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People v. Glass

OPINION FILED JULY 28, 1981.

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

v.

THOMAS J. GLASS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

MR. JUSTICE HEIPLE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In this appeal by the defendant, Thomas J. Glass, from his conviction for armed robbery, entered in the Circuit Court of Peoria County, only one issue is raised, whether the sentence imposed was excessive. The defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 16 years. We affirm.

The defendant's contentions are two: (1) that the trial court did not consider certain mitigating factors, and (2) that the trial court improperly considered as an aggravating factor that the defendant attempted to receive compensation for the offense. Neither contention has merit.

As to the first contention, the defendant points out that at the time of the offense, the defendant was 24 years old and supported two children. When he last left prison, he secured employment and was described by a former employer as a good employee. The defendant adds he was repentant and openly acknowledged his guilt. During the course of the day on which he committed the offense, he was drinking and using pills. Lastly, the defendant points to the record which indicates, according to the defendant, that he used "neither excessive force nor physical violence during the commission of the offense."

• 1 The test for determining whether a sentence is excessive is whether the trial court abused its discretion. (People v. Cox (1980), 82 Ill.2d 268, 412 N.E.2d 541.) A reviewing court will not reduce a sentence merely as an act of judicial clemency. (People v. Aristole (1971), 131 Ill. App.2d 175, 268 N.E.2d 227.) Since armed robbery is a Class X felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 18-2(b)), the defendant could have been sentenced to as much as 30 years imprisonment, even though the minimum sentence has been set at six years. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 1005-8-1(a)(3).

• 2 We find no abuse of discretion. The sentence imposed is supported by the defendant's prior criminal history (convictions for theft and aggravated battery), as well as the nature and circumstances of the offense. The evidence established, according to the jury, that the defendant, while wearing a gorilla mask, entered a Convenient Food Store, pulled a gun on two employees, and demanded money. Defendant was apprehended as he tried to make his getaway.

• 3 Nor do we find that the trial court considered that the defendant attempted to or received compensation for committing the offense. Under People v. Conover (1981), 84 Ill.2d 400, 419 N.E.2d 906, it would be improper for the trial court to consider a receipt of proceeds from the offense as receiving compensation for committing the offense.

The defendant points to a prosecutor's statement in which it was argued that the defendant received compensation by making off with the money, and to two statements by the trial court that the defendant committed the offense because he needed money. The defendant then tries to tie these together, contending the trial court must have embraced the prosecutor's rationale. We see no evidence of this.

The trial court never mentioned compensation. Furthermore, the defendant's motive for committing the offense is relevant to whether the defendant's conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 105-5-3.1(a)(8).) If the offense resulted from a need for money, a circumstance which is likely to recur, the statutory mitigating factor is not available to the defendant. But this factor has nothing to do with a consideration of whether the defendant received compensation for committing the offense.

The trial court, in pronouncing sentence, rendered a very rational and thoughtful exposition which detailed the factors considered relevant to sentencing in this case. The court's explanation was both straightforward and factually and legally correct. Because it is so well stated, we set it forth here in its entirety:

"At this time the Court will set forth the reasons for the imposition of the particular sentence it will be entering and will now specify the particular evidence, information, factors, and other reasons that led it to its sentencing determination.

I would take up first those matters set forth in our statute as factors in mitigation and then also those as factors in aggravation and I will touch upon each of those.

The Defendant's criminal conduct in this case did not cause physical harm to anyone. It did, however, threaten serious physical harm. This robbery was committed by a gun. A gun that was cocked during the process of the robbery. And the Defendant must have contemplated that his conduct would either cause or threaten serious physical harm to another.

The robbery was committed only because of the threat of serious physical harm and it is certainly to be contemplated that if something goes wrong during that time ...


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