Does a State Attorney Have Veto Power Over Sanctions Offered by Probation Officers ?

In People v. Hammond (December 21, 2009), the State's Attorney of Livingston County filed a petition for the revocation of probation after the three defendants violated the conditions of their probation. The trial courts dismissed the petitions because the defendants had accepted and completed the intermediate sanctions offered by their probation officers. In one of the cases, the trial court had directed the probation officer to offer the defendant an administrative sanction. On appeal to the Fourth District, the State argued that the trial courts' interpretation of section 5-6-4(i) violated the separation of powers doctrine. The State in Hammond argued that it had veto power over the sanctions offered to the defendant. It cited section 5-6-4(i), which provides in relevant part that the probation officer may serve on the defendant a notice of intermediate sanctions. Section 5-6-4(i) continues, "If the intermediate sanctions are rejected or the defendant does not respond to the Notice, a violation of probation, conditional discharge, supervision, or a sentence of county impact incarceration shall be immediately filed with the court. The State's Attorney and the sentencing court shall be notified of the Notice of Sanctions." 730 ILCS 5/5-6-4(i) (West 2006). The Fourth District rejected the State's argument, concluding, "From the mere sentence, the State's Attorney and the sentencing court shall be notified of the notice of sanctions,' it is quite a stretch to infer that the State's Attorney has veto power over the notice of sanctions. The legislature saw the need to apprise the State's Attorney of the notice; otherwise, the State's Attorney might file a petition for revocation while the defendant is faithfully complying with the sanctions. If the legislature, however, had intended to give the State's Attorney the power to disapprove the intermediate sanctions after the probation department offered them, the legislature surely would not have left such an important point to implication." Hammond, 2009 Ill. App.