People v. M.A. (In re M.A.), No. 1–13–2540.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtJustice MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Citation12 N.E.3d 805
PartiesIn re M.A., a Minor (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner–Appellee, v. M.A., a Minor, Respondent–Appellant).
Docket NumberNo. 1–13–2540.
Decision Date28 May 2014

12 N.E.3d 805

In re M.A., a Minor (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner–Appellee,
v.
M.A., a Minor, Respondent–Appellant).

No. 1–13–2540.

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Third Division.

May 28, 2014.
Rehearing Denied June 23, 2014.


12 N.E.3d 808

Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D, Goldberg, and Rachel Moran, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Veronica Calderon Malavia, and Annette Collins, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

OPINION

Justice MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 In her first referral to juvenile court, 13–year–old respondent-appellant, M.A., was adjudicated delinquent of certain charges arising out of an altercation with her older brother. As a result of this adjudication, M.A. was ordered to register for a minimum of 10 years under the Illinois Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act (730 ILCS 154/1 et seq. (West 2012)). The Act automatically requires juveniles adjudicated delinquent for certain offenses to register as violent offenders against youth for a minimum of 10 years following adjudication. There are no exceptions to the registration requirement and juveniles are automatically required to register as adults when they turn 17. M.A. challenges the Act's application on a number of grounds, including substantive and procedural due process and equal protection. We determine that the Act results in a violation of procedural due process and equal protection; and, therefore, reverse the trial court's order requiring M.A. to register pursuant to the Act.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 We summarize only so much of the evidence at trial as is necessary to an understanding of the issues presented on appeal. The incident that gave rise to these proceedings occurred on November 24, 2012. M.A. was at that time 13 years old. On the morning of November 24, M.A. and her older brother, age 14, were at their aunt's house in Chicago. M.A. and her brother got into an argument that morning about a missing shower cap. After her brother accused M.A. of being the last person to be seen with the shower cap, M.A. swore “on my grandfather” that she had not used it. The reference to the siblings' deceased grandfather angered M.A.'s brother and he went to the couch where M.A. was sitting and began punching her with his fists and pulling out her hair. Although the siblings' aunt tried to break up the fight, she was pushed away.

12 N.E.3d 809

¶ 4 M.A.'s brother then went into a bedroom and closed the door. M.A. went into her aunt's kitchen, grabbed a knife and pushed her way into the bedroom. Although the manner in which the injuries were inflicted and M.A.'s intent to inflict those injuries were contested at trial, it is undisputed that M.A. cut her brother twice on his face and arm, injuries that required 13 stitches. M.A.'s aunt then called the police. M.A. was thereafter charged in a juvenile petition with aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, battery and domestic battery.

¶ 5 Between the date of M.A.'s first court appearance and the sentencing hearing, M.A. was placed in a variety of residential placements, including with relatives and in group homes. M.A. could not continue to reside with her mother and brother because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which was conducting an investigation, prohibited her from having any contact with her brother. M.A. was generally noncompliant with court orders and house rules. She ran away from her various placements on a number of occasions, encountered disciplinary and attendance problems at school, and was charged in a new petition for stealing money from an aunt. Ultimately, in April 2013, after all other placement options had been exhausted, a family friend offered to take M.A. Reports following that placement indicated M.A.'s continued noncompliance with court-imposed restrictions as well as unexplained absences from the home, but the family friend reported that she was prepared to have M.A. reside with her until she turns 18 and that she is attempting to provide M.A. a more structured environment.

¶ 6 On May 2, 2013, the trial court adjudicated M.A. delinquent on all charges. On the same date, the court ordered a clinical evaluation for purposes of sentencing.

¶ 7 The clinical evaluation ordered by the trial court was prepared by psychologist Priscilla DuBois of the Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic. DuBois reviewed certain records and interviewed M.A. on two occasions, once for an hour and 15 minutes and later for 40 minutes. DuBois also interviewed M.A.'s mother for an hour and 45 minutes.

¶ 8 The report detailed a history of turbulent relationships among M.A.'s family members, and particularly between M.A. and the brother involved in the November 24, 2012 altercation.

¶ 9 M.A. is the youngest of three children born to her mother. At the time of the evaluation, she had an 18–year–old half-brother and a 15–year–old biological brother, the victim in this case. M.A.'s maternal grandfather also lived with the family until his death on March 25, 2011. M.A.'s mother admitted that her father's death hit her (the mother) hard and that she “pushed [her children] away emotionally.” DCFS previously investigated M.A.'s mother on allegations of abuse on three occasions in the year prior to the incident involving M.A.'s brother, but determined the charges were unfounded.

¶ 10 M.A.'s mother reported to DuBois that she did not currently have a residence, but did not elaborate. She also told DuBois that M.A. and the brother involved in the altercation argued daily and “always fought” because the older brother tried to “be the boss of her.” M.A. and her brother, according to their mother, punched, slapped and pushed each other. On two prior occasions, their fights left M.A. with a black eye. M.A. reported that fights with her brother often involved objects including an iron, skillet, bat, fork, spoon and crutches, but their fights have resulted in only minor scrapes and cuts. For her part, M.A.'s mother admitted that up until about a year before the altercation with

12 N.E.3d 810

her brother, she disciplined M.A. by giving her “woopins” involving spanking her with a belt or slapping her in the mouth. M.A.'s mother also applied a “rule of three” approach to discipline: if one child misbehaved, all three received a “woopin.”

¶ 11 M.A. first began displaying behavior problems around the age of eight or nine. School reports indicated that she had frequent conflicts with peers, was confrontational with adults and had difficulty following school rules. Although she has had an “Individual Education Plan” to address a learning disability since the fifth grade and has received services from school counselors, she has never been evaluated by any mental health professional or received any formal mental health services or other therapy. M.A.'s mother reported that two of M.A.'s paternal aunts died in “mental institutions” and that she, her sisters and her mother have a history of suicide attempts. Most recently, M.A.'s mother attempted suicide about four years earlier. Although M.A. has on occasion threatened to harm herself, she has consistently denied any serious intention to do so.

¶ 12 M.A.'s mother believes M.A. would benefit from “Multi–Systemic Therapy”—an intensive, community-based network of “wrap-around” social services—and admitted that her whole family has “anger issues” and that they know how to trigger one another's anger. At the time of the evaluation, M.A. was not interested in attempting to repair her relationship with her mother.

¶ 13 M.A.'s mother admitted to smoking cannabis several times a month but denied that she smoked in front of her children. M.A. reported that her mother smoked “every other day” and had done so in front of her. The family friend who agreed to take M.A. in reported that M.A.'s mother smokes “every day.” DuBois believed that M.A.'s mother's substance abuse would likely impede her ability to provide M.A. with consistent and effective parenting and the close monitoring necessary to reduce M.A.'s risk for engaging in negative behaviors.

¶ 14 DuBois concluded that M.A. had developed “poor coping skills” for managing “chronic family conflict” and “ineffective discipline and limited monitoring in the home.” She observed that M.A.'s coping skills consist of “aggression directed at others” or “avoidance” by leaving her home. DuBois recommended individual therapy for M.A., eventual family therapy (while recognizing that implementation of the recommendation is hampered by the DCFS policy prohibiting M.A. from having contact with her brother and M.A.'s lack of desire to improve her relationship with her mother), substance abuse evaluation and grief counseling for M.A.'s mother, and a psychiatric evaluation for M.A. Given M.A.'s history of (i) impulsivity and aggression, (ii) family conflict and ineffective discipline, (iii) residential instability, and (iv) placement in care outside the family, as well as the family history of mental illness, DuBois concluded that M.A. is at risk for recidivism.

¶ 15 The court also received a social investigation from M.A.'s probation officer...

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5 practice notes
  • People v. A.C. (In re A.C.), No. 1–15–3047.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 18, 2016
    ...2015 IL App (4th) 130323, ¶ 38, 393 Ill.Dec. 389, 34 N.E.3d 590 (quoting In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805, aff'd in part & rev'd in part, 2015 IL 118049, 397 Ill.Dec. 759, 43 N.E.3d 86 ). Respondent's policy arguments more properly belong to the pr......
  • People v. M.A. (In re M.A.), No. 118049.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 4, 2015
    ...rejected M.A.'s claim that the statute violated her right to substantive due process. 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805. The appellate court, however, with one justice dissenting, agreed with M.A. that the registration provisions are unconstitutional because the prov......
  • People v. Maurice D. (In re Maurice D.), No. 4–13–0323.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 29, 2015
    ...However, as the First District recently noted in In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805, “[w]hether the legislature will act on the Commission's recommendations remains to be seen. Unless and until that happens, In re J.W. guides the analysis of the issu......
  • Maurice D. v. Maurice D. (In re Re), Docket No. 4-13-0323
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 29, 2015
    ...However, as the First District recently noted in In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 12 N.E.3d 805, "[w]hether the legislature will act on the Commission's recommendations remains to be seen. Unless and until that happens, In re J.W. guides the analysis of the issue of whether the A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • People v. A.C. (In re A.C.), No. 1–15–3047.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 18, 2016
    ...2015 IL App (4th) 130323, ¶ 38, 393 Ill.Dec. 389, 34 N.E.3d 590 (quoting In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805, aff'd in part & rev'd in part, 2015 IL 118049, 397 Ill.Dec. 759, 43 N.E.3d 86 ). Respondent's policy arguments more properly belong to the pr......
  • People v. M.A. (In re M.A.), No. 118049.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 4, 2015
    ...rejected M.A.'s claim that the statute violated her right to substantive due process. 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805. The appellate court, however, with one justice dissenting, agreed with M.A. that the registration provisions are unconstitutional because the prov......
  • People v. Maurice D. (In re Maurice D.), No. 4–13–0323.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 29, 2015
    ...However, as the First District recently noted in In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 382 Ill.Dec. 526, 12 N.E.3d 805, “[w]hether the legislature will act on the Commission's recommendations remains to be seen. Unless and until that happens, In re J.W. guides the analysis of the issu......
  • Maurice D. v. Maurice D. (In re Re), Docket No. 4-13-0323
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 29, 2015
    ...However, as the First District recently noted in In re M.A., 2014 IL App (1st) 132540, ¶ 42, 12 N.E.3d 805, "[w]hether the legislature will act on the Commission's recommendations remains to be seen. Unless and until that happens, In re J.W. guides the analysis of the issue of whether the A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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