People v. Jones, 2016 IL 119391 (October). Episode 248 (Duration 5:53)
Prior adjudications may be considered for extended terms proved up at sentencing with a PSI without any Apprendi violations.
Defendant was sentenced to 24 years for aggravated robbery. He was given an extended term based on a prior adjudication of delinquency for residential burglary.
Delinquency Adjudication Not A Conviction
On appeal, defendant contends that a prior juvenile delinquency adjudication is not the equivalent of a prior conviction for purposes of extended-term sentencing under Apprendi and that such a fact must be alleged in the indictment and proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Code of Corrections) sets forth various factors that the court may consider as a reason to impose an extended-term sentence. Relevant here is the factor in subsection (b)(7) of section 5-5-3.2, which governs,
“[w]hen a defendant who was at least 17 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense is convicted of a felony and has been previously adjudicated a delinquent minor under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 for an act that if committed by an adult would be a Class X or Class 1 felony when the conviction has occurred within 10 years after the previous adjudication, excluding time spent in custody.”
730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(b)(7).
In Apprendi, the Supreme Court held that “[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”
725 ILCS 5/111-3(c-5) codified this development.
The question here is whether defendant’s juvenile adjudication, which qualified defendant for an extended-term sentence, falls within Apprendi’s prior-conviction exception and, in turn, the exception in section 111-3(c-5) of the Criminal Code.
It appears the federal courts have gone every which way on this issue. The balancing act focused on the fact that there are no juries for prior adjudications. Prior convictions pass Apprendi muster, in part, because the the defendant is afforded full procedural and constitutional rights in the prior case.
Nonetheless, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the jurisdictions that found sufficient due process in juvenile proceedings.
SCOTUS made clear in McKeiver that due process does not require the right to a jury trial in juvenile proceedings, reasoning that a jury trial would not strengthen greatly, if at all, the fact finding function.
Juvenile Cases Are Different
The tradition in this area has been to regard recidivism as a sentencing factor not to be proven before the jury.
Prior convictions are different from other factors that increase the sentence for an offense because of the procedural safeguards inherent in the proceedings that resulted in that conviction.
A juvenile adjudication of delinquency is similar to a prior conviction in the sense that both are the result of a person’s prior unlawful behavior or recidivism. The proceedings that result in a juvenile adjudication contain the same constitutional procedural safeguards as those proceedings that result in a prior conviction, except the jury trial right.
Constitutionally Sufficient Safeguards
However, because there is no constitutional right to a jury trial in juvenile proceedings, a juvenile adjudication and a prior conviction both result from proceedings in which the minor or the defendant received constitutionally sufficient procedural safeguards.
A juvenile adjudication, therefore, is no less valid or reliable a form of recidivism than is a prior conviction.
For purposes of extended-term sentencing, they are on equal footing. Though defendant did not have the right to a jury trial in his delinquency proceedings, he did have all the other procedural rights of adults in criminal proceedings, such as the right to notice, counsel, confrontation, cross-examination, and proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. See 705 ILCS 405/5-101(3), 5-525, 5-530, 5-605, 5-610.
Those juveniles who are not rehabilitated and commit crimes as adults may be punished in accordance with their entire criminal history.