Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 15 JD 00085
Honorable Stuart F. Lubin, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE PIERCE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Presiding Justice Hyman dissented, in part, with opinion.
1 Respondent, Jarquan B., was found to be in violation of his
misdemeanor probation on November 17, 2015, and was committed
to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Respondent
argues the 2016 amendment to section 710(b)(1) of the
Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act), precluded the juvenile
court from committing him to the DJJ for a misdemeanor
offense. 705 ILCS 405/5-710(1)(b) (West 2016). He also argues
that the court did not award the proper credit against his
sentence for time served on home confinement. For the
following reasons, we affirm but modify the mittimus.
3 The State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship for
the offense of criminal trespass to a motor vehicle, a Class
A misdemeanor (720 ILCS 5/21-2 (West 2014)), after
respondent, a minor, was observed driving in a stolen vehicle
on December 18, 2014. Respondent entered a plea of guilty on
February 26, 2015 and was sentenced to 12 months' court
supervision, 30 days stayed detention, and community service.
The court informed respondent that if he violated the terms
of his supervision, it could enter a finding of delinquency
against him and "place [him] on probation, I can hold
you in custody for up to 30 days, or I could send you to the
Department of Corrections." On the date of the offense
the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor was less than
one year incarceration. 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55 (West 2014).
4 The State filed a motion to execute the stay of mittimus in
July 2015, asking the trial court to hold respondent in the
juvenile temporary detention center (JTDC) for leaving his
residential placement without permission. The court entered
and continued the motion to stay and gave respondent a chance
to remain at home while on electronic home monitoring (EHM).
Respondent violated his EHM the next day and the court
ordered respondent to serve 10 days in JTDC. After he was
released, respondent again left his placement without
permission and was ordered to serve another 10 days in the
5 On September 28, 2015, the State filed a petition alleging
that respondent violated his supervision by leaving his
residential placement. On October 13, 2015, respondent
admitted to the petition and the court revoked his
supervision. At sentencing on November 5, 2015, the court
sentenced respondent to 6 months' probation. The court
asked respondent if he understood that based on his
admission, the court could have sentenced respondent to the
DJJ where he could remain until he turned 21. Respondent
answered that he understood.
6 On November 6, 2015, the State filed a supplemental
petition alleging that respondent violated his probation
because he missed school and left his residence. Respondent
admitted to the supplemental probation violation. The matter
was held over for sentencing and during this period
respondent reportedly continued to violate the terms of his
probation. The court again asked respondent if he was aware
that based on his admission to the probation violation, that
he could be committed to the DJJ. Respondent stated that he
7 On December 5, 2015, respondent violated his electronic
monitoring and the terms of his probation by leaving his
residential placement without permission. An arrest warrant
issued two days later. Respondent was arrested on the warrant
on February 5, 2016.
8 On February 18, 2016, the probation department reported to
the court that respondent's probation officer had wanted
to request commitment to the DJJ in November or December
2015, but opined that the DJJ was no longer an option for
respondent. While the court was considering possible
sentences, respondent's probation officer told the court
that "the law changed making him [respondent] less
eligible for the Department of Corrections." The court
stated that because respondent was placed on probation in
November 2015, all sentences available then, including
commitment to the DJJ, were possible. The court told
respondent that if he left his placement again without
permission, he would be sent to the DJJ.
9 In mid-March, 2016 respondent again left his residential
placement without permission and an arrest warrant issued
resulting in respondent's arrest about a month later. On
April 26, 2016, the juvenile court sentenced respondent to
the DJJ. The court rejected defense counsel's argument
that the law had changed and minors could no longer be
sentenced to the DJJ for misdemeanor adjudications.
Respondent was given credit for the 67 days spent in
detention, however, he was not given any credit for the time
he was on electronic monitoring or home confinement. On April
28, 2016, the DJJ returned respondent to court apparently
refusing to take custody of respondent, resulting in the
court ordering its April 26 order committing respondent to
the DJJ to stand, explaining that should the DJJ return
respondent back to court, "the department [would] be
held in contempt of court." Respondent appealed.
11 Effective January 1, 2016, section 710 of the Act was
amended to prohibit the commitment of juveniles to the DJJ
for misdemeanor offenses. 705 ILCS 405/5-710(1)(b) (West
2016). Respondent argues on appeal that on the date of
sentencing, April 26, 2016, the juvenile court lacked the
statutory authority to commit him to the DJJ for a violation
of his misdemeanor probation.
12 Initially, the State argues that this issue is moot
because respondent has served his sentence in the DJJ and has
been released. An issue becomes moot when an actual
controversy no longer exists and the interests of the parties
no longer are in controversy. Novak v. Rathnam, 106
Ill.2d 478, 482 (1985). If an appeal involves the validity of
a sentence, and that sentence has been served, the appeal is
rendered moot. In re Shelby R., 2013 IL 114994.
However, exceptions to the mootness doctrine exist. Specific
to this case is the public interest exception that requires
"(1) the existence of a question of a public nature; (2)
the desirability of an authoritative determination for the
purpose of guiding public officers in the performance of
their duties; and (3) the likelihood the question will
recur." People v. McCaskill, 298 Ill.App.3d
260, 264 (1998).
13 In In re Dexter L., 334 Ill.App.3d 557, 572
(2002), this court applied the public interest exception to
the mootness doctrine where a juvenile was found in violation
of his probation and was ordered to be detained for 30 days
in the county jail. The State argued that the appeal was moot
because respondent had already served the 30 days. We
concluded that "[t]he detention of a juvenile is a
matter of public concern, and an authoritative determination
of the issue will guide public officials and juvenile court
judges who are likely to face the problem in the
future." Id. (citing People v.
Clayborn, 90 Ill.App.3d 1047, 1052 (1980)). We also
reasoned that, due to the time constraints imposed by the
Act, the issue was likely to recur with other minors in the
future. Id. We find the same considerations outlined
in In re Dexter L., to be relevant here.
14 Similar to in In re Dexter L., the issue
presented here is a matter of public concern and an
authoritative determination of this issue by this court will
guide juvenile court judges who are likely to consider this
issue in the near future. There are undoubtedly numerous
juveniles who, prior to January 1, 2016, are currently
serving a sentence of probation for an underlying misdemeanor
offense. Those juveniles were eligible to be sentenced to the
DJJ at the time of sentencing on their misdemeanor offense
and face the potential of being sentenced to the DJJ if found
in violation of that probation. We therefore find the public
interest exception to the mootness doctrine applies and we
will consider the merits of respondent's appeal.
15 Respondent asserts the "statute" is ambiguous,
without specifying what statute, or the basis for his
argument. We assume what respondent is referring to is that
the language of the 2016 amendment to section 710(1)(b) is
ambiguous. Respondent and our dissenting colleague look to
the legislative debates surrounding this amendment to discern
the intent of the legislature in support of the argument that
respondent's commitment to the DJJ after January 1, 2016
for a violation of misdemeanor probation imposed prior to
January 1, 2016 is unauthorized.
16 Respondent argues that the juvenile court lacked the
statutory authority under the Act to commit him to the DJJ
for the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass to vehicle
because, as of January 1, 2016, the court no longer had the
statutory authority to sentence him to the DJJ for a
misdemeanor offense. On February 26, 2015, respondent pled
guilty to criminal trespass to vehicle and was sentenced to
supervision. On respondent's sentencing date, section
710(1)(b) of the Act authorized the ...