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People v. Billops

JANUARY 31, 1974.

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

v.

LEROY BILLOPS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

MR. JUSTICE CREBS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant was convicted of robbery in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County and received a sentence of not less than two nor more than four years. His conviction and sentence was based upon his negotiated plea of guilty after a reduction of the charge from armed robbery for which he was indicted.

Upon petition we previously summarily reduced the minimum sentence to one year and four months to comply with the new Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, sec. 1001-1-1 et seq.).

In this appeal defendant contends that the trial court failed to comply with those portions of Supreme Court Rule 402 (Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 110A, sec. 402) requiring substantial compliance with the following:

"(a) Admonitions to Defendant. The court shall not accept a plea of guilty without first, by addressing the defendant personally in open court, informing him of and determining that he understands the following:

(1) the nature of the charge.

(c) Determining Factual Basis for Plea. The court shall not enter final judgment on a plea of guilty without first determining that there is a factual basis for the plea."

• 1 For purposes of this opinion we believe it well to note that said sections (a) and (c) cover separate and distinct subjects requiring entirely different duties of the trial court. Section (a)(1) requires that it personally address the defendant and inform him of the charge, and, though not involved in this case, the court is also required in subsequently numbered sub-paragraphs to inform the defendant of the minimum and maximum sentences possible to be imposed, that he has a right to plead not guilty and to persist in that plea, and that he has a right to a jury trial. The purpose of these admonitions is to assure that the defendant fully understands what he is pleading to, what rights he is waiving by so pleading, and what the results of his action might be, It is defendant's understanding that is the crux of this section. (People v. Hudson, 7 Ill. App.3d 800.) In effect, unless it can be said that defendant's decision to plead guilty was an informed decision it cannot be said to be voluntary.

Section (c) has no relation to defendant's understanding either of the charge against him, his possible sentence, or the rights given up by reason of his plea. Rather, the purpose of this section is to require that the trial court make a determination that the acts alleged to have been committed by the defendant constitute the offense to which defendant is pleading guilty, and further, that the court make a record of the basis upon which he reached his conclusion. (People v. Hudson, 7 Ill. App.3d 800.) The crux of this section is a determination by the trial court that the facts fit the crime charged to prevent the possibility of defendant pleading guilty to a crime beyond the confines of his acts.

We shall consider first the contention that the trial court did not determine a factual basis for the plea in violation of section (c) of the rule. In People v. Hudson, 7 Ill. App.3d 800, we held that all that is required to appear on the record is a basis upon which the judge could reasonably reach the conclusion that there is a connection between defendant's acts and the intent with which he acted and the acts and intention (if any) required to constitute the offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty. Also, it was stated that a factual basis may be demonstrated in a number of ways: (1) by having the defendant state what he did, (2) by having the prosecuting attorney summarize the testimony expected to be introduced at the trial, (3) by having the facts stated by witnesses, or (4) by examination of a pre-sentence report.

In the case before us the court chose to have the prosecuting attorney summarize the facts. In answer to the court's question as to what the factual situation was and what the State was prepared to prove, the State's Attorney responded as follows:

"Your Honor, on February 24, 1972, at about 2:50 P.M. Leroy Billops and John Freeman and Clifton Bean participated in a robbery of the Star Cleaners 4801 Bond, in East St. Louis, and at that time John Freeman and Clifton Bean went into the cleaners and took money from Angela Tourijigian, and then Mr. Leroy Billops drove the car in the getaway, and they were apprehended by five IBI agents who had had this particular car under surveillance, and had watched the whole transaction, the robbery."

The court then asked defendant's counsel if this factual situation was substantially correct as he knew it and the attorney replied, "Substantially, yes."

• 2, 3 Under the reasoning of Hudson we find that such summary of of the facts constituted a sufficient basis upon which the trial court could reasonably have reached the conclusion that the acts alleged to have been committed by defendant constitute the offense to which he was pleading guilty, including his accountability as a driver of the getaway car. We also find, that, contrary to the contention of defendant, it was not necessary for the court personally to address the defendant, in establishing the factual basis for the plea. Such requirement applies only to section (a) of the rule, wherein defendant's understanding is the ...


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