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In re Joel L.

January 15, 2004

[5] IN RE: JOEL L., A MINOR, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
JOEL L., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



[6] Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 00JD85 Honorable George H. Ray, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Myerscough

[8]  In July 2002, the trial court adjudicated respondent, Joel L., a delinquent minor and found Joel in violation of his probation. In September 2002, the court held a dispositional hearing and ordered Joel committed to the Juvenile Division of the Department of Correction (DOC). Joel appeals, alleging that the State failed to prove that a police officer engaged in official duties was battered and that the charging instrument was void as a matter of law. We affirm.

[9]  I. BACKGROUND

[10]   On May 16, 2001, the trial court adjudicated Joel a delinquent minor and placed him on probation for two years. On March 6, 2002, the State filed a petition to revoke Joel's probation. On May 24, 2002, the State filed a supplemental petition to revoke probation. The supplemental petition alleged battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2) (West 2000)) and aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(6) (West 2000)). Also on May 24, 2002, the State filed another petition for adjudication of delinquency, making the same allegations. On July 12, 2002, the State filed another supplemental petition to revoke probation, alleging additional probation violations.

[11]   On July 29, 2002, the trial court held a hearing on the May 24, 2002, supplemental petition to revoke probation alleging battery and aggravated battery, and the May 24, 2002, petition for adjudication of delinquency alleging the same grounds. The State chose to proceed only on the aggravated battery count alleging bodily harm to Jason Lewis, asserted to be a peace officer engaged in the execution of his official duties.

[12]   At the time of this incident, Joel was 15 years old and a student at an area special education district facility. His record indicates depression and anxiety with particular disability to control acting out as a result of panic. There is further indication that only a highly structured and controlled environment has provided any modification in Joel's behavior.

[13]   On May 21, 2002, Joel was attending Sangamon Area Special Education District (SASED), which he had attended since approximately the end of April 2001. Lewis testified that he was a police officer with the Springfield police department (SPD). He further testified that SASED hires police officers to provide security for the school, and SASED had hired him as security for the school. He was in his third school year at SASED. When working as security at SASED, he did not wear a uniform, but wore a Springfield police shirt (which he described as a polo shirt with an SPD logo) and carried a badge, a firearm, and handcuffs.

[14]   Lewis testified that he was asked to deal with a disturbance involving Joel. He escorted Joel to the principal's office. The principal began talking to Joel about the incident, and that was when Joel started making threats toward another student and yelling about the situation. At that point, Lewis put Joel in handcuffs. Lewis testified that "I felt for everyone's safety, myself[,] and hisself [sic], the principal, anybody that was in that area--." After placing Joel in handcuffs, Lewis forcibly placed Joel in the chair because Joel refused to comply with Lewis's request to sit down. Lewis testified that he had not told Joel he was under arrest.

[15]   After Joel was placed in the chair, Lewis seated himself in another chair and began to complete paperwork. Almost immediately thereafter, Joel kicked the table, which was pushed against a second table. Lewis was sitting at the intersection of the two tables, and his arm was pinched between the tables, causing a cut and bruise. Lewis testified that he cleaned the cut at the school and did not go to the hospital.

[16]   The trial court found Joel committed aggravated battery thereby violating his probation. The court adjudicated Joel a delinquent minor and set the matter for a dispositional hearing.

[17]   In September 2002, the trial court committed Joel to DOC. The trial judge indicated that Joel has "emotional/mental health problems, which nobody has ever put their finger on *** I really don't understand what Joel's emotional problems are ***. My biggest problem with Joel is he's got some sort of underlying psychiatric or mental health or severe emotional problems that I don't really understand what they are." The common-law record is replete with numerous incidents of "acting out" behavior, manifesting itself in batteries and burglaries. This appeal followed.

[18]   II. ANALYSIS

[19]   Joel argues that the State failed to prove an essential element of aggravated battery of a police officer in the course of performing his official duties, namely, that a police officer was battered, and, second, that the charging instrument was void as a matter of law in that the alleged battery was not committed upon a police officer during the course of his ...


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