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In re H.L.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

October 22, 2014

In re H.L., a Minor
v.
H.L., Respondent-Appellant) (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

Appeal from the Circuit Court of De Kalb County. Nos. 10-JD-103, 12-JD-134, 13-JD-199. Honorable William P. Brady, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

Pursuant to the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in Shirley, and contrary to the appellate court decisions in Grace and Travis, strict compliance with Supreme Court Rule 604(d) requires that counsel must file the Rule 604(d) certificate at or before the hearing on the motion to reconsider the sentence or the motion to withdraw the plea of guilty and vacate the judgment; therefore, in view of the failure of respondent's counsel to strictly comply with Rule 604(d) by filing a Rule 604(d) certificate at or before the hearing on respondent's motion to reconsider his sentence, the denial of respondent's motion was vacated, the delinquency and probation-revocation causes were remanded, and the trial court was directed to allow counsel to file a new motion, if necessary, to allow the timely filing of a new certificate, and to conduct a new hearing on the motion.

Thomas A. Lilien and Sherry R. Silvern, both of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for appellant.

Richard H. Schmack, State's Attorney, of Sycamore (Lawrence M. Bauer and Victoria E. Jozef, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE BIRKETT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hutchinson and Zenoff concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

BIRKETT, JUSTICE.

[¶1] This case presents the question of whether a certificate pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (eff. Feb. 6, 2013) must be filed before or at the hearing on a motion to reconsider the sentence. We hold that our supreme court has already

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answered the question by holding that, as a matter of strict compliance, such a certificate must be filed at or before the hearing on a motion to reconsider the sentence ( People v. Shirley, 181 Ill.2d 359, 692 N.E.2d 1189, 230 Ill.Dec. 23 (1998)), and we disagree with and do not follow contrary appellate authority ( People v. Grace, 365 Ill.App.3d 508, 849 N.E.2d 1090, 302 Ill.Dec. 678 (4th Dist. 2006); People v. Travis, 301 Ill.App.3d 624, 704 N.E.2d 426, 235 Ill.Dec. 77 (5th Dist. 1998)).

[¶2] Respondent, H.L., admitted the allegations in the petitions to revoke his probation in case Nos. 10-JD-103 and 12-JD-134 and the delinquency petition in case No. 13-JD-199.[1] Respondent was sentenced to indefinite commitment in the Department of Juvenile Justice. He filed a timely motion to reconsider the sentence, the trial court denied the motion, and, about three weeks after the hearing on the motion, respondent's counsel filed in the trial court both a notice of appeal and a Rule 604(d) certificate. Respondent contends on appeal that filing the Rule 604(d) certificate after the hearing on the motion to reconsider the sentence was not in strict compliance with the rule, thus requiring a remand to allow timely filing of the certificate, at or before the hearing on the motion to reconsider.

[¶3] We begin with the relevant language of Rule 604(d):

" No appeal from a judgment entered upon a plea of guilty shall be taken unless the defendant, within 30 days of the date on which sentence is imposed, files in the trial court a motion to reconsider the sentence, if only the sentence is being challenged, or, if the plea is being challenged, a motion to withdraw the plea of guilty and vacate the judgment. *** The trial court shall *** determine whether the defendant is represented by counsel, and if the defendant is indigent and desires counsel, the trial court shall appoint counsel. *** The defendant's attorney shall file with the trial court a certificate
stating that the attorney has consulted with the defendant either by mail or in person to ascertain defendant's contentions of error in the sentence or the entry of the plea of guilty, has examined the trial court file and report of proceedings of the plea of guilty, and has made any amendments to the motion necessary for adequate ...

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