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In re Shermaine S.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

January 9, 2015

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

As Corrected.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 JD 768. The Honorable Stuart Katz, Judge, presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

In an appeal following respondent's sentence as an habitual juvenile offender for robbery, the appellate court rejected his contentions that the habitual offender provision of the Juvenile Court Act was unconstitutional under the eighth amendment and the proportional penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution because the sentencing court was precluded from considering individualized factors about the minor and rehabilitation, since the appellate court was compelled to uphold the constitutionality of the statute based on the existing precedent set forth 35 years ago in Chrastka.

For PETITIONER-APPELLEE: Alan J. Spellberg, John E. Nowak, Katarina Durcova, Office of the State's Attorney, Chicago, IL.

For DEFENDANT-APPELLANT: Alan D. Goldberg, Jonathon Krieger, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL.

JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pucinski and Justice Lavin concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HYMAN, JUSTICE

Page 724

[¶1] Respondent contends the habitual offender provision of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5-815 (West

Page 725

2012)) is unconstitutional under the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. VIII) and the proportional penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution. (Ill. Const. 1970, art I., § 11). The gist of his argument is that (i) the mandatory sentencing provision violates the eighth amendment by precluding the sentencing court from taking into consideration individualized factors about the minor, including the offender's youth and attendant characteristics as delineated by the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. __, __, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 2468, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), and (ii) taking away the sentencing court's discretion violates the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution, which mandates a court consider rehabilitation in imposing a sentence. We are compelled to affirm based on existing precedent set forth some 35 years ago in People ex rel. Carey v. Chrastka, 83 Ill.2d 67, 413 N.E.2d 1269, 46 Ill.Dec. 156 (1980).

[¶2] Following a jury trial, respondent, 17-year-old Shermaine S., was convicted of robbery for taking an iPhone. Shermaine was adjudicated a delinquent minor and, because this was his third offense, sentenced as a habitual juvenile offender and committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) until his twenty first birthday as required by section 5-815(f) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-815(f) (West 2012)).

[¶3] BACKGROUND

[¶4] On March 7, 2014, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship for Shermaine, who was 16 years old at the time. The petition alleged that Shermaine stole an iPhone from Ashley Bradley and charged him with one count each of robbery, theft from person, and simple battery. The State proceeded on one count of robbery and entered nolle posequi on the other two counts. On March 13, 2014, the State gave notice of its intent to charge Shermaine as a habitual juvenile offender under section 5-815 of the Act (705 ILCS 405/5-815 (West 2012)), based on Shermaine's two prior adjudications for burglary.

[¶5] At trial, Ashley Bradley testified that on March 6, 2014, she was walking home at about 11:30 a.m. near 46th Street and Lake Park Avenue, Chicago. As Bradley listened to music on her iPhone, a person she identified as Shermaine grabbed her from behind and reached for her phone, which she was carrying in her right hand. Bradley turned around and looked at Shermaine's face for a " good two seconds." She said Shermaine told her to give him the phone but she resisted and tried to pull away. Shermaine then twisted her right arm, threw her to the ground, took the phone along with a Target bag she was holding in her left hand, and ran off. Bradley and a man standing nearby ran after Shermaine west on 46th Street and saw Shermaine turn right and head north on Woodlawn Avenue when they lost sight of him. Bradley used the man's cell phone to call the police.

[¶6] A few minutes later, two Chicago police officers, Isaac Lee and Arturo Martinez, arrived in a marked squad car. The bystander who had assisted Bradley left the scene and was not questioned by the police. Bradley described the perpetrator as an 18- to 21-year-old African American male, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, with a light to medium build, dreadlocks, dark skin, and wearing a long, black coat. Lee and Martinez drove Bradley around the area, and within about five minutes, Bradley saw Shermaine on the street and when he was about 15 feet away told the officers, " That's him."

[¶7] Officer Lee testified that Shermaine was walking briskly, but when ...


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