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People v. Lambrechts

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1977.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

JEFFREY LAMBRECHTS, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Second MR. JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Jeffrey Lambrechts, pleaded guilty in the circuit court of Du Page County to a one-count indictment charging him with burglary. The State recommended, as a part of its plea agreement with defendant, a sentence of 18 to 54 months' imprisonment. The court sentenced defendant to a term of 6 to 20 years. The Appellate Court for the Second District affirmed (41 Ill. App.3d 729), and we allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal.

The State and defendant apparently agree that defense counsel requested a pretrial conference with the trial judge to which the State objected because no tentative plea agreement had then been reached between the parties as contemplated by our Rule 402(d)(2) (58 Ill.2d R. 402(d)(2)). The court apparently declined the requested conference but indicated defense counsel should continue his discussion with the State's Attorney, and that in 90-95% of the cases the judge followed the recommended dispositions. At the subsequent plea proceedings the court was informed that the State and defendant had arrived at a plea agreement, and the agreement was stated for the record. "[D]efendant will enter a plea of guilty to Indictment No. 74-838-G. The State will recommend that he be sentenced to serve 18 to 54 months concurrent with a one to three [year] sentence, which he has received in Kane County." The indictment was read to defendant, and the court determined that he understood the nature of the charge against him. A detailed statement of the facts which were the basis for the plea was presented, and, after a minor correction, was conceded by defendant to be correct. Defendant expressly admitted he was guilty of the offense. The court informed defendant of the presumption of innocence, the reasonable doubt standard of proof, the right to a jury trial, and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. The defendant indicated that he understood that he was waiving all of these rights by pleading guilty, and that no promises other than the plea agreement and no threats had been made to him concerning his plea. The court continued to question defendant as follows:

"THE COURT: Do you realize that although your attorney and the State's Attorney and yourself, although you have discussed the penalty you would receive, and you have discussed the fact that you would get 18 months to 54 months if you pled guilty, do you realize that I, the judge, have not been a party to that agreement, and I might decide to give you a different sentence; that I'm not bound by the agreement you have made with your lawyer and the State's Attorney? Do you understand that?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: (No answer.)

THE COURT: Answer orally.

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes.

THE COURT: Mr. Lambrechts, also, did anybody discuss with you what the penalty is for the crime of burglary?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: I think it's one to 20.

THE COURT: That's right. The penalty I can give you is at least one year in the penitentiary as a minimum and I can give you up to 20 years in the penitentiary with a mandatory three years parole and also fine you up to $10,000, or is it $15,000 now?

MR. HAYTON: [Assistant States Attorney]: $10,000.

THE COURT: Do you understand I can do that?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes.

THE COURT: Because I am not bound by the agreement that your attorney and the State's Attorney have made.

When it comes to sentencing I could give you a sentence of one to 20, three to 20, six to 20, anything between a minimum of one year and a maximum of 20 years with a mandatory three years parole, even though you have gotten this agreement with the State.

Do you understand that?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes.

THE COURT: All right. Did your attorney explain that to you?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes.

THE COURT: And you understand that?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes.

THE COURT: I would like to ask you once more: do you still wish to plead guilty to the charge of burglary in indictment No. 74-838-G?

MR. LAMBRECHTS: Yes."

After finding defendant guilty of burglary, the court, apparently unfamiliar with defendant's past and noting the recommended minimum was greater than the lowest permissible minimum, ordered a presentence report.

That report detailed defendant's history, indicating he was a 26-year-old high school graduate (correspondence school diploma), married more than two years, and the father of a 2 1/2-month-old daughter. The report also indicated defendant's wife was then "on probation in Cook County for a charge of Theft"; that defendant stated he had been hospitalized and treated several times since 1965 in connection with his usage of drugs, including psychological and psychiatric consultation, both public and private, and treatment at both public and private institutions, among them the Elgin State Hospital and the Federal Rehabilitation Center in Kentucky; that he had been an active member of the Methadone Maintenance Institute in Chicago for the last 1 1/2 years. As to his drug problem defendant told the court: "I wish I'd never started it [drugs]. They have screwed up my life. I have been off drugs for one year. My baby and my job are the most important things to me now." Defendant's extensive criminal record was noted, including one year's probation on a 1967 theft charge, reduced from burglary; 90 days in the House of Corrections in 1968 for contributing to the delinquency of a minor; a 1970 burglary charge which was reduced to theft, for which he received two years' probation including 30 days in jail; a grand theft charge shortly afterwards which was reduced to criminal trespass with one year's probation; 10 months in jail for theft of $150 in 1972; a 30-day jail sentence on a fictitious license plate charge; a 1973 burglary charge which was dropped when defendant pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property for which he received five years' probation and a sentence of one to three years for burglary in Kane County which would commence following the sentencing hearing in this case. Defendant said he had been offered a job just prior to the Kane County sentencing, paying $9.56 per hour, more than he had ever earned. Although he had held some six jobs since leaving school, he was unemployed at the time of the report.

The court thoroughly questioned Lambrechts at the sentencing hearing concerning each prior conviction. Defendant explained that he committed these offenses to finance his drug habit, but had had no drug problem for about a year. After defendant had been given an opportunity ...


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