998)), alleging that respondent violated the trial court's CUS order "in that the respondent's home is in an unsanitary condition and [DCFS] has been denied access to the respondent's home." The trial court acknowledged the State's petition to revoke the CUS at the May 2, 2000, hearing, admonished respondent as to the petition, appointed new counsel to represent her, appointed a new attorney and guardian ad litem for the children, set a hearing on the revocation petition on May 31, 2000, and continued the CUS until the revocation hearing.

On May 30, 2000, respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition to revoke the CUS, arguing that (1) section 2-20 requires such a petition to be heard within 15 days of filing and (2) the State failed to call the matter for hearing within that 15-day period. At the May 31, 2000, hearing, the trial court denied respondent's motion to dismiss, heard evidence on the State's petition to revoke the CUS, recessed and continued the hearing on the revocation petition until June 2, 2000, and continued the CUS until the June 2, 2000, hearing.

At the June 2, 2000, hearing, the trial court reconvened the hearing on the State's petition to revoke the CUS. The trial court learned that Mary Palma (Palma) had been appointed S.P.'s guardian in October 1994. The trial court permitted the State to amend its petition for adjudication of wardship to add Palma as a party to the proceeding. As to J.W., the trial court revoked the CUS and found J.W. to be a neglected minor. The trial court also set an admonition hearing for Palma regarding the petition for adjudication of wardship as to S.P. and set a dispositional hearing regarding J.W. for June 29, 2000. The trial court entered its written adjudicatory order finding J.W. neglected on June 21, 2000.

On June 29, 2000, the trial court admonished Palma of the nature of the allegations found in the petition for adjudication of wardship and the possible consequences of the proceedings. The trial court continued the adjudicatory hearing as to S.P. until August 14, 2000.

Also at the June 29, 2000, hearing, the trial court held a dispositional hearing regarding J.W. The trial court found that J.W. was a neglected minor and made the minor a ward of the court. The trial court appointed DCFS as J.W.'s ...


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