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People ex rel. Alvarez v. Howard

Supreme Court of Illinois

December 1, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS ex rel. ANITA ALVAREZ, Petitioner,
v.
HONORABLE CAROL M. HOWARD et al., Respondents.

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

          OPINION

          THOMAS, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Petitioner, Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney of Cook County, seeks a writ of mandamus or prohibition against respondent, the Honorable Carol M. Howard, judge of the circuit court of Cook County. See Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 4(a). Following a statutory amendment that raised the automatic transfer age for juveniles, defendant, Luis Montano, moved to send his pending criminal case to juvenile court for a discretionary transfer hearing. Respondent granted the motion. The State now seeks a writ of mandamus or prohibition directing respondent to rescind her order. We hold that respondent's order was in conformance with the law, and we therefore decline to award the State a writ of mandamus or prohibition.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On June 13, 2013, a grand jury indicted defendant, Luis Montano, for 29 counts of first degree murder, arising out of the shooting death of Eugenio Solano, and 4 counts of attempted murder and 1 count of aggravated battery, arising out of the shooting of Raul Maza. The offenses were alleged to have occurred on March 29, 2013.

         ¶ 4 Defendant was born on September 4, 1997, and was 15 years old at the time of the offenses. The charges against defendant were brought in criminal court, pursuant to the version of section 5-130 of the Juvenile Court Act in effect at the time:

"§ 5-130. Excluded jurisdiction.
(1)(a) The definition of delinquent minor under Section 5-120 of this Article shall not apply to any minor who at the time of an offense was at least 15 years of age and who is charged with: (i) first degree murder, (ii) aggravated criminal sexual assault, (iii) aggravated battery with a firearm as described in Section 12-4.2 or subdivision (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), or (e)(4) of Section 12-3.05 where the minor personally discharged a firearm as defined in Section 2-15.5 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012, (iv) armed robbery when the armed robbery was committed with a firearm, or (v) aggravated vehicular hijacking when the hijacking was committed with a firearm.
These charges and all other charges arising out of the same incident shall be prosecuted under the criminal laws of this State." 705 ILCS 405/5-130 (West 2014).

         ¶ 5 While the charges against defendant were pending in criminal court, the legislature amended section 5-130(1)(a). Public Act 99-258 was approved by the Governor on August 4, 2015, and went into effect on January 1, 2016. Pub. Act 99-258 (eff. Jan. 1, 2016). Among the changes that Public Act 99-258 made was to raise the age for automatic adult prosecution for the enumerated offenses from 15 to 16 and to reduce the number of offenses that qualify for automatic transfer by eliminating subsections (iv) and (v). On February 8, 2016, defendant filed a "Motion to Transfer to Juvenile Court for Transfer Hearing, " alleging that the recent amendment removed criminal court jurisdiction over the case because defendant had been 15 years old when the offenses occurred. Defendant argued that the change to the statute was a purely procedural one that should be applied retroactively to pending cases and that the legislature had not included a savings clause preserving criminal jurisdiction over pending cases.

         ¶ 6 The State filed a response, arguing that because the implementation of Public Act 99-258 was delayed until January 1, 2016, it is presumed to have a prospective effect. The State based its argument on the approach set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Landgraf v. USI Film Products, 511 U.S. 244 (1994), and adopted by this court in Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Will County Collector, 196 Ill.2d 27 (2001). According to the State, the legislature indicated the temporal reach of the statute by delaying its implementation date, and therefore it cannot be applied retroactively.

         ¶ 7 Following a hearing, respondent granted defendant's motion and transferred the cause to juvenile court. The court noted that the legislature had not included a savings clause for the amendment to section 5-130, which was significant because the legislature had included savings clauses for other provisions of the Juvenile Court Act amended by the same public act. For example an amendment to the discretionary transfer section of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5-805 (West 2014)) provided that, "[t]he changes made to this Section by this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly apply to a minor who has been taken into custody on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly." Pub. Act 99-258 (eff. Jan. 1, 2016). The court further noted that the General Assembly had provided a savings clause for previous amendments to section 5-130 (see Pub. Act 94-574 (eff. Aug. 12, 2005); Pub. Act 98-61 (eff. Jan. 1, 2014)) and that this court had relied on another savings clause in Public Act 98-61 to hold that an amendment to section 5-120 of the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/5-120 (West 2014)) was prospective only. See People v. Richardson, 2015 IL 118255. The court then applied the Landgraf test for retroactivity and determined that the amendment to section 5-130 applies to pending cases. The court explained that, because the legislature had not indicated the temporal reach of the amendment, the temporal reach was determined by reference to section 4 of the Statute on Statutes. See 5 ILCS 70/4 (West 2014). Section 4 has been interpreted to mean that substantive amendments are prospective only, while procedural ones are retroactive. See People v. Glisson, 202 Ill.2d 499, 507 (2002). The court noted that this court held in People v. Patterson, 2014 IL 115102, that the juvenile transfer statute is purely procedural. Therefore, the amendment to section 5-130 was a procedural one that would apply retroactively. The court concluded that it no longer had jurisdiction over the case and ordered it transferred to juvenile court.

         ¶ 8 The State then moved to reconsider. The State first argued that respondent erred in finding that the court had lost jurisdiction over the case. The State pointed out that, pursuant to the Illinois Constitution, the circuit courts have original jurisdiction over all justiciable matters, except where the supreme court is vested with original jurisdiction. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 9. Thus, whether a person is tried in juvenile or criminal court is a matter of procedure rather than jurisdiction. See People v. P.H., 145 Ill.2d 209, 222 (1991). The State further argued that the court erred in ruling that the absence of a savings clause is indicative of legislative intent and that the amendment's delayed implementation date meant that it was to be applied prospectively only. Finally, the State contended that, although the statutory amendment was procedural, it could not be applied retroactively because it would have a "retroactive impact."

         ¶ 9 Respondent denied the State's motion but entered an order clarifying her previous order. Respondent agreed with the State that the circuit court is a unified court of jurisdiction. However, respondent explained that, by enacting the Juvenile Court Act, the legislature had exercised its power to change the law that governs which division of the circuit court has administrative responsibility for cases involving juveniles accused of violating the law. The court ruled that, for the reasons given in its previous order, the amendment applied retroactively and therefore defendant's case belonged in juvenile court. Respondent ...


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