The juvenile petition filed against respondent was properly dismissed where respondent was over 21 years of age when the petition was filed and was not subject to the Juvenile Court Act, and in the absence of a valid petition, the trial court had no discretion to transfer the case to criminal court, regardless of the fact that he was under 17 when the alleged offense was committed.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, No. 07-JD-57; the Hon. Fernando L. Engelsma, Judge, presiding.
Michelle J. Courier, State's Attorney, of Belvidere (Lawrence M. Bauer and Scott Jacobson, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
Thomas A. Lilien and Christopher McCoy, both of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for appellee.
PRESIDING JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McLaren and Hudson concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 This case comes before this court for a second time. In 2007, the State charged respondent, Luis R., then age 21, by delinquency petition with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, which he allegedly committed when he was 14. On remand from the Illinois Supreme Court, the trial court granted respondent's motion to dismiss the petition, and the State appeals. The State argues that the trial court erred by dismissing the charges and by failing to consider the State's motion for a discretionary transfer to criminal court.
¶ 2 We hold that, although the juvenile court had subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and the inherent authority to adjudicate the petition, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 2006)) did not authorize the State to institute juvenile delinquency proceedings against respondent, because he was over the age of 21 when the petition was filed. The juvenile court correctly dismissed the petition because respondent was not subject to the Act when the petition was filed, even though he was under the age of 17 when he allegedly committed the offenses. Without a valid juvenile petition, no discretionary transfer to criminal court was permitted under the Act. We affirm.
¶ 3 I. FACTS
¶ 4 On August 8, 2007, the State filed a petition in the circuit court of Boone County, alleging that respondent was a delinquent minor and seeking to make him a ward of the court. 705 ILCS 405/5-520(2) (West 2006). The petition charged two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, arising from conduct that occurred "on or about June through August of 2000." Respondent immediately moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that, because he was 21 years old, the trial court was "without jurisdiction over [his] person." The State, in turn, moved to prosecute respondent under the criminal laws. See 705 ILCS 405/5-805(3) (West 2006) (juvenile court may determine whether certain non-automatic-transfer cases might be appropriate for criminal court). In a separate motion, the State asked the trial court to designate the proceedings as an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) prosecution. See 705 ILCS 405/5-810 (West 2006). When a juvenile prosecution is designated as an EJJ prosecution, a guilty plea, a verdict of guilt, or a finding of guilt requires the judge to impose two sentences: a juvenile sentence, and an adult criminal sentence that is stayed on successful completion of the terms of the juvenile sentence. 705 ILCS 405/5-810(4) (West 2006). The trial court granted respondent's motion to dismiss without ruling on the State's motions.
¶ 5 The State appealed, and this court affirmed the dismissal. In re Luis R., 388 Ill.App. 3D 730 (2009) (Luis R. I). In so doing, we examined section 5-120 of the Act, which states in relevant part:
"Exclusive jurisdiction. Proceedings may be instituted under the provisions of this Article concerning any minor who prior to the minor's 17th birthday has violated or attempted to violate any federal or State law or municipal or county ordinance. Except as provided in [certain other sections of the Act], no minor who was under 17 years of age at the time of the alleged offense may be prosecuted under the criminal laws of this State." 705 ILCS 405/5-120 (West 2006).
¶ 6 Under section 5-105(10) of the Act, a "minor" is defined as "a person under the age of 21 years subject to this Act." 705 ILCS 405/5-105(10) (West 2006). According to the plain language of section 5-105(10) and section 5-120, we concluded that the State may institute proceedings under the Act only against persons who (1) are under the age of 21 and (2) prior to turning 17, violated or attempted to violate the law. The State's petition alleged that respondent was younger than 17 when he committed the alleged crimes, but respondent was no longer "under the age of 21" at the time the petition was filed. Accordingly, we held that section 5-120 does not authorize the State to institute proceedings against respondent under the Act, even though respondent was under 17 years of age when he allegedly committed the crimes. Luis R. I, 388 Ill.App.3d at 732-33. We concluded that there were no ...