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People v. Godinez





Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, the Hon. Robert E. Hunt, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Ricardo Godinez, pleaded guilty in the circuit court of Peoria County to armed robbery and aggravated kidnaping. He was given a sentence of 24 years' imprisonment for the robbery, and a concurrent sentence of 10 years' imprisonment for the kidnaping. The appellate court held that the sentence of 24 years for robbery was improperly disparate from the 15-year sentence received by a co-defendant, Michael Godinez, his brother, who also pleaded guilty to the armed-robbery charge. The court considered that the trial court abused discretion in imposing the disparate sentences and reduced the defendant's sentence to 15 years. (92 Ill. App.3d 523.) We granted the People's petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Rules 315 and 612 (73 Ill.2d Rules 315, 612).

An indictment was returned on February 22, 1978, charging the defendant with aggravated kidnaping and armed robbery. Named as co-defendants were Michael Godinez (the defendant's brother), Ralph Trevino (the defendant's cousin), Debra Huddleston (to whom the defendant was later married), and Kathy Newman (Debra's sister). On April 10, 1978, the defendant pleaded guilty to both charges.

Before the defendant's pleas were accepted, the People represented the following as a factual basis for the pleas. (73 Ill.2d R. 402(c)). Ethiel Randle would testify that on February 3, 1978, she went to the Wisconsin Plaza Shopping Center in Peoria around 8:30 p.m. As she left her car, two masked men approached her. One of them had a gun. She was pushed into the front seat of her car, and her car keys were taken. The two men got into her car and drove her to another location in Peoria, where the driver left the car. He returned and she was then blindfolded. She was driven to another location, and the two men led her to an apartment. Her hands and feet were bound, and she remained there for several hours, until the police arrived and freed her. She later identified the defendant as one of the men who had abducted her at the plaza.

Leota Reay would testify that on February 3 she was with the defendant, Michael Godinez and Ralph Trevino in a car in Wisconsin Plaza around 8:30 p.m. The defendant and Trevino left the car, and thereafter she saw a car matching the description of Ms. Randle's auto being driven from the plaza by the defendant.

Kathy Johnson would testify that she was employed at the Convenient Food Mart in Peoria on February 3. At 10 p.m., three masked and armed men entered the store. One had a handgun; the others had knives. They took money from the cash register and a bottle of liquor from a shelf.

Andrew Koehl would testify that he was a customer in the store at the time of the robbery. He saw the car in which the robbers left, and his description of it matched that of Ethiel Randle's car.

Gary Cullen, a Peoria police officer, would testify that he stopped the above-described auto shortly after the robbery. He approached it, and as he reached in to turn off the engine, the vehicle drove off, brushing him aside.

Officer Richard Jordan of Peoria would testify that he then chased the car and brought it to a halt when his squad car collided with it. The auto was that of Ethiel Randle.

Leota Reay would testify that she accompanied the defendant, Michael Godinez and Trevino to the Convenient Food Mart, and that she remained in the car while they entered the store.

After the People made the above representation, the defendant agreed it was what the prosecution's evidence would show, and the court accepted the plea.

On April 10, 1978, Michael Godinez also pleaded guilty to the armed robbery. The count charging him with kidnaping was dismissed by the State following a plea-bargaining discussion, but there was no agreement or negotiation as to his sentence. Trevino went to trial and was convicted of both armed robbery and aggravated kidnaping.

A joint hearing on sentencing was held for the defendant and Michael on June 2, 1978. At the hearing, presentence reports were filed for consideration by the court. The reports included the prior criminal records of the two men. The defendant, who was 19 years old, had been convicted of burglary and theft in 1976, and he was given a one- to three-year prison sentence. The experience apparently was not an educational one, for after being given an early parole, he was convicted of another burglary in 1977. For this offense he was given a sentence of 3 to 10 years, and was released on an appeal bond in January 1978. The defendant was sent to a youth farm by juvenile authorities in January 1974, but was relocated because he had been involved in fights with other inmates. In the fall of 1974, the defendant was committed to the Department of Corrections after leaving without authority the youth facility to which he had been sent after being declared a delinquent for possession of a stolen auto.

The defendant obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate through the Department. The defendant used alcohol and drugs heavily following his release on the appeal bond in 1978, but he told the presentence investigator that he had reformed ...

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