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People v. Wisslead

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 18, 1983.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

SCOTT A. WISSLEAD, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McDonough County, the Hon. U.S. Collins, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On April 1, 1981, the defendant, Scott A. Wisslead, was charged with committing the offense of unlawful restraint (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-3(a)) and the offense of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) based on the underlying felony of unlawful restraint. The criminal information alleged that on March 31, 1981, Wisslead, while armed with a revolver, detained his estranged wife without legal authority. On August 13, 1981, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, contending that the unlawful-restraint statute is unconstitutionally vague, that the armed-violence statute provides an arbitrary classification of penalties, and that the offense of armed violence cannot be based on the crime of unlawful restraint. On October 5, 1981, the circuit court of McDonough County held that the unlawful-restraint statute is not unconstitutionally vague. It further held that the armed-violence statute, as applied to the unlawful-restraint statute, violated sections 2 and 11 of article I of the Constitution of the State of Illinois (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, secs. 2, 11) and the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States (U.S. Const., amend. XIV) in that "the statutory scheme of penalties is arbitrary, capricious, and not reasonably related to the seriousness of the offenses" classified under article 10 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 10-1 through 10-5 (kidnaping and related offenses)). The court declared the armed-violence statute unconstitutional as applied to the unlawful-restraint statute and dismissed the charge of armed violence. The court denied the motion to dismiss the unlawful-restraint count. The People have appealed to this court under our Rule 302(a). 73 Ill.2d R. 302(a).

The People first contend that the defendant's challenge to the sentencing provisions of the armed-violence statute is premature since there has not been an adjudication of guilt. The record shows that this contention was not presented, argued or decided in the trial court. Since the question has been raised for the first time on appeal, it will not be considered. Hamer v. Kirk (1976), 65 Ill.2d 211; People ex rel. Wilcox v. Equity Funding Life Insurance Co. (1975), 61 Ill.2d 303; Kravis v. Smith Marine, Inc. (1975), 60 Ill.2d 141.

The defendant acknowledges that from the literal language of the statute it would appear that a charge of armed violence might be founded upon the underlying felony of unlawful restraint. This seems so from the language of the armed-violence statute. Section 33A-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 provides that "[a] person commits armed violence when, while armed with a dangerous weapon, he commits any felony defined by Illinois Law." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 33A-2.) In People v. Haron (1981), 85 Ill.2d 261, we concluded that armed violence could be based only on "a predicate offense which is a felony without enhancement by the presence of a weapon." (85 Ill.2d 261, 278.) Section 10-3(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 provides that "[a] person commits the offense of unlawful restraint when he knowingly without legal authority detains another." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-3(a).) The presence of a weapon is not an element of the felony offense of unlawful restraint, and it has been held that the crime may serve as the underlying offense to a charge of armed violence. (People v. Jones (1981), 93 Ill. App.3d 475.) The argument the defendant makes, however, was not considered in Jones.

The ground of the defendant's argument that the involved statutory scheme of penalties is arbitrary and capricious is: Unlawful restraint is a less serious crime than kidnaping (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-1) and should be punished less severely. It is reasonable then, he says, that the commission of unlawful restraint while armed (which constitutes the offense of armed violence) should be regarded as less serious, and accordingly be punished less severely, than the commission of kidnaping while armed (which the defendant states is, because of the presence of a dangerous weapon, the offense of aggravated kidnaping under section 10-2(a)(5) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-2(a)(5))). Armed violence, which here would be unlawful restraint while armed with a revolver, is a Class X felony when a Category I weapon (e.g., a gun) is present (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 33A-1(b), 33A-3(a)); aggravated kidnaping here (kidnaping while armed under section 10-2(a)(5)), however, is only a Class 1 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 10-2(b)(2), 1005-8-1(a)(3), (a)(4)) — a lesser offense. Allowing armed violence to be predicated on the offense of unlawful restraint, the defendant argues, is unreasonable and, as the circuit court determined, unconstitutional.

It is apparent from the face of the statute that one who kidnaps another while armed with a dangerous weapon can be prosecuted under section 10-2(a)(5) of the aggravated-kidnaping statute and would be subject to a lesser penalty than a person prosecuted on similar facts for armed violence based on unlawful restraint. Section 10-2(a)(5) states:

"A kidnaper within the definition of paragraph (a) of Section 10-1 [the kidnaping statute] is guilty of the offense of aggravated kidnaping when he:

Commits the offense of kidnaping while armed with a dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 33A-1 of the `Criminal Code of 1961'." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-2(a)(5).)

Section 10-1(a) (simple kidnaping) provides:

"Kidnaping occurs when a person knowingly:

(1) And secretly confines another against his will, or

(2) By force or threat of imminent force carries another from one place to another with intent secretly to confine him against his will, or

(3) By deceit or enticement induces another to go from one place to another with intent secretly to confine him against his will." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-1(a).)

Comparing the language defining the offense of unlawful restraint with the above definitions of aggravated kidnaping and kidnaping, it can be seen that unlawful restraint is a less serious offense than kidnaping. The penalty prescribed for unlawful restraint and the type of conduct involved in its commission illustrate that it is less serious than kidnaping. The legislature has classified unlawful restraint as a Class 4 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-3(b)); it made kidnaping the more serious Class 2 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-1(c)). Unlawful restraint requires an illegal detention; kidnaping involves secret confinement, deceit or enticement, or force or threat of imminent force. When one adds the element of the presence of a Category I weapon, such as a gun, to those required for unlawful restraint and to those required for kidnaping, the offenses may be prosecuted as armed violence based on unlawful restraint and aggravated kidnaping respectively. Since each offense is enhanced by the identical additional element, a gun, the lesser offense of unlawful restraint should not thereby become a graver offense than kidnaping. However, incongruously it does where aggravated kidnaping is charged. Armed violence based on unlawful restraint with a Category I weapon is a Class X felony, whereas aggravated kidnaping is only a Class 1 felony, a lesser offense. Section 2 of article I of the Constitution of Illinois states: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws." (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 2.) Section 11 of article I in part provides: "All penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship." (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 11.) The policy underlying these constitutional provisions would be violated if the penalty prescribed for an offense is not as great or greater than the penalty prescribed for a less serious offense. (Cf. People v. Bradley (1980), 79 Ill.2d 410 (a more serious penalty should not be provided for a less serious offense); People v. Wagner (1982), 89 Ill.2d 308.) The sentences which may be imposed for the offense of armed violence based on unlawful restraint with a Category I weapon and for the more serious offense of aggravated kidnaping are unconstitutionally disproportionate.

A similar comparison of the unlawful-restraint statute with the forcible-detention statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-4) compels the same conclusion of unconstitutionality. "A person commits the offense of forcible detention [a Class 2 felony] when he holds an individual hostage without lawful authority for the purpose of obtaining performance by a third person of demands made by the person holding the hostage, and (1) the person holding the hostage is armed with a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 33A-1 of this Code * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-4(a)(1).) Comparison of the definition of the offense of unlawful restraint with the definition of forcible detention under section 10-4(a)(1) shows that unlawful restraint is a lesser included offense of forcible detention. A lesser included offense is one which is established by "less than all of the facts or a less culpable mental state (or both), than that which is required to establish the commission of the offense charged * * *." (See ...


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