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Duncan v. People ex rel. Brady

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

April 24, 2013

MILES DUNCAN, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS ex rel. JERRY BRADY Respondent-Appellant.

Held [*]

The trial court erred in sealing the records showing that petitioner had registered as a sex offender following his conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse as a juvenile, notwithstanding the fact that a juvenile court terminated his registration requirement, since the sealing and expungement statute only allowed the sealing of records of arrests and charges not initiated by arrest, and under the statute, the records of petitioner’s compliance with the registration requirement could not be sealed.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, No. 11-MR-111; the Hon. Stephen Kouri, Judge, presiding.

Jerry Brady, State's Attorney, of Peoria (Terry A. Mertel and Judith Z. Kelly, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for appellant.

Michelle A. Vescogni, of Vescogni Law Office, P.C., of Peru, for appellee.

Presiding Justice Wright and Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

McDADE JUSTICE

¶ 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.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 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 a 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 nonincident 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 ...


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