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Revestment redux

April 17, 2014 by in General

Judging by recent decisions, the Second District appears to be a hotbed of revestment. More accurately, it may be a hotbed of unsuccessful revestment arguments. Revestment refers to the judicial doctrine under which a trial court can lose and then be “revested” with jurisdiction over a case under certain circumstances. The Illinois Supreme Court clarified the revestment doctrine in People v. Bailey, 2014 IL 115459, a couple of months ago in a case on appeal from the Second District. (See Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies the Revestment Doctrine.)

This is an appeal by a defendant who was convicted of aggravated domestic battery and sentenced on July 20, 2012. The defendant was properly admonished that she had 30 days to file a notice of appeal or motion to reconsider the sentence. The defendant filed a motion to reconsider on August 23, 2012 – 34 days after the judgment. At the hearing on the motion, the state’s attorney said “I don’t have any argument.” The trial court denied the motion on the merits and the defendant filed a notice of appeal on the same day.

The appellate court found that the trial court was divested of jurisdiction 30 days after the sentence and judgment were entered. Moreover, jurisdiction was never revested in the trial court because the requirements for revestment were not satisfied. According to the supreme court, for the revestment doctrine to apply, both parties must: (1) actively participate in the proceedings; (2) fail to object to the untimeliness of the late filing; and (3) assert positions that make the proceedings inconsistent with the merits of the prior judgment and support setting aside at least part of that judgment.

It was questionable whether the state’s attorney’s comment constituted active participation in the proceedings. In any event, although the State did not raise untimeliness, it clearly did not support setting aside any part of the judgment. Therefore, jurisdiction did not revest in the trial court so the notice of appeal filed 34 days after the judgment was untimely and did not confer jurisdiction on the appellate court.

The real point of the court’s decision is what to do next. In Bailey, the appellate court merely dismissed the appeal as untimely. But the supreme court held that, because the circuit court’s ruling on the postjudgment motion was void, the appellate court should have exercised the “limited jurisdiction” available to it to remand the case to the circuit court with directions that the late-filed motion by dismissed.

In this case, the appellate court vacated the trial court’s order and dismissed the motion, but the court seemed somewhat troubled by the concept of limited appellate jurisdiction. In noted that it was acting in the absence of a notice of appeal that was timely under Rule 606(b), but instead under the “‘limited’ jurisdiction to vacate that ruling.”

People v. Shaw, 2014 IL App (2d) 121105.

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