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People v. Jones





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Lawrence I. Genesen, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Willie Jones, appeals from the order of the circuit court of Cook County denying his motion to vacate his plea of guilty. Defendant contends that he was denied due process of law when, after he entered his blind plea of guilty, the State recommended a significantly longer term of imprisonment than it had offered in earlier, unsuccessful plea negotiations. Defendant also contends that he was "inadequately advised as to the consequences of his entering a blind plea of guilty."

On September 27, 1983, defendant pleaded guilty to rape, deviate sexual assault, armed robbery and aggravated kidnaping. In response to the trial court's inquiry, defense counsel acknowledged that he had not reached an agreement with the State to recommend any particular sentence. The defendant was then fully admonished by the court concerning his rights and the consequences of his plea in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 402 (87 Ill.2d R. 402). Turning to the range of possible penalties, the court informed defendant that rape, deviate sexual assault and armed robbery are Class X felonies, and that aggravated kidnaping is a Class 1 felony. The court continued:

"On a Class X Felony, * * * this Court could sentence you to the penitentiary for an exact or determinate sentence with the lowest being six years and the highest being thirty years, unless the Court were to find that the extended term provisions applied, in which case it would be as low as thirty years or as high as sixty years.

In order for the extended term provisions to apply this Court would have to find either one, that you had been convicted of a felony of the same or greater class within ten years in Illinois or, two, that this was a heinous crime with exceptionally brutal and heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty or, three, that the person involved, the victim, was under twelve years of age or over sixty, or was physically handicapped. And there also is a provision for [an] extended term where it's a rape which involves more than one person * * *. [Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 1005-5-3.2(b)(4).] So, there would be a possibility for the extended term in this case, or at least something that may be considered.

On a Class X Felony no probation, periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge may be imposed. On the Class One Felony, which is the aggravated kidnapping, the minimum sentence would be four years and the highest the Court can give you being fifteen years. If the extended term provision were to be determined to apply, the lowest would be fifteen years and the highest would be thirty years.

The State has indicated that they have not agreed to make any recommendation in the case. I was not party to any conference and I have not indicated to your lawyer or anybody else what I'm going to do in this case. As a matter of fact, I don't know myself right now what I'm going to do in this case, so this is what is known as a blind plea."

Following these admonishments, defendant stated that no one had made any promises to him as to what the disposition in the case would be if he pleaded guilty. Defendant also stated that no one had forced or threatened him into pleading guilty. Defendant persisted in his plea of guilty which the court accepted, subject to the presentation of a factual basis for the plea.

The parties stipulated that if the victim were called to testify, she would state that on April 2, 1983, she was working at the Jewel Food Store located at 9150 South Cottage Grove in Chicago. At approximately 8:15 p.m., the victim walked to her automobile, a 1983 Oldsmobile, which was parked across the street from the grocery store. As she approached her vehicle, defendant and another individual confronted her and, at gunpoint, forced her into her car. Defendant then drove the victim's automobile to the vicinity of 8142 South Kingston in Chicago. Defendant demanded her money and the victim gave him $16. Defendant then backed the vehicle into a garage on Kingston and ordered the victim to remove her clothing. After taking the victim's jewelry, defendant, at gunpoint, forced her to commit acts of fellatio and sexual intercourse with him. Defendant then compelled the victim to have sexual intercourse with his 13-year-old companion. Following this, defendant ordered the victim to get dressed and to give him more money. Defendant then exited from the garage and drove his companion and the victim to 84th and Commercial, when they realized they were being followed by the police. After a high-speed chase, defendant crashed the victim's automobile into a lightpole, and the vehicle came to a stop. After hearing this stipulated evidence, the trial court found defendant guilty of rape, deviate sexual assault, armed robbery and aggravated kidnaping.

At the hearing in aggravation and mitigation, the prosecutor informed the court that on three separate occasions during the offenses, defendant threatened to kill the victim. Defense counsel stipulated that the victim would so testify. In mitigation, defense counsel presented character testimony from a minister, defendant's common-law wife and his mother. Defendant also testified in mitigation. Defendant admitted that he had committed the crimes but denied that he had threatened to kill the victim or that he had ordered her to have sexual intercourse with his juvenile associate. Defendant stated that he left the victim alone in the vehicle with the juvenile. Defendant also denied owning the gun that was used in the offenses, which he said that he had obtained from the juvenile, and claimed that he never had pointed the gun at the victim but merely had showed it to her.

Based upon the evidence presented, the prosecutor asked the court to impose extended-term sentences. Defense counsel, emphasizing defendant's prior record, military service and family responsibilities, characterized his conduct on April 2, 1983, as an "isolated incident in this person's life," and urged the court to impose the minimum sentence of six years. The defendant then expressed his remorse for the crimes.

After noting the factors in mitigation, the trial court commented:

"[T]his is not a case of a person knowing another person and becoming involved emotionally and using excessive force. It's a question of a kidnapping of a complete stranger, putting her through a period of terror where, if the words that he was going to kill her were not specifically expressed, it was certainly implied. And I certainly believe that from the discussions concerning the effort to get additional money, that the victim believed that her life was probably seriously imperiled.

And this apparently took place over a period of time, the sexual acts, the threats and the terror. And I suppose that, though, there was no physical injury, the mental trauma in this type of an issue is so great, as in ...

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