Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, No. 11-MR-111 The Honorable Stephen Kouri Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McDADE
JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Wright and Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 After the trial court sealed police records generated by petitioner's compliance with his obligation to register as a sex offender, the State appealed, arguing that the Criminal Identification Act (20 ILCS 2630/0.01 et seq. (West 2010)) does not allow for the sealing of records that are not arrests or charges initiated by arrest. We reverse.
¶ 3 On April 5, 2011, petitioner Miles Duncan filed a petition seeking to have certain records sealed or expunged. Relevant to this appeal, counts IV through XII of his petition sought to have eight "non-criminal Peoria Police Reports" sealed. Petitioner had previously been convicted for aggravated criminal sexual abuse as a juvenile, and was required to register as a sex offender with the Peoria police department while he was attending college. In 2008, the juvenile court found that petitioner posed no risk to the community and terminated his registration requirement. The Peoria police reports petitioner sought to seal were generated each time he complied with his sex offender registration requirement-these reports did not reflect arrests or charges against petitioner.
¶ 4 At the sealing and expungement hearing, petitioner testified that he graduated from college in 2008, obtained a Certified Public Accountant accreditation in 2009, and that he was currently pursuing an Master of Business Administration degree. He indicated that he wanted his records sealed because these police records were showing up on criminal background checks, which caused employers to reject him as a candidate.
¶ 5 The State objected to sealing of the reports noting petitioner's compliance with the registration requirement, arguing that the sealing and expungement statute only allowed the sealing of records for "arrests" or "charges not initiated by arrest." See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(c)(2)(A)-(F) (West 2010). Because the reports were non-incident reports and not arrests or charges, the State argued the court lacked authority to seal the records.
¶6 The trial court disagreed, and ordered the records sealed on August 31, 2011. Relying on State v. Fletcher, 974 A.2d 188 (Del. 2009), as persuasive authority, the court reasoned that because petitioner's registration requirement was terminated, it could seal the police reports as indicia of the registration requirement. The State filed a motion to reconsider, again arguing that the language of the sealing statute did not allow the reports generated by petitioner's registration to be sealed. The trial court denied the State's motion on December 13, 2011, reasoning that the state's reading of the statute was too narrow. The State appealed.
¶ 9 We first note that the State has filed multiple notices of appeal in this case, and therefore we must determine whether we have jurisdiction. The State filed a notice of appeal on January 11, 2012, within 30 days of the trial court's decision on the motion to reconsider, and filed a second notice of appeal on January 17, 2012. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the State's second notice of appeal was timely and was sufficient to grant jurisdiction.
¶ 10 A notice of appeal is timely and confers jurisdiction on the appellate court if it is filed within 30 days of a final order. Ill. S. Ct. R. 303(a)(1) (eff. May 30, 2008). The Criminal Identification Act (Act) provides that orders to expunge or seal records do not become final until 30 days after the order is served on all parties entitled to notice. 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(11) (West 2010). See also 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(8) (West 2010) (listing which parties are entitled to notice). Here, the sealing order was served on all parties on December 14, 2011, and under the statute it did not become final until January 13, 2012. The State's first notice of appeal, filed on January 11, 2012, was premature under the statute. A party can potentially lose its right to appeal if it files too early; however, if a party is genuinely confused about what constitutes a final order, it may protect itself by filing multiple notices of appeal. In re Commitment of Hernandez, 239 Ill. 2d 195, 204 (2010). The State was evidently confused as to when the trial court's order ...