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People v. White

MAY 9, 1972.

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

v.

HARRY C. WHITE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. CALVIN R. STONE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In an indictment returned by the Grand Jury of Peoria County the defendant Harry C. White was charged with having committed the offenses of murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. A second indictment charged him with the commission of the crime of aggravated battery. During the course of a trial by jury and after the State had rested its case the defendant moved for a directed verdict, which was denied. Three witnesses had been called by the defense, after which the defendant requested permission of the court to withdraw his plea of guilty and advised the court that he had entered into a "plea bargain agreement" with the State. Counsel for the defendant advised the court that his client would plead guilty to the charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in return for a dismissal of all other counts contained in the indictments. The prosecutor informed the court that the State recommended a sentence of not less than eleven nor more than eighteen years on the charge of voluntary manslaughter and a concurrent sentence of not less than one nor more than two years on the charge of aggravated battery.

The following colloquy then ensued between the court and the defendant:

"THE COURT: All right. In other words, the tentative plea agreement as stated by Mr. Brunnenmeyer and Mr. Kelly fully discloses that tentative plea agreement, is that correct?

THE DEFENDANT: That is correct.

THE COURT: Have you entered that tentative plea agreement because of any threats or coercion or compulsion of any kind by anyone, including your own attorney, the State's Attorney or the Court?

THE DEFENDANT: No."

Thereafter the defendant waived presentation of evidence in mitigation and the court followed the plea bargain agreement explicitly by sentencing the defendant in accordance with the recommendations of the prosecutor.

The defendant raises as the sole issue in this appeal that the sentence imposed is excessive and contrary to the concept of indeterminate sentencing.

We do not deem necessary a recital of the facts relating to the defendant's conduct which led to his indictment, nor do we need to concern ourselves with the theory or philosophy of indeterminate sentences because the paramount question presented is whether or not the defendant is barred from raising the issue of his sentence on appeal when he voluntarily entered into an agreement which resulted from "plea bargaining."

• 1-3 This court may review any criminal sentence even though the issue is not raised on appeal, (Chap. 110A, Sec. 615(a) (b), Ill. Rev. Stat.) and we recently held that a trial judge is not bound by the recommendations of a State's Attorney. See People v. Cheshier, 278 N.E.2d 93, 3 Ill. App.3d 523; however, our United States Supreme Court has held that a prosecutor is bound by his agreement. (See Santobello v. New York, 92 S.Ct. 495.) In Santobello our United States Supreme Court recognized that the disposition of criminal charges by agreement between the prosecutor and the accused which is referred to as "plea bargaining," is an essential and desirable component of the administration of justice and specifically stated:

"* * * a constant factor is that when a plea rests in any significant degree on a promise or agreement of the prosecutor, so that it can be said to be part of the inducement or consideration, such promise must be fulfilled."

In discussing the attributes of "plea bargaining" the court stated as follows in Santobello:

"* * * Properly administered, it is to be encouraged. If every criminal charge were subjected to a full-scale trial, the States and the Federal Government would need to multiply by many ...


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