People v. Casas, Docket No. 120797

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Citation2017 IL 120797,104 N.E.3d 425
Decision Date05 December 2017
Docket NumberDocket No. 120797
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Fernando CASAS, Jr., Appellant.

2017 IL 120797
104 N.E.3d 425

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
v.
Fernando CASAS, Jr., Appellant.

Docket No. 120797

Supreme Court of Illinois.

Opinion filed December 5, 2017


104 N.E.3d 427

Mark H. Kusatzky and Julie M. Campbell, both of Northfield, for appellant.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield (David L. Franklin, Solicitor General, and Michael M. Glick and Eldad Z. Malamuth, Assistant Attorneys General, of Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 Following the indictment and subsequent superseding information against defendant, Fernando Casas, Jr., for violation of bail bond, the circuit court of Du Page County dismissed the information for failure to comply with the statute of limitations, and the State appealed. The appellate court reversed, holding that the information was timely and that violation of bail bond was a continuing offense pursuant to section 3–8 of the Criminal Code of 2012 ( 720 ILCS 5/3–8 (West 2014) ). 2016 IL App (2d) 150456, 406 Ill.Dec. 7, 59 N.E.3d 785. This court allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal ( Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. Jan. 1, 2015)). For the following reasons, we now reverse the judgment of the appellate court and remand for further proceedings.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In 1996, defendant was indicted by the statewide grand jury for the manufacture or delivery of cocaine in excess of 900 grams, a Class X felony. On October 16, 1996, the circuit court of Du Page County admitted defendant to bail in the amount of $750,000; he posted a 10% cash bond of $75,000. Thereafter, defendant regularly appeared in court as required for his case.

¶ 4 On June 9, 1998, however, defendant failed to appear in court, and his bond was forfeited. During the next 30 days, defendant did not surrender himself to authorities, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Also, a judgment was entered in the amount of bail against defendant and for the State. Within the next six months, defendant was tried in absentia , found guilty of the Class X felony, and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.

¶ 5 On April 5, 2014, approximately 18 years after defendant was first indicted, the police stopped defendant for a traffic offense in Du Page County. During that stop, defendant gave the police false identification

104 N.E.3d 428

. In subsequent conversations with the police, defendant revealed his true identity and admitted he had used false identities, including one he purchased in Mexico, to avoid apprehension. Subsequently, defendant began serving his 20–year sentence for manufacture or delivery of cocaine.

¶ 6 Based on these facts, defendant was indicted in December 2014 for the violation of his 1996 bail bond. The State's indictment alleged that defendant forfeited his bond by failing to appear in court on June 9, 1998, and by knowingly failing to surrender himself within 30 days of that date. The offense was charged as a Class 1 felony because defendant's underlying cocaine charge was a Class X felony.

¶ 7 Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that prosecution for violation of his bail bond was time-barred. More specifically, defendant claimed that, under the general statute of limitations for felonies, the State had three years, or until July 9, 2001, to bring the bail-bond charge against him. Defendant noted that more than three years had passed, and he asserted that the State did not allege any facts in the charging instrument that would toll or extend the three-year limitations period.

¶ 8 In response, the State filed a superseding information, which alleged as follows:

"[O]n or about July 9, 1998, and continuing through and until April 5, 2014, [defendant] committed the offense of VIOLATION OF BAIL BOND, a Class 1 felony, in that * * * defendant, after having been admitted to bail on or about October 16, 1996, for appearance in the Circuit Court of Du Page County * * * in case 96 CF 1920, and on or about June 9, 1998, he incurred a forfeiture of his bail and thereafter knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully failed to surrender himself within 30 days following the date of the forfeiture of the bail, in violation of Chapter 720, Section 5/32–10(a) of the Illinois Compiled Statutes ; and because Violation of Bail Bond should be considered a continuing offense, the statute of limitations did not start running until April 5, 2014, when defendant was apprehended and admitted that he used false identity to evade prosecution."

¶ 9 In a footnote, the State asserted that "[t]his Court is bound by People v. Grogan , 197 Ill.App. 3d 18, 143 Ill.Dec. 730, 554 N.E.2d 665 (1st Dist.1990), which held that violation of a bail bond is not a continuing offense." (Emphasis in original.) The State then noted that it, with the superseding information, was "mak[ing] a good[-]faith argument that Grogan was improperly decided and should be overruled."

¶ 10 The circuit court granted defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that, pursuant to Grogan , the State's prosecution of defendant for violation of bail bond was time-barred. The State appealed.

¶ 11 On appeal, the State argued that violation of bail bond is a continuing offense and that Grogan was wrongly decided. The appellate court agreed. 2016 IL App (2d) 150456, ¶ 9, 406 Ill.Dec. 7, 59 N.E.3d 785.

¶ 12 The appellate court observed that Grogan held "[t]he offense of violation of bail bond, unlike the offense of escape of a convicted felon, is * * * not the kind of offense that poses a continuing threat to society, nor can it * * * be defined as a series of related acts constituting a single [course] of conduct, such as conspiracy or embezzlement." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id. ¶ 15.

¶ 13 The appellate court determined that the Grogan court was wrong on both points and that it had misapprehended the nature of the offense. Id. ¶ 17. The court

104 N.E.3d 429

further "determin[ed] that the legislature intended that, like escape, violation of bail bond would be treated as a continuing offense. The nature of the offense is that the offender has secured bond and fled. Like escape, wherever else the bail-bond offender is, he is not where he is lawfully supposed to be; he has breached his lawful custody and obstructed justice." Id. ¶ 18.

¶ 14 The appellate court reversed the circuit court, holding that violation of bail bond is a continuing offense and that the superseding information filed within three years of defendant's 2014 arrest was timely. The appellate court explained that it could not overrule Grogan since it was a court of equal stature; however, it expressed its view that Grogan should no longer be followed. Id. ¶ 23. The court declined to address the State's alternative argument that the statute of limitations had not expired while defendant was a fugitive because he used a false identity and, thus, pursuant to section 3–7(a) of the Criminal Code of 2012, defendant was not usually and publicly resident within the State. 720 ILCS 5/3–7(a) (West 2014). Defendant appeals to this court.

¶ 15 II. ANALYSIS

¶ 16 Before this court, defendant assigns error to the appellate court's determination that the legislature intended violation of bail bond be treated as a continuing offense. Defendant contends, inter alia , that violation of bail bond is not a continuing offense and that the State charged him after the statute of limitations had expired. The State responds that violation of bail bond should be considered a continuing offense and, as such, the limitations period began to run once defendant was apprehended. According to the State, since defendant was charged with the bail-bond offense within three years from the date of his 2014 arrest, the information was timely. Here, we are asked to determine if the criminal charge for violation of bail bond is a continuing offense and, if so, whether the information against defendant was time-barred.

¶ 17 Review of a circuit court's dismissal of an information based on the violation of the statute of limitations involves a legal issue. Thus, our review is de novo . People v. Macon , 396 Ill.App. 3d 451, 454, 336 Ill.Dec. 634, 920 N.E.2d 1224 (2009) ; People v. Mann , 341 Ill.App. 3d 832, 836, 276 Ill.Dec. 530, 794 N.E.2d 425 (2003). Resolution of this issue also requires us to construe the relevant statutory language. Our review is de novo because the construction of a statute is a question of law. People v. Chenoweth , 2015 IL 116898, ¶ 20, 388 Ill.Dec. 920, 25 N.E.3d 612 ; People v. Gutman , 2011 IL 110338, ¶ 12, 355 Ill.Dec. 207, 959 N.E.2d 621.

¶ 18 The principles guiding our analysis are well established. The primary objective in construing a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute, given its plain and ordinary meaning. A court must view the statute as a whole, construing words and phrases in light of other relevant statutory provisions and not in isolation. Each word, clause, and sentence of a statute must be given a reasonable meaning, if possible, and should not be rendered superfluous. The court may consider the reason for the law, the problems sought to be remedied,...

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8 practice notes
  • People v. Austin, Docket No. 123910
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2019
    ...phrases in light of other relevant statutory provisions and not in isolation. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. Each word, clause, and sentence of a statute must be given a reasonable meaning, if possible, and should not be rendered superfluous. Id. T......
  • People v. Ashley, Docket No. 123989
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 24, 2020
    ...of that intent is the statutory language, given its plain and ordinary meaning. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. A reviewing court must view the statute as a whole, construing words and phrases in light of other relevant statutory provisions and not ......
  • People v. Clark, Docket No. 122891
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 6, 2019
    ...v. Witherspoon , 2019 IL 123092, ¶ 24, 432 Ill.Dec. 665, 129 N.E.3d 1208 ; People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425 ; Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc. , 241 Ill. 2d 495, 506, 350 Ill.Dec. 330, 948 N.E.2d 610 (2011).¶ 24 Because the plain and unambiguous......
  • People v. Murray, Docket No. 123289
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2019
    ...a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute, given its plain and ordinary meaning. People v. Reese , 201......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • People v. Austin, Docket No. 123910
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2019
    ...phrases in light of other relevant statutory provisions and not in isolation. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. Each word, clause, and sentence of a statute must be given a reasonable meaning, if possible, and should not be rendered superfluous. Id. T......
  • People v. Ashley, Docket No. 123989
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 24, 2020
    ...of that intent is the statutory language, given its plain and ordinary meaning. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. A reviewing court must view the statute as a whole, construing words and phrases in light of other relevant statutory provisions and not ......
  • People v. Clark, Docket No. 122891
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 6, 2019
    ...v. Witherspoon , 2019 IL 123092, ¶ 24, 432 Ill.Dec. 665, 129 N.E.3d 1208 ; People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425 ; Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc. , 241 Ill. 2d 495, 506, 350 Ill.Dec. 330, 948 N.E.2d 610 (2011).¶ 24 Because the plain and unambiguous......
  • People v. Murray, Docket No. 123289
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2019
    ...a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. People v. Casas , 2017 IL 120797, ¶ 18, 422 Ill.Dec. 858, 104 N.E.3d 425. The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute, given its plain and ordinary meaning. People v. Reese , 201......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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