Illinois Supreme Court reiterates no right to jury trial for juvenile sex…

Illinois Supreme Court reiterates no right to jury trial for juvenile sex offenders

On June 30, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court reiterated that juveniles charged with sex offenses are not entitled to a jury trial. In re Jonathon C.B. (Slip Opinion 107750), the Court ruled that although juveniles are guaranteed the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses, to remain silent and adequate notice, the right to a jury trial is not such a right.

Although juveniles have the right to a jury trial when tried under the extended juvenile jurisdiction, habitual juvenile offender or as a violent juvenile offender provisions, juveniles charged and found delinquent of sex offenses do not receive that option unless falling under the previousl categories.

This decision is significant because, as the court acknowledged, the confidentiality rules pertaining to juveniles have been amended to permit the general public access to information of those found guilty of first degree murder, attempt first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual assault. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent of a criminal sexual offense must register under the Sex Offender Registration Act, potentially restricting the juveniles’ movement, schooling and housing. The juvenile must also provide DNA samples for the Illinois State Police’s database.

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