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In re B.L.S.

December 05, 2002

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



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kilbride

Docket No. 92643-Agenda 16-September 2002.

B.L.S. was adjudicated an habitual juvenile offender and committed to the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, (DOC) until his twenty-first birthday, as mandated by section 5-815(f) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (the Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-815(f) (West 2000)). The appellate court affirmed the adjudication and commitment, but held that B.L.S. was entitled to credit for time spent in custody before sentencing. 325 Ill. App. 3d 96, 100. This court allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill. 2d R. 315.

The State asks this court to hold that B.L.S. is not entitled to receive predisposition credit against his commitment. B.L.S. seeks cross-relief, asking this court to hold that the appellate court erred in determining that a social investigation report was not required before committing him to the DOC. We affirm the appellate court and hold that: (1) an habitual juvenile offender is entitled to receive predisposition credit against a determinate sentence; and (2) the trial court's failure to order a social investigation report before committing B.L.S. to the DOC was harmless error.

I. BACKGROUND

B.L.S., a minor, pleaded guilty to an aggravated battery and was held in custody in a juvenile detention home before being adjudicated an habitual juvenile offender under section 5-815(f) of the Act (705 ILCS 405/5-815(f) (West 2000)). Pursuant to the requirements of section 5-815(f) of the Act, B.L.S. was committed to the DOC until his twenty-first birthday. The trial court did not award any predisposition credit, nor did the trial court order a social investigation report before committing B.L.S. to the DOC. The appellate court affirmed the adjudication and commitment, but held that B.L.S. was entitled to predisposition credit and remanded the cause for calculation of predisposition detention credit. 325 Ill. App. 3d 96. This court allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill. 2d R. 315.

II. ANALYSIS

At issue is whether habitual juvenile offenders are entitled to receive credit for predisposition custody. The relevant portion of the Act, section 5-815(f), provides as follows:

"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 21st birthday, without possibility of parole, furlough, or non- emergency authorized absence. However, the minor shall be entitled to earn one day of good conduct credit for each day served as reductions against the period of his confinement. Such good conduct credits shall be earned or revoked according to the procedures applicable to the allowance and revocation of good conduct credit for adult prisoners serving determinate sentences for felonies.

For purposes of determining good conduct credit, commitment as an Habitual Juvenile Offender shall be considered a determinate commitment, and the difference between the date of the commitment and the minor's 21st birthday shall be considered the determinate period of his confinement." 705 ILCS 405/5-815(f) (West 2000).

The State contends that habitual juvenile offenders are not entitled to credit for predisposition confinement because the Act does not expressly provide for such credit. B.L.S. argues that an habitual juvenile offender is entitled to receive the same credit as an adult offender sentenced to a determinate sentence.

Also at issue is the social investigation report requirement of the Act. Section 5-705(1) of the Act provides, in relevant part:

"At the sentencing hearing, the court shall determine whether it is in the best interests of the minor or the public that he or she be made a ward of the court, and, if he or she is to be made a ward of the court, the court shall determine the proper disposition best serving the interests of the minor and the public. *** 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).

B.L.S. argues that the trial court erred in failing to order a social investigation report before committing him to the DOC. The State contends that a social investigation report is not required before sentencing an habitual juvenile offender to the DOC because the trial court has no sentencing discretion.

The parties raise issues of statutory construction. We review issues of statutory construction de novo. In re D.D., 196 Ill. 2d 405, 418 (2001). The primary purpose of statutory construction is to determine and give effect to the legislature's intent, while presuming the legislature did not intend to create absurd, inconvenient, or unjust results. D.D., 196 Ill. 2d at 418-19. The best indication of legislative intent is the language of the statute. In re D.L., 191 Ill. 2d 1, 9 (2000). If the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to resort to other aids of construction. D.L., 191 Ill. 2d at 9. A statute is ambiguous if it is capable of more than one reasonable interpretation. In re B.C., 176 Ill. 2d 536, 543 (1997). In ascertaining ...


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