VC&M, Ltd. v. AndrewsAnnotate this Case
Defendant moved to dismiss a breach of contract suit. Plaintiff e-filed a response to the motions. There was no objection. The circuit court dismissed; plaintiff e-filed a motion to reconsider. Defendant asserted that e-filing the motion was improper. The trial court denied the motion on the merits without comment on the manner of filing. Plaintiff e-filed its notice of appeal. The appellate court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, finding that plaintiff improperly e-filed its motion to reconsider in violation of local rule 5.03 so that the motion was ineffective to toll the time for filing notice of appeal and that plaintiff also violated the rule by e-filing notice of appeal. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The violation of the rule was brought to the court’s attention at the hearing on the motion to reconsider. Defendants did not claim prejudice and the court chose to consider plaintiff’s motion on its merits, which it had discretion to do. Where a deficiency in the notice of appeal is one of form only and not of substance, the appellate court is not deprived of jurisdiction; in this case, the notice of appeal, although improperly filed, was sufficient to confer jurisdiction, particularly because a backup paper copy was required to be maintained in a parallel manual court file. Defendants were advised of the nature of the appeal and have not argued that they suffered any prejudice.
In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court exercised its constitutional rulemaking authority to modify its procedural rules so as to allow the State to take an interlocutory appeal from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence in a juvenile delinquency proceeding.
This juvenile delinquency case comes from Colona in Henry County. There, on a summer day in 2010, a minor was questioned outside his home by a special agent of the police department, who came with a child protection worker from the Department of Children and Family Services. The child’s mother and stepfather were present. After this interview, a petition for adjudication of wardship was filed, alleging that B.C.P. was delinquent for having committed two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse concerning a young girl. On behalf of the accused minor, a motion was filed to suppress the inculpatory statements which he had made. It was alleged that Miranda warnings had not been given, and the motion was granted. The State then filed a certificate of impairment and a notice of appeal to the appellate court, but that reviewing body dismissed, stating that it lacked jurisdiction. Although interlocutory appeals are allowed from the granting of suppression motions in criminal cases, there is no specific provision for this in juvenile matters. The prosecution appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Amendments which were made in 1998 indicate a shift in policy. Virtually all of the protections of the criminal justice system are now afforded to juveniles, while the law has also moved more toward protecting the public and toward holding minors more accountable. Another consequence of this shift in policy is recognition that the State has the same interest in appealing a suppression order in a juvenile case as it does in a criminal case.
The supreme court held that Rule 660(a), which covers appeals in delinquent minor cases, and which currently incorporates the criminal appeals rules only as to final judgments, is now modified to incorporate into juvenile delinquency proceedings Rule 604(a)(1), which, in criminal cases, gives the State a right to appeal from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence.
The supreme court declined the suggestion to turn this matter over to the rules committee. The court held that, pursuant to new Rule 660A (effective May 1, 2013), on expedited procedures for appeals in juvenile delinquency proceedings, when the State takes an interlocutory appeal from a suppression order in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, the matter should be expedited pursuant to that rule. The appellate court has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and the cause was remanded there so that it could do so.