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People v. James

NOVEMBER 21, 1974.

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

v.

THOMAS RAY JAMES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Vermilion County; the Hon. FRANK J. MEYER, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE SIMKINS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Thomas Ray James, appeals from his conviction pursuant to a guilty plea of the offense of burglary in violaton of section 19-1 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 19-1) and from a sentence imposed of 2 to 6 years.

Defendant raises the following issues for resolution by this court:

(1) Whether defendant was properly admonished of the sentence prescribed by law because he was not informed that the term of imprisonment would be indeterminate.

(2) Whether defendant was properly admonished of the maximum sentence prescribed by law because he was not informed of the existence of a mandatory parole term.

(3) Whether defendant was properly admonished of the minimum sentence prescribed by law because he was not informed of the possibility of conditional discharge and periodic imprisonment.

Defendant was charged with the offense of burglary and on September 11, 1973, defendant appeared in court to enter a guilty plea to said charge. The court stated to defendant in regard to sentencing as follows:

"The Court: * * * The sentence under this is a Class 2 Felony which means you could be given a sentence of anything from one to twenty years, do you understand that?

Defendant James: Yes, sir."

The court then explained to defendant the possibility of probation:

"The Court: Another thing the Court must explain to you and I assume there will be a motion for probation, that is strictly up to the Court — if probation is recommended that doesn't mean the Court would have to give you probation — if it was recommended that probation be denied, it doesn't mean the Court would have to deny it, do you understand that?

Defendant James: Yes."

The trial judge subsequently entered judgment on the plea. On October 4, 1973, a sentencing hearing was held, defendant's petition for probation was denied, and defendant was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in the penitentiary. Defendant then filed his notice of appeal.

Defendant first contends that he was not properly admonished of the sentence prescribed by law under Supreme Court Rule 402(a)(2) because he was not informed by the trial judge prior to acceptance of his guilty plea that the term of imprisonment would be indeterminate (as required by the Unified Code of Corrections, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1005-8-1). We find that argument, however, to be lacking in merit.

• 1 Defendant cites only People v. Medley, 122 Ill. App.2d 279, 258 N.E.2d 392 (4th Dist.) in support of his contention. In Medley this court held that the use of the phrase "an indeterminate term of years" to be an insufficient admonishment of the applicable maximum sentence. The Medley case is simply one of a long line of cases holding the term "indeterminate" insufficient to set the outer limits of a sentence or to adequately apprise defendant of the maximum possible sentence. (See People v. Terry, 44 Ill.2d 38, 253 N.E.2d 383; People v. Zboralski, 15 Ill. App.3d 343, 304 N.E.2d 484; People v. Fairchild, 133 Ill. App.2d 875, 272 N.E.2d 445; People v. Vecchio, 131 Ill. App.2d 1080, 267 N.E.2d 27; People v. McCracken, 3 Ill. App.3d 759, 279 N.E.2d 181; People v. Short, 4 Ill. App.3d 849, ...


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