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People v. Jimerson

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 20, 1982.

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

v.

DONTALYON JIMERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. Herman S. Haase, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE ALLOY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

From his conviction of felony theft following a bench trial, the defendant, Dontalyon Jimerson, appeals. The defendant, who represented himself at trial, was given a three-year term of imprisonment. In this appeal, he raises only one issue: whether his sentence should be vacated and his cause remanded for resentencing because the trial court allegedly ruled erroneously that it must apply the penalty provisions for a Class 3 felony and failed to provide the defendant an opportunity to elect between specific sentencing alternatives. We affirm.

The factual basis for the defendant's conviction was his taking of two boxes of cast aluminum cookware from a Montgomery Ward store on November 10, 1981. The value of the goods taken was $179.98. At the time of the offense, theft of goods valued in excess of $150 was charged as a Class 3 felony. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 16-1(e)(1), (e)(3).) Prior to the defendant's trial in March 1982, the sentencing provisions of the theft statute were amended to read as follows:

"Sentence.

(1) Theft of property, other than a firearm, not from the person and not exceeding $300 in value is a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense after a conviction of any type of theft, including retail theft, other than theft of a firearm, is a Class 4 felony.

(3) Theft of property from the person or exceeding $300 is a Class 3 felony." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 16-1(e)(1), (3).)

Thus, under the provisions of the amended statute, which became effective January 1, 1982, the defendant's theft offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor rather than as a Class 3 felony.

The sentencing range for a Class 3 felony is two to five years and a maximum term of probation of 30 months. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 1005-8-1(a)(6).) Class A misdemeanors are punishable by a term of imprisonment or probation of less than one year, while Class 4 felonies are punishable by a term of imprisonment of one to three years or a term of probation not to exceed 30 months. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, pars. 1005-8-3(a)(1), 1005-8-1(a)(7), 1005-6-2(b)(2), (3).) Because the defendant in the instant case had a prior theft conviction that was sufficiently established prior to sentencing, he was not eligible for Class A misdemeanor sentencing but for Class 4 felony sentencing under the statute as amended in January 1982.

At the conclusion of the defendant's trial, at which he appeared pro se, the following exchange took place between the prosecuting attorney and the judge:

"The Court: Well, Mr. White, one question I had, that new statute that amends the jurisdictional amount for felony theft, when did that go in effect?

Mr. White: January 1st (1982).

The Court: So, at the time of this offense, the value in question is a hundred and fifty?

Mr. White: That is correct."

The trial court then found the defendant guilty of felony theft. On April 30, 1982, the date set for the defendant's sentencing hearing, the public defender was appointed to represent him, and the hearing was continued until May 10, 1982. Following two additional continuances, ...


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