Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit,Peoria County, Illinois No. 06--JD--232 Honorable Chris L. Fredericksen, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Carter
JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justice McDade concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Schmidt dissented, with opinion.
The respondent, S.B., was the subject of a juvenile petition alleging that he committed aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--14(b)(i) (West 2004)) and aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--16(c)(2)(i) (West 2004)). The circuit court found the respondent was not fit to stand trial. After a discharge hearing, the court dismissed the first count and found the respondent "not not guilty" on the second count. The court subsequently entered an order requiring the respondent to register as a sex offender. On appeal, the respondent argues, inter alia, that the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act (Registration Act) (730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2008)) do not apply to him because he was never adjudicated delinquent. We reverse.
The juvenile petition filed in this case alleged that the respondent, born June 5, 1991, was delinquent based on an incident that occurred between June 1 and August 1, 2005. Count I alleged that the respondent committed aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--14(b)(i) (West 2004)) in that he committed an act of sexual penetration with a victim under nine years of age by placing his finger inside her vagina. Count II alleged that the respondent committed aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--16(c)(2)(i) (West 2004)) in that he touched the victim's vagina with his hand. Eventually, the court found that the respondent was not fit to stand trial and that it was not substantially probable he would attain fitness within one year.
On August 28, 2007, the circuit court conducted a discharge hearing pursuant to section 104--25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/104--25 (West 2008)). At the close of the hearing, the court found the evidence insufficient to prove the respondent committed aggravated criminal sexual assault but sufficient to prove the respondent committed aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Accordingly, the court dismissed the aggravated criminal sexual assault count and found the respondent "not not guilty" of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
On December 31, 2009, the State filed a motion to compel the respondent to register as a sex offender pursuant to section 2(A)(1)(d) of the Registration Act (730 ILCS 150/2(A)(1)(d) (West 2008). After a hearing, the circuit court granted the State's motion and ordered the respondent to register as a sex offender. The respondent appealed.
On appeal, the respondent argues that the circuit court erred when it required him to register as a sex offender. The respondent contends, inter alia, that juveniles qualify as sex offenders under the Registration Act only if they have been adjudicated delinquent, as provided by section 2(A)(5). 730 ILCS 150/2(A)(5) (West 2008). This argument presents a question of statutory construction, which we review de novo. In re Estate of Dierkes, 191 Ill. 2d 326, 330 (2000).
"The cardinal rule of statutory construction, to which all other rules are subordinate, is to ascertain and give effect to the legislature's intent." People v. Hanna, 207 Ill. 2d 486, 497 (2003). The best indicator of the legislature's intent is the plain language of the statute itself. Hanna, 207 Ill. 2d at 497-98. In giving effect to the legislature's intent through the plain language of a statute, we presume that the legislature did not intend absurd, inconvenient, or unjust results. People v. Christopherson, 231 Ill. 2d 449, 454 (2008); Hanna, 207 Ill. 2d at 498 (citing Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 459-60 (1892)). "Accordingly, courts should consider the statute in its entirety, keeping in mind the subject it addresses and the legislature's apparent objective in enacting it." Christopherson, 231 Ill. 2d at 454.
Initially, we recognize that proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5--101 to 915 (West 2008)) differ from adult criminal proceedings. While proceedings brought under the Juvenile Court Act are not criminal in nature, certain procedures from the adult criminal system can apply. See generally People v. Taylor, 221 Ill. 2d 157, 166-67 (2006). Section 5--101(3) of the Juvenile Court Act specifically provides that, "[i]n all procedures under this Article, minors shall have all the procedural rights of adults in criminal proceedings, unless specifically precluded by laws that enhance the protection of such minors." 705 ILCS 405/5--101(3) (West 2008). With this enhanced protection principle in mind, we now address the merits of the respondent's argument.
In relevant part, section 2 of the Registration Act provides:
"(A) As used in this Article, 'sex offender' means any person who is:
(1) charged pursuant to Illinois law *** with a sex offense set forth in subsection (B) of this Section or the attempt to ...