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People v. Dumontelle

OPINION FILED MAY 19, 1977.

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

v.

MICHAEL DUMONTELLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Kankakee County; the Hon. ROGER A. BENSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BARRY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Michael DuMontelle was charged by criminal complaint with possession of cannabis, a misdemeanor violation of the Cannabis Control Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 704(c)). On November 7, 1975, defendant pleaded guilty to the charge and requested, as a first offender, that he be placed on probation pursuant to section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 710). The trial court accepted the guilty plea but entered no judgment of conviction thereon. After considering lengthy arguments and briefs of both sides the trial court placed defendant on six months non-reporting probation and fined defendant $65 and assessed $25 court costs in addition thereto as a condition of his probation. On motion of defendant's counsel, the trial judge stayed payment of the fine and costs pending the filing of defendant's appeal. Defendant's timely appeal followed.

• 1 Preliminary to a discussion of the issues raised and the merits of defendant's arguments we must comment upon defendant's failure to move to vacate his guilty plea as a condition precedent to appealing from the sentence imposed upon him. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 604(d).) The statute requires that the motion to vacate a guilty plea be filed within 30 days from the imposition of sentence. Ordinarily we would not consider defendant's appeal on the merits absent his compliance with Supreme Court Rule 604(d). (People v. Bryant (5th Dist. 1977), 45 Ill. App.3d 428, 359 N.E.2d 888.) However the issue of compliance with Rule 604(d) has not been raised by a motion to dismiss and has been ignored by both sides to this appeal. We choose, however, to proceed to a determination of this cause on its merits.

Defendant presents two issues on review: (1) Whether the trial court properly imposed a fine as a condition of probation under section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act; (2) whether the trial court properly imposed the payment of court costs upon the defendant under the first offender provisions of a section 10 disposition of the Cannabis Control Act. Resolution of both issues is interrelated in that the applicability of the sentencing provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections to a disposition under the Cannabis Control Act is questioned. Defendant argues that the trial court erred in imposing a fine as a condition of probation against a Cannabis Control Act section 10 first offender because the provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections which sanction the imposition of a fine on a probationer are not applicable to a proceeding in which there has been neither a judgment of conviction nor a determination of guilt. The more precise issue raised is whether a plea of guilty in these circumstances amounts to a determination of guilt when the Cannabis Control Act provides that a qualifying first offender, upon a plea of guilty, can be placed on probation without the necessity of the court entering a judgment of guilt and conviction. Phrased another way the question becomes whether the placing on probation that occurred here is a sentence contemplated under the provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-1-5; par. 1005-5-3(a); and par. 1005-6-3(b)) upon which a condition of paying a fine can be attached as a condition of probation.

Defendant relies upon People v. Glidden (1975), 33 Ill. App.3d 741, 338 N.E.2d 204, for the proposition that the general laws pertaining to sentencing and probation have no application to a defendant proceeding as a first time offender under the Cannabis Control Act. Although we dealt with the first offender section of the Cannabis Control Act in Glidden, we were only concerned there with construing the statute as it applied to revocation of probation granted a first offender under the Act. Again we clearly recognize that the Cannabis Control Act first offender provision represents an enlightened innovation in sentencing. However we find the Glidden case and certain language contained therein to be distinguishable. In Glidden we concerned ourselves solely with the statutory distinctions between the Cannabis Control Act and the Unified Code of Corrections and concluded that the probation status conferred upon a first-time Cannabis offender was independent of the Unified Code of Corrections and its provisions concerning revocation of probation. We did not consider in Glidden the specific problem now raised.

To argue, as defendant does, that his open and voluntary guilty plea and its acceptance by the trial court is not a determination of guilt is illogical. In People v. Taylor (4th Dist. 1974), 18 Ill. App.3d 480, 309 N.E.2d 595, the court held that the legislative intent of the Cannabis Control Act was to provide a wide discretion in the sentencing power of the trial court and to excise marijuana from both the Criminal Code of 1961 and the Controlled Substances Act. It was stated in Taylor, "In short, it [the Cannabis Control Act] preempted the nature and extent of the penalty provisions of our criminal justice system, with that system, nevertheless, providing the mechanics for the enforcement of the Cannabis Control Act." (Emphasis added.) People v. Taylor (4th Dist. 1974), 18 Ill. App.3d 480, 482, 309 N.E.2d 595, 597. We agree with that sentiment.

A defendant who is a first offender may be placed on probation pursuant to section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 710) after he has been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to violating the pertinent sections of the Cannabis Control Act. This lenient disposition may occur only with the consent of the first offender, and although there has already been a plea or finding of guilt, no judgment of conviction is entered against the offender unless he later violates a condition of his probation. The statute provides that the court may "defer further proceedings and place him on probation upon reasonable terms and conditions as it may require." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 710.) Certainly the small fine imposed here was not unreasonable. The language of the specific statute allows reasonable terms and conditions to be placed upon this type of probation and we find no error in the trial court's actions.

• 2-4 Defendant's argument is an attempt to equate the trial court's deferring entry of a judgment of conviction with the lack of a finding or determination of guilt. Section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act specifically prohibits entry of a judgment or other determination of guilt even though a defendant does plead guilty, or is found guilty, as a prerequisite to the leniency of the first offender provisions. The case of People v. Goetz (4th Dist. 1975), 27 Ill. App.3d 680, 327 N.E.2d 516, at first seems analogous to the present case, but a close study reveals that it is quite distinguishable. The Goetz case concerned the first offender provisions of section 410 of the Controlled Substance Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1410) which provides that the court shall not enter a judgment of conviction against the first offender while the Cannabis Control Act provides only that a judgment of guilt shall not be entered. The legislative purposes in the different treatment of first offenders under both the Cannabis Control Act and the Controlled Substances Act is obvious. The legislative intent in enacting the more lenient provisions of the Cannabis Control Act was to remove this specific area from the more harsh provisions of the Criminal Code of Corrections. While providing a means to spare a first offender from the long lasting collateral consequences of having a conviction or judgment of guilt appear upon his record, the legislature did not intend to limit the otherwise broad sentencing power of the court under the Unified Code of Corrections over defendants who have either been found guilty or pleaded guilty as charged. Section 5-1-5 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1005-1-5) provides us with the following definition of a conviction:

"`Conviction' means a judgment of conviction or sentence entered upon a plea of guilty or upon a verdict or finding of guilty of an offense, rendered by a legally constituted jury or by a court of competent jurisdiction authorized to try the case without a jury." (Emphasis added.)

The trial court entered an order on January 8, 1976, which was filed with the clerk of the court providing in pertinent part:

"ORDER OF SENTENCE OF NON-REPORTING PROBATION

This cause having come on for hearing this 5th day of January, 1976, and the Court, having accepted the plea of guilty of the Defendant, Michael DuMontelle, in manner and form as charged in the Complaint, charging Possession of Cannabis, and the Court, not having entered judgment on the plea, finds that the Defendant should be sentenced to a period of Non-reporting probation as a first offender under Section 710 of Chapter 56 1/2 of Illinois Revised Statutes.

IT IS THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that the Defendant be and hereby is sentenced to a period of Non-reporting Probation of six (6) months upon conditions as follows that Defendant."

Consistent with the statutory definition we have no doubt that disposition of the defendant in the instant case amounted to a conviction. Under the provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections, which is applicable here, a fine may be imposed as a condition of probation. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1005-6-3; People v. Garrett (5th Dist. 1973), 11 Ill. App.3d 142, 296 N.E.2d 44.) We do not believe the trial ...


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