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People v. B.L.S.

September 21, 2001

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



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois No. 00-JD-16 Honorable Clarke C. Barnes Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Homer

UNPUBLISHED

In this appeal, B.L.S. claims: (1) he should not have been committed to the Department of Corrections (DOC) without the judge considering a social investigation report, and (2) he should receive credit against his commitment for the time he spent in predisposition detention. We order the credit and otherwise affirm.

BACKGROUND

B.L.S., a minor, committed an aggravated battery and was held in predisposition detention before being adjudicated an habitual juvenile offender under section 5--815(f) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (the Act) (705 ILCS 405/5--815(f) (West 2000)). After the adjudication, he was committed to the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division (DOC), until his twenty-first birthday, as section 5--815(f) requires. Section 5--705(1) of the Act calls for preparation of a social investigation report before a minor is committed to the DOC. 705 ILCS 405/5--705(1) (West 2000). However, the judge did not order such a report before sentencing B.L.S. to the commitment required in section 5--815(f).

ANALYSIS

I. Commitment Under Section 5-815(f) Without A Social Investigation Report

Respondent contends that the trial court's failure to order a social investigation report prior to committing him to the DOC requires that the commitment order be vacated and entitles him to a new dispositional hearing. We disagree.

Section 5--705(1) of the Act, which pertains to juvenile offenders in general, provides:

"No order of commitment to the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, shall be entered against a minor before a written report of social investigation, which has been completed within the previous 60 days, is presented to and considered by the court." 705 ILCS 405/5-705(1) (West 2000).

Section 5--815(f) of the Act, a special provision pertaining solely to habitual offenders, provides:

"If the court finds that the prerequisites established in subsection (a) of this Section have been proven, it shall adjudicate the minor an Habitual Juvenile Offender and commit him to the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, until his twenty-first birthday, without possibility of parole, furlough, or non-emergency authorized absence." 705 ILCS 405/5--815(f) (West 2000).

Respondent bases his claim on the mandatory language of section 5-705(1) requiring the court to consider a social investigation report before committing a minor to the DOC. However, our review of the relevant provisions of the Act leads us to conclude that section 5-705(1) does not apply in this case. Section 5--705(1) is part of a comprehensive statutory scheme specifying, inter alia, the circumstances under which a trial judge shall determine whether to make the minor a ward of the court. If the minor is made a ward of the court, section 5-705(1) directs the judge to determine the disposition best suited to the interests of the minor and the public. The statute further provides that the judge may rely on "[a]ll evidence helpful in determining these questions, including oral and written reports." 705 ILCS 405/5--705(1) (West 2000). The social investigation report is one such written report.

Accordingly, the report is generally necessary to guide a court in determining (1) whether to make the minor a ward of the court, and (2) an appropriate disposition for the minor if he is adjudged a ward of the court. In the instant case, however, the court never faced these determinations because B.L.S.'s habitual juvenile offender status invoked section 5--815(f), which automatically required a disposition of commitment to the DOC. The mandatory nature of the disposition naturally also required that B.L.S. be made a ward of the court. See In re S.P., 297 Ill. App. 3d 234, 696 N.E.2d 739 (1998) (noting that a disposition cannot be made without an underlying adjudication of wardship). Because B.L.S. had been adjudicated an habitual juvenile offender, the court was required to commit him to the DOC ...


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