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In re B.C.P.

Supreme Court of Illinois

June 20, 2013

In re B.C.P., a Minor The People of the State of Illinois, Appellant,
v.
B.C.P., Appellee.

JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Garman, Karmeier, and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

THOMAS JUSTICE

¶ 1 At issue is whether the State should be allowed to take an interlocutory appeal from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence in a proceeding under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 2010)).

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 The State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship, alleging that B.C.P. was delinquent because he committed two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. 720 ILCS 5/12-16(c)(2)(i) (West 2010). B.C.P. moved to suppress his confession on the grounds that he was not advised of his Miranda rights. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the motion to suppress. The State filed a certificate of impairment and a notice of appeal. The appellate court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. 2012 IL App (3d) 100921. The court reasoned that no supreme court rule specifically allowed the State to take an interlocutory appeal from the granting of a motion to suppress in a juvenile delinquency proceeding. Id. ¶¶ 8, 9. We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).

¶ 4 ANALYSIS

¶ 5 The State argues that it should have the same right to appeal interlocutory suppression orders in juvenile delinquency cases as it has in criminal cases. The State's right to appeal an order granting a motion to suppress evidence in criminal cases is found in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (eff. July 1, 2006), which provides as follows:

"(1) When State May Appeal. In criminal cases the State may appeal only from an order or judgment the substantive effect of which results in dismissing a charge for any of the grounds enumerated in section 114-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963; arresting judgment because of a defective indictment, information or complaint; quashing an arrest or search warrant; or suppressing evidence ."
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 660(a) (eff. Oct. 1, 2001) covers appeals in delinquent minor cases, but it expressly incorporates the criminal appeals rules only as to final judgments:
"Appeals from final judgments in delinquent minor proceedings, except as otherwise specifically provided, shall be governed by the rules applicable to criminal cases."[1]
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 662 (eff. Oct. 1, 1975) allows for appeals of certain interlocutory orders in juvenile cases, but an order granting a motion to suppress is not one of them.

¶ 6 On appeal, the State concedes that these rules do not expressly allow the State to take an appeal from an interlocutory order suppressing evidence in a juvenile delinquency proceeding. However, the State points out that, in People v. DeJesus, 127 Ill.2d 486 (1989), and People v. Martin, 67 Ill.2d 462 (1977), this court allowed the State to take appeals in juvenile delinquency proceedings in situations that were not expressly covered by the rules. The State then argues that the reasoning in those cases should be extended to cover the present case. The State also argues that public policy concerns should give it a right to appeal in this situation, and that these concerns have been made stronger since the 1998 amendments to the Juvenile Court Act. By contrast, respondent argues that no supreme court rule gives the State the right to appeal in this situation. Respondent acknowledges the State's policy concerns, but points out that there are policy concerns on the other side as well and argues that these matters would be better considered by this court's rules committee.

¶ 7 First, we must clarify what will guide our consideration of this issue. Both parties cite the familiar rule that the same rules apply to the construction of statutes and supreme court rules (People v. Marker, 233 Ill.2d 158, 164-65 (2009)), and both parties then cite the basic rules of statutory construction—determining the intent of the drafter, not departing from plain language that is clear and unambiguous, etc. However, we do not believe that construction of a rule is at issue here. Even the State fully concedes that the supreme court rules, as currently written, do not allow for it to take an interlocutory appeal in this situation. What the State asks for is, in essence, a modification of the rule to allow for such an appeal.

¶ 8 Properly understood, the State's argument does not ask us to interpret the supreme court rules, but rather to exercise our rulemaking authority under the Illinois Constitution. See Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, §§ 4(c), 16. Although the appellate court was bound to follow the rules as written, this court has the constitutional power to modify the rules if it sees fit.

ΒΆ 9 The State's argument asks us to invoke our rulemaking authority to modify the supreme court rules to allow it to appeal an interlocutory order suppressing evidence in a juvenile delinquency case. By contrast, the defendant argues that, if this is what the court wants to do, it should turn the matter over to its rules committee. As both parties concede that the plain language of the rules does not allow for such an appeal, our analysis will not be guided by the principles of statutory construction. ...


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