Does One-Act One-Crime Rule Apply In Juvenile Proceedings and Should the Respondent Be Sentenced on the Most Serious Offense ?

In People v. Artis, 232 Ill. 2d 156, 902 N.E.2d 677, 327 Ill. Dec. 556 (2009), decided after our original opinion was issued, our supreme court declared that the one-act, one-crime rule does indeed apply in juvenile proceedings. In Artis, the court recognized that the protections afforded to defendants by the one-act, one-crime rule are integral to maintaining the integrity of the judicial process. Artis, 232 Ill. 2d at 168, 902 N.E.2d at 684-85. In In re Samantha V., the court reaffirmed its holding in Artis, finding that the trial court violated the rule where, as here, it found respondent guilty of both counts of aggravated battery based upon the same act and failed to merge the counts or otherwise indicate on the record that respondent's adjudication of delinquency was based on only one count of aggravated battery. In re Samantha V., 234 Ill. 2d at 378, 917 N.E.2d at 499. Consistent with Artis and In re Samantha V., and as directed by our supreme court's supervisory order, the Court agreed that under the one-act, one-crime rule, one of the findings of delinquency entered against respondent should be vacated. Specifically, respondent should be sentenced on the most serious offense and the less serious offense should be vacated. Artis, 232 Ill. 2d at 170, 902 N.E.2d at 686. In determining which offense is the most serious, a reviewing court should consider the plain language of the statutes, as common sense dictates that the legislature would prescribe greater punishment for the offense it deems the more serious. Artis, 232 Ill. 2d at 170, 902 N.E.2d at 686. If the punishments are identical, we then consider which offense has the most culpable mental state. In re Samantha V., 234 Ill. 2d at 379, 917 N.E.2d at 500.