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People v. Budzynski

August 23, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
HENRY R. BUDZYNSKI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Menard County No. 95CM100 Honorable M. Carol Pope, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton

Defendant, Henry R. Budzynski, pleaded guilty to domestic battery and was sentenced to probation for one year. Defendant failed to comply with the conditions of the probation order. After the term of probation had expired, the State filed a petition to hold defendant in contempt for noncompliance. On June 18, 2001, the trial court held defendant in indirect criminal contempt for failing to complete the conditions and sentenced him to 90 days in jail. The court further ordered defendant to reimburse the public defender for services rendered. We vacate the judgment of the trial court.

I. BACKGROUND

On April 8, 1996, defendant pleaded guilty to domestic battery and was sentenced to probation for one year. The probation order required defendant to report to the probation office as directed by the probation officer and successfully complete a domestic violence counseling program. The probation officer directed defendant to report in person once per month.

Defendant reported as required until April 1997. At that time, defendant informally agreed to an extension of his probation until August 30, 1997, to allow him time to complete the domestic violence program. On June 23, 1997, two months after the expiration of defendant's term of probation, defendant's probation officer, Virginia Reiser, filed a report with the trial court, which stated that defendant had agreed to sign a petition to modify requesting an extension of his probation until August 30, 1997, in order to complete the counseling, but that defendant had then failed to sign and return the petition. The report stated that, as of June 3, 1997, defendant had attended only 7 sessions of the 26-week domestic violence program. The report further stated that defendant failed to report to the probation officer in May and June 1997. The report requested that the State consider filing a rule to show cause as to why defendant should not be held in contempt of court.

On August 15, 1997, the State filed a petition for rule to show cause alleging that defendant willfully failed to complete the conditions of his probation and requested that defendant be held in contempt therefor. The petition was set for hearing on August 25, 1997. Defendant failed to appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest. After failing to appear at two subsequently scheduled hearings, defendant was arrested on March 14, 2001. The State's petition was again set for May 21, 2001. On May 21, 2001, the State filed a petition for adjudication of indirect criminal contempt replacing, but containing the same allegations as, its August 15, 1997, petition for rule to show cause. The trial court advised defendant of his rights in regard to the pending petition. At the time, defendant was unemployed so counsel was appointed to represent him. The State's petition for indirect criminal contempt was set for hearing on June 18, 2001.

At the hearing, Reiser testified that she supervised defendant's probation and defendant reported as required until April 1997 when his probation expired. She and defendant agreed to extend the term of probation so defendant could complete the domestic violence program since he had attended only 7 of the 26 required sessions. Defendant failed to report from May through August 1997 and failed to return the petition to modify extending the probationary term prior to the original termination date of April 8, 1997. Defendant eventually signed the form; however, Reiser did not file the petition with the court since the original term had expired. Reiser did not consider defendant to have successfully completed the conditions of his probation.

Defendant acknowledged that he agreed to extend the term of his probation through August 30, 1997. He stated that he stopped reporting in April 1997 because his original probationary period was over and the company that he worked for at the time had sent him on long-term, out-of-state assignments. He intended to report in July 1997, but his elderly parents became ill and he needed to work to support them. He stated that he turned himself in on two occasions but was called to work before he was able to follow through. After suffering a work-related injury, defendant turned himself in for a final time.

After hearing the evidence, the trial court held that the agreement to extend the term of probation had no legal effect because it was executed after the original term had expired. The trial court did not find defendant in contempt for failing to report after April 1997. However, the trial court found that defendant willfully failed to complete the domestic violence program, and he willfully left the state--failing to appear on several occasions to answer the charge. The court found defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of indirect criminal contempt for failing to complete the domestic violence program as ordered. Defendant was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to reimburse the public defender $175. This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to find him in contempt because his probation period had expired, and (2) it was error for the trial court to order reimbursement of the public defender's fee without conducting a hearing on defendant's ability to pay.

A court's jurisdiction generally ends with the expiration of probation. People v. Wilson, 293 Ill. App. 3d 339, 341, 687 N.E.2d 1182, 1184 (1997). Once the probation period ends, the defendant may stop looking over his shoulder and is assured that the State will not seek any more onerous sentence, which the court originally could have imposed. At that point, probation is terminated and there is nothing left to revoke or modify. Wilson, 293 Ill. App. 3d at 341, 687 N.E.2d at 1184.

However, this general rule only applies to revocation or modification of probation. In some instances, a court may retain subject-matter jurisdiction to enforce unfulfilled conditions of probation after the probation period has expired. Wilson, 293 Ill. App. 3d at 341-42, 687 N.E.2d at 1184. Trial courts may use their contempt power after the probation period to enforce conditions of probation that can survive independently of the probation order. Wilson, 293 Ill. App. 3d at 342, 687 N.E.2d at 1184.

In Wilson, the State filed a petition for rule to show cause 45 days after the defendant's probation expired. The State requested the defendant be held in contempt for willfully failing to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, a condition of the defendant's probation order. This court, following the decision in People v. Bertalot, 164 Ill. App. 3d 89, 518 N.E.2d 467 (1987) (use of civil or criminal contempt proceedings not available after expiration of term of probation), held that, to survive the period of probation as an independent disposition, the punishment must exist as a sentencing alternative under section 5-5-3(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Unified Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3(b) (West 1996)). ...


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