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City of Urbana v. Andrew N.B.

November 20, 2002


Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 01OV640 Honorable Jeffrey B. Ford, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton


The city attorney of Urbana, Illinois, filed a complaint against defendant, Andrew N.B., alleging he had committed theft in violation of chapter 15, section 32(a)(1), of the Urbana Code of Ordinances. Urbana Code of Ordinances, ch. 15, §32(a)(1) (eff. September 1, 1980). Defendant, 12 years old and pro se, pleaded guilty. The maximum punishment under the ordinance was a $75 fine. Urbana Code of Ordinances, General Provisions, §1-18 (eff. September 1, 1980). The trial court placed defendant under its supervision for 12 months, subject to conditions. Defendant violated two of the conditions, and the city filed a petition for adjudication of indirect criminal contempt. The trial court appointed an attorney for defendant and, after an evidentiary hearing, granted the city's petition. For the contempt, the trial court sentenced defendant to 12 months' probation and 180 days' detention, 8 days to be served immediately and the rest subject to further hearings on remission.

All of the proceedings, from the initial prosecution to the finding of criminal contempt, unfolded "without reference to the procedures set out in" article V of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Juvenile Court Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-101 through 5-915 (West 2000)). See 705 ILCS 405/5-125 (West 2000). Defendant appeals, - 1 -arguing (1) section 5-125 violated his right to equal protection and due process, (2) the city should have filed its petition for contempt as a new criminal case, and (3) the sentence is too severe, considering his age and lack of a prior criminal record. We disagree with all three contentions and affirm the trial court's judgment.


The complaint alleged that on April 11, 2001, at 1109 North Color Avenue in Urbana, defendant "knowingly exercised unauthorized control over" a $100 bill belonging to someone else. Appearing with his father, defendant pleaded guilty on May 3, 2001. Immediately afterward, that same day, the trial court entered its order of supervision, which included a list of conditions. Two of the conditions were that defendant "[o]bey all household rules" and "attend school on time each and every day *** unless properly excused."

On May 24, 2001, the city filed its petition for adjudication of indirect criminal contempt, alleging: (1) defendant was absent from school, without excuse, on May 4, 7, and 8, 2001, and (2) defendant's mother "listed [him] as a runaway" on or about May 8, 2001. The city "waive[d] any sentence of incarceration that equal[ed] or exceed[ed] six months, or a fine of more than $500.00."

Defendant's court-appointed attorney filed a motion to dismiss the petition pursuant to section 114-1(a)(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/114-1(a)(6) (West 2000)) on the ground that the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. In his motion, defendant argued that section 5-125 required the trial court to follow the procedures in the Juvenile Court Act if there was a possibility of detention (See 705 ILCS 405/5-125 (West 2000) ("except that any detention, must be in compliance with this [a]rticle")), including an adjudicatory hearing to determine whether defendant should be made a ward of the court (See 705 ILCS 405/5-705(1) (West 2000)). Until the trial court declared him a ward of the court, it had no jurisdiction to order his detention, defendant argued. The trial court disagreed because its inherent power to enforce its orders did not depend on the Juvenile Court Act. See In re G.B., 88 Ill. 2d 36, 41, 430 N.E.2d 1096, 1098 (1981).

In his brief, defendant admits he violated conditions of the supervision. Therefore, we need not recapitulate the testimony in the evidentiary hearing on July 25, 2001. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found defendant to be "in indirect criminal contempt of court" and scheduled the sentencing hearing for July 30, 2001.

On July 30, 2001, prior to sentencing, the trial court heard defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, for a new trial. Observing that the motion made essentially the same arguments as the motion to dismiss, the trial court denied it and proceeded to the hearing on sentencing. The city stated it had no evidence in aggravation. Defendant presented, as evidence in mitigation, a letter of apology from himself to his grandmother, apologizing for stealing the money from her. (One of the conditions, in the order of supervision, was that defendant "[w]rite a letter of apology to *** Dorothy Mays" of 1109 North Coler Avenue.)

According to the sentencing report, defendant was born on June 8, 1988, making him 13 years old. His parents were divorced, and he resided with his mother. The mother reported that defendant had a "serious problem with his temper," particularly when she "nag[ged]" him to do chores. When angry, he punched holes in walls or hit his younger siblings. He had pushed his mother, attempted to choke her, and threatened to hit her. He had left home through a window after his mother went to bed, and she had reported him as a runaway several times. The mother considered him to be "out of her control." Defendant had no prior involvement with the courts or police. He admitted experimenting with marijuana in May 2001 and drinking alcohol in June 2001. He was on medication for hyperactivity, but the doctor did not think increasing the dosage would help him and recommended counseling instead.

The trial court considered defendant's most recent report card, showing he had received F's in every subject except chorus, in which he had received a "pass," and physical education and "resource," in which he had received D's. Defendant's letter of apology to his grandmother revealed he could not spell such words as "sorry," "learn," "lesson," "never," and "again."

The trial court put defendant on probation for 12 months, subject to these conditions, among others: that he (1) take all prescribed medications; (2) undergo all treatment and counseling the court services department recommended, including "anger control"; (3) go to school every day it is in session and "try in school"; and (5) obey his mother. In addition, the trial court sentenced him to 180 days in the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center, 8 days to be served immediately, from July 30 to August 6, 2001, and the balance subject to remission.

In his notice of appeal, filed on September 4, 2001, defendant appeals from both the order of May 3, 2001 (the conviction of theft), and the order of July 30, 2001 (the sentence for contempt). He filed a motion for ...

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