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In re C.J.

February 08, 2002


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 98 JD 12893 The Honorable Edward N. Pietrucha, Presiding Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Buckley


Respondent-appellant C.J., a minor, was adjudicated delin-quent. He appeals, contending that the pretrial detention provis-ion of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (the Act), (705 ILCS 405/5-501 (West 1998)), violates the United States and Illinois Constitu-tions. We affirm.


The minor's adjudication of delinquency arises from two separate cases. On November 16, 1998, when the minor was almost 16 years old, he was stopped by Chicago police officers. During a field interview, a clear plastic bag containing a yellow rock fell out of his mouth. Subsequently, he spit out three more such bags, all containing suspect cocaine, and was arrested. The next day, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship alleging possession of a controlled substance.

It is unclear whether the minor was ever detained on this charge. There is no such indication in the record. All that exists regarding this drug case is an order for temporary detention dated November 17, 1998, which states there is probable cause to believe the minor is delinquent but does not indicate the required "immediate and urgent necessity" to detain him. Moreover, no judge ever signed this order.

While his drug case was pending, the minor was again arrested on January 23, 1999. In response to shots fired at an apartment building, Chicago police officer Ted Davis patted down the minor and recovered a .38-caliber revolver. On January 25, 1999, the State filed a second petition for adjudication of wardship alleging unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.

A detention hearing on this weapons case was held that same day. The State asked to proceed against the minor by way of proffer pursuant to section 5-501 of the Act. The proffer included Officer Davis' testimony and police report, signed by two other officers and their sergeant. The minor objected and asked the court for leave to file a motion declaring section 5-501 unconstitutional. The court granted leave and continued the constitutional challenge.

However, the detention hearing proceeded. First, based on the State's proffer, the court found probable cause to believe the minor was delinquent and in need of supervision. Second, based on the minor's juvenile record published at this hearing, the court found "immediate and urgent necessity" to detain him pursuant to section 5-501(2) (705 ILCS 405/5-501(2) (West 1998)). That record revealed that he had three referrals to juvenile court: two (the drug case of November 17, 1998, and a burglary case from December 4, 1998) were pending, and a third (an armed robbery on June 27, 1996) had already resulted in a finding of delinquency. The minor's record also showed various probation violations and arrest warrants.

However, the case was continued until the next day for the hearing on the minor's constitutional challenge to the Act. The parties appeared, but the matter was set for February 22, 1999, with a separate hearing on the constitutional claim to be held before that date. There is no indication in the record that a hearing on this claim took place.

At the adjudicatory hearing on February 22, 1999, the court heard arguments on the minor's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence on both his drug and weapons cases. The court denied the motion as to both cases and finally adjudged the minor delinquent. On March 8, 1999, the court entered a disposition of 30 days in the juvenile detention center, time considered served, and 5 years' probation.

The minor appeals his disposition. He contends that section 5-501 of the Act, which allows a juvenile court to order the pretrial detention of a minor based on the State's proffer, is unconstitutional in several respects. He argues that it violates the Illinois Constitution in that it denies juveniles the same procedural protections as adult criminals. He also maintains that it violates the fourth and sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amends. IV, Vl) in that it denies juveniles a preliminary hearing, the right to effective counsel and an adequate determination of probable cause.

We note that at oral argument before our court, the minor requested leave to file supplemental authority. We granted this request. The minor then cited Williams v. Kobel, 789 F.2d 463 (7th Cir. 1986). While Williams stands for the proposition that there are two levels of probable cause in an adult criminal proceeding (Williams, 789 F.2d at 470 (the probable cause to bind adult over for trial in preliminary hearing is more stringent than the probable cause necessary to arrest adult)), we do not believe, for the reasons set forth below, that this aids the minor in his cause.


This appeal challenges the constitutionality of a statute; therefore, it is subject to de novo review. See Miller v. Rosenberg, 196 Ill. 2d 50, 57 (2001). However, a statute is presumed to be constitutional, and the burden lies with the party challenging it to clearly establish its constitutional invalidity. See Arangold Corp. v. Zehnder, 187 Ill. 2d 341, 351 (1999); Russell v. Department of Natural Resources, 183 Ill. 2d 434, 441 (1998) (court must construe statute to affirm constitutionality if reasonably capable of such construction).

The Juvenile Justice Reform Provisions of 1998 (Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) are a set of provisions that became effective on January 1, 1999, and changed several delinquency portions of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. In the instant case, the minor makes both state and federal constitutional challenges to section 5-501 of the Juvenile Court Act as reformed by Public Act 90-590 that now permits pretrial detention of minors based on a proffer made at the detention or shelter care hearing. Specifically, the minor challenges this portion of the statute:

"At the appearance of the minor before the court at the detention or shelter care hearing, the court shall receive all relevant information and evidence, including affidavits concerning the allegations made in the peti-tion. Evidence used by the court in its find-ings or stated in or offered in connection with this Section may be by way of proffer based on reliable information offered by the State or minor." (Emphasis added.) 705 ILCS 405/5-501 (West 1998).

We are confronted with two distinct cases on appeal: the minor's drug case and his weapons case. Because different facts are ...

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