from Circuit Court of Logan County Nos. 14JD2115JD31
Honorable William G. Workman, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE APPLETON delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Steigmann and Pope concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 After adjudicating respondent, Ronald J., to be a
delinquent minor and making him a ward of the court, the
trial court committed him to the Department of Juvenile
Justice (Department). Respondent appeals on two grounds: (1)
the court erred by finding commitment to be in his best
interest and in the best interest of the public, and (2) the
court failed to review statutorily required evidence before
ordering his commitment.
2 We agree with the second argument and thus do not reach the
first argument. One of the individualized factors the trial
court had to consider was the "[e]ducational background
of the minor, indicating whether the minor ha[d] ever been
assessed for a learning disability, and if so what services
were provided as well as any disciplinary incidents at
school." 705 ILCS 405/5-750(1)(D) (West 2014). The only
school-related evidence in the record is that respondent is a
freshman at Lincoln Community High School, he has accumulated
a lot of unexcused absences, and he has been repeatedly
suspended. The record does not reveal anything else about his
educational background or whether he ever has been assessed
with a learning disability. Nor does the record reveal the
nature of the disciplinary incidents for which he was
suspended. Until the trial court hears and considers such
evidence, it lacks the discretion to order commitment. See
705 ILCS 405/5-750(1) (West 2014). Therefore, we vacate the
order of commitment, and we remand this case for full
compliance with section 5-750(1)(D) of the Juvenile Court Act
of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-750(1)(D) (West 2014)).
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 On May 5, 2014, in Logan County case No. 14-JD-21, the
State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship, in which
the State accused respondent (born April 26, 2000) of
committing misdemeanor theft (720 ILCS 5/16-l(a)(1) (West
2014)) by stealing a child's bicycle from a front lawn.
5 On July 17, 2014, in return for 12 months of probation,
respondent pleaded guilty to theft. The probation was
conditional on his serving 15 days of detention, which were
stayed; performing 40 hours of community service within the
next 9 months; and refraining from committing any further
6 On March 4, 2015, the State filed a motion to lift the stay
of detention. According to the motion, respondent had
accumulated 40 unexcused absences from Lincoln Community High
School; 30 in-school suspensions; 8 external suspensions,
each lasting one day; and an external suspension lasting four
days. On March 12, 2015, the trial court found respondent to
be noncompliant with probation, and the court lifted the stay
as to seven days.
On April 30, 2015, the State filed another motion to lift the
stay of detention. According to this motion, respondent had
accumulated nine unexcused absences from school and had
received an external suspension for five days. On June 4,
2015, the trial court again found him to be noncompliant, and
the court lifted the stay as to eight days.
On June 24, 2015, the State filed a petition to revoke
probation. The petition alleged that respondent had failed to
complete 40 hours of community service.
On July 14, 2015, in Logan County case No. 15-JD-31, the
State filed another petition for adjudication of wardship.
This petition alleged that respondent had committed the Class
2 felony of burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1 (a), (b) (West 2014))
by entering a car and taking change out of the center
10 In a hearing on September 10, 2015, respondent pleaded
guilty to burglary and admitted he had failed to perform the
required community service. The trial court revoked probation
and resentenced him to five years of probation. This
probation was conditional on his attending school each day
(or having an excused absence), completing 60 hours of
community service within 9 months, and staying indoors
between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day of the week.
11 On November 19, 2015, the State filed a motion to lift the
stay of detention on the ground that respondent had received
27 unexcused absences from school. On December 3, 2015, the
trial court found respondent to be ...