from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois, Circuit Nos. 14-TR-11353 and 14-TR-11354
Honorable Theodore J. Jarz, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Holdridge and Wright concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 The State appeals following the trial court's vacatur
of a judgment entered on the forfeiture of defendant's
bond. It argues that the court was without jurisdiction to
vacate the more than three-year-old judgment. We agree and
vacate the trial court's order as void.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 Defendant, Fernando Higuera Jr., pled guilty to driving
while license suspended (625 ILCS 5/6-303 (West 2014)) on
August 12, 2014. Defendant subsequently failed to appear at
his sentencing hearing on October 28, 2014. The trial court
ordered the forfeiture of defendant's bond as well as a
bench warrant. The circuit clerk sent a notice to defendant,
informing him that his bond of $1500 had been ordered
forfeited and that the forfeiture would be vacated if he
appeared within 30 days and showed good cause why judgment
should not be entered on the forfeiture. At a hearing on
December 9, 2014, the trial court ordered that judgment be
entered on the forfeiture of defendant's bond.
4 Defendant was arrested on July 24, 2018, and appeared in
court on September 20, 2018. At that hearing, defense counsel
asked the court to vacate the 2014 bond forfeiture. The State
objected, insisting that the court was without jurisdiction
to do so. The court disagreed, asserting that until a final
sentencing order was issued in defendant's 2014 criminal
case, it retained jurisdiction. In the ensuing sentencing
order, the court wrote, "vacate all bond
forfeitures." The State filed a motion to reconsider,
again arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction. The court
denied the motion, and the State appeals.
5 II. ANALYSIS
6 Section 110-7(g) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963
provides the authority for the forfeiture of a
"(g) If the accused does not comply with the conditions
of the bail bond the court having jurisdiction shall enter an
order declaring the bail to be forfeited. Notice of such
order of forfeiture shall be mailed forthwith to the accused
at his last known address. If the accused does not appear and
surrender to the court having jurisdiction within 30 days
from the date of the forfeiture or within such period satisfy
the court that appearance and surrender by the accused is
impossible and without his fault the court shall enter
judgment for the State ***. *** The balance of the judgment
may be enforced and collected in the same manner as a
judgment entered in a civil action." 725 ILCS 5/110-7(g)
well-settled that a bond forfeiture judgment under the above
section is a civil judgment. People v. Taylor, 2013
IL App (2d) 110577, ¶ 26. Accordingly, it is the Code of
Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq.
(West 2016)) that "furnish[es] the procedure for setting
aside a final judgment of bond forfeiture which must be
accomplished within 30 days after the entry of the
judgment." People v. Canaccini, 52 Ill.App.3d
811, 814 (1977).
7 Because bond forfeiture and entry of judgment on that
forfeiture are distinct civil proceedings, such a judgment
constitutes a final order independent of any sentencing order
in the contemporaneous criminal proceedings. See People
v. Montaigne, 86 Ill.App.3d 220, 222 (1980). In a case
nearly identical to the one presently before us, the
Montaigne court concluded: "[T]he bond
forfeiture judgment of January 4, 1979, was a final order and
*** the trial court lost authority to vacate that judgment
after 30 days from its entry. Accordingly, the order vacating
the judgment is void and must be reversed." Id.
8 The sole authority for attacking a civil judgment more than
30 days from its entry is found in section 2-1401 of the
Code. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2016). Defense counsel's
oral request for the vacatur of the 2014 bond forfeiture
cannot be construed as a section 2-1401 petition. Indeed, the
judgment on the bond forfeiture had been entered more than
three years earlier, and was thus outside of the two-year
window contemplated by section 2-1401. See id.
§ 2-1401(c). To attack a judgment outside of that
window, a petitioner must demonstrate disability or duress,
fraudulent concealment, or voidness of the original judgment.
E.g., People v. Walker, 2018 IL App (3d)
150527, ¶ 32. Defendant made no such showings here.
9 Accordingly, we find that the trial court was without
jurisdiction to vacate its previous forfeiture order. See
People v. Wilson, 198 ...