Notice Requirements for the Juvenile Court Act

In In re C.R.H., 163 Ill. 2d 263, 268-69, 644 N.E.2d 1153, 1156, 206 Ill. Dec. 100 (1994), our supreme court discussed the notice requirements under the Juvenile Court Act. According to Juvenile Court Act section 5-720: "(1) If a petition is filed charging a violation of a condition of probation or of conditional discharge, the court shall: (a) order the minor to appear; or (b) order the minor's detention if the court finds that the detention is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the minor or of the person or property of another or that the minor is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court, provided that any such detention shall be in a juvenile detention home and the minor so detained shall be 10 years of age or older; and (c) notify the persons named in the petition under section 5-520, in accordance with the provisions of section 5-530." 705 ILCS 405/5-720(1) (West 2006). In addressing the State's argument that the court should not interpret In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 18 L. Ed. 2d 527, 87 S. Ct. 1428 (1967), as requiring the State to provide formal written notice to parents because situations exist where such notice is impossible, the court stated: "This court has already addressed this matter in the context of an unknown noncustodial parent. In In re J.W. , 87 Ill. 2d 56, 60-61, 429 N.E.2d 501, 57 Ill. Dec. 603 (1981), this court recognized service by publication where individual service is impossible. The court went further and held that failure to serve notice of delinquency proceedings, by publication, on the minor's unknown father did not violate due process. In reaching this result, the court noted that the father and his whereabouts were unknown, and that there was notice to the custodial mother. A similar result was reached in In re J.P.J. , 109 Ill. 2d 129, 485 N.E.2d 848, 92 Ill. Dec. 802 (1985), where this court found that notice in a juvenile-delinquency proceeding was adequate despite the fact that the noncustodial parent was not served with notice. Once again, the court relied on the fact that the noncustodial parent's whereabouts were unknown and the custodial parent received notice. Thus, this court has recognized exceptions to formal written notice under limited circumstances. Nevertheless, these exceptions have not altered this court's prior holding that notice is a constitutional right (i.e., in those cases where notice to a noncustodial parent was excused, there was still notice to a custodial parent). The record contains no form of notice to C.R.H.'s mother and reveals that she was not present at either the adjudicatory or the dispositional hearings concerning the amended supplemental petition.