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In re B.G.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

July 18, 2017

In re B.G., a Minor
B.G., Respondent-Appellant. The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Grundy County, Illinois Appeal No. 3-17-0144 Circuit No. 04-JD-52 Honorable Robert C. Marsaglia, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 B.G. appeals from the circuit court's dismissal of his petition to terminate registration as a sex offender. We reverse and remand.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On September 14, 2004, the State filed a four-count petition for adjudication of wardship. B.G. subsequently pled guilty to count III, which alleged that he had committed an act of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(3) (West 2002)). The State moved to dismiss the remaining three counts, and the court adjudicated B.G. delinquent on count III. On September 29, 2004, the court sentenced B.G. to two years' probation. In its order, the court did not expressly impose the statutorily mandated 10-year sex offender registration term. 730 ILCS 150/2, 3, 7 (West 2004). However, defendant was subject to the registration period by operation of law, and therefore, we infer that he first registered in 2004.

         ¶ 4 On November 12, 2012, in case No. 12-CF-237, the State charged B.G. with failing to register as a sex offender (730 ILCS 150/10(a) (West 2012)). On April 22, 2013, B.G. pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 30 months of conditional discharge.

         ¶ 5 On September 7, 2016, B.G. filed a petition to terminate registration as a sex offender. 730 ILCS 150/3-5 (West 2016). At a subsequent hearing, the State orally moved to dismiss B.G.'s petition. The State argued that B.G.'s April 2013 conviction for failing to register initiated a "new" 10-year sex offender registration period under section 7 of the Sex Offender Registration Act (Act) (730 ILCS 150/7 (West 2012)). Therefore, the State concluded that B.G.'s section 3-5 petition was premature, as he had to wait five years from the start of his "new" registration period. 730 ILCS 150/3-5(c) (West 2016). The five-year waiting period on B.G.'s original registration expired in 2009. The court granted B.G. leave to file a written response and continued the case for additional argument.

         ¶ 6 After hearing the parties' supplemental arguments, the court granted the State's motion to dismiss. The court found that B.G. could petition to terminate his registration no sooner than five years after his "new" registration. B.G. appeals.

         ¶ 7 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 8 B.G. argues that the circuit court erred in dismissing his petition on the grounds that it was premature. In response, the State contends that the court's ruling was correct because B.G.'s 2013 conviction started a "new" registration period and B.G. could not file a section 3-5 petition until 2018, at the earliest. For the following reasons we find that B.G.'s 2013 conviction did not act to create a "new" registration period, and therefore, his 2016 petition was not premature.

         ¶ 9 The parties' arguments raise a question of statutory interpretation: at what point in time can an individual, who has been subject to additional registration requirements under section 7 of the Act, file a petition to terminate sex offender registration, under section 3-5 of the Act? The language of the operative statutes is the best indicator of legislative intent, and we give that language its plain and ordinary meaning. In re E.B., 231 Ill.2d 459, 466 (2008). We construe the statute as a whole and consider words or phrases in light of other relevant provisions of the statute. Id. We review an issue of statutory interpretation de novo. People v. Beachem, 229 Ill.2d 237, 243 (2008).

         ¶ 10 B.G.'s petition for termination was filed under section 3-5 of the Act. Section 3-5 specifies the rights and obligations of juvenile delinquents who are subject to the Act. 730 ILCS 150/3-5 (West 2016). Section 3-5 is intended "to protect the rights of juvenile delinquents, who have a greater likelihood of rehabilitation, by allowing them the opportunity to petition the court to remove them from the sex offender registry." In re Rufus T., 409 Ill.App.3d 969, 975 (2011) (reviewing the legislative history of Public Act 95-658 (eff. Oct. 11, 2007) which added section 3-5 to the Act). Subsection 3-5(c) provides an individual, who was adjudicated delinquent as a minor, with the statutory right to petition the circuit court for termination of the registration requirement. 730 ILCS 150/3-5(c) (West 2016). Subsection 3-5(c) states:

"For a minor adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if charged as an adult, would be a felony, no less than 5 years after registration ordered pursuant to subsection (a) of this Section, the minor may petition for the ...

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