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People v. Conner

APRIL 1, 1971.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

LARRY CONNER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. HAROLD O. FARMER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GEORGE J. MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant was indicted along with two other defendants for the offense of armed robbery in violation of Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, par. 18-2. Defendant pleaded not guilty at the arraignment and asserting a great deal of adverse publicity, moved for a change of venue which was denied. Thereafter, defendant appeared with his attorney and changed his plea to guilty and requested probation. The trial court accepted the plea, denied the request for probation, and sentenced the defendant to five to ten years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. Defendant appeals, contending that the trial court erred in failing to properly admonish the defendant as to the consequences of his plea and in denying defendant's request for probation and entering an excessive sentence.

The record discloses that at the hearing at which the guilty plea was entered, the court advised the defendant as follows:

"THE COURT: Well, I am sure your attorney has informed you as to your rights in this matter, and also the possible consequences of your plea of guilty, but it is also the duty of the Court at this time to inform you that under the Constitution and Laws of the State of Illinois you are entitled to trial by jury, to representation by counsel, to be confronted by witnesses who testify against you, and that you cannot be found guilty until you have been so found by the verdict of the jury of twelve jurors residing in this County; do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: You must also understand on your plea of guilty, that the Court can adjudge you guilty of the crime of Armed Robbery, as alleged in the indictment, and could sentence you to indeterminate term in the Illinois State Penitentiary, of not less than one year, and for as many more years as the Court sees fit to impose upon you; do you understand?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: The Court sets the minimum and maximum. In other words, I could give you one to five, eight to ten, anything from one on up; do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes."

• 1 Defendant first contends that the admonishment as to the sentence which could be imposed does not comply with the requirements of People v. Terry, 44 Ill.2d 38 and People v. Medley, 122 Ill. App.2d 279. However, in this case, in addition to stating that defendant could be sentenced to an indeterminate term of not less than one year and for as many more years as the court sees fit to impose, which was held inadequate in those cases, the trial court further stated that it would set the minimum and maximum and gave specific examples of possible sentences and the sentence actually imposed was within the limits of those examples explained to defendant. Therefore, we believe that defendant was properly admonished in this regard.

The record further discloses that the court's admonishment to the defendant and to the consequences of his plea were in compliance with Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, par. 115-2 and Supreme Court Rule 401 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 110A, par. 401) and demonstrates that defendant understandingly and voluntarily entered a plea of guilty.

Defendant next contends that the minimum sentence imposed is excessive in light of the facts and circumstances of the case and is inconsistent with the theory of sentencing in Illinois. As we stated in People v. Lillie, 79 Ill. App.2d 174 at 177-78:

"This court is cognizant of the Supreme Court's admonition in People v. Taylor, 33 Ill.2d 417, 211 N.E.2d 673, that the power granted reviewing courts to reduce sentences is to be applied with considerable caution and circumspection. We are, however, also aware of the constitutional provision that all penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense (Article II, Section 11, Constitution of Illinois), and what purposes, hopefully, are to be achieved by the imposition of punishment for a criminal offense. People v. Brown, 60 Ill. App.2d 447, 208 N.E.2d 629; People v. Evrard, 55 Ill. App.2d 270, 204 N.E.2d 777.

`It is generally true that rehabilitation is best achieved under a system which gives great discretion to the parole ...


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