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07/13/87 the People of the State of v. Willie C. Ulmer

July 13, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

WILLIE C. ULMER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

510 N.E.2d 1296, 158 Ill. App. 3d 148, 110 Ill. Dec. 265 1987.IL.986

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Joseph M. McCarthy, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HOPF delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., concurs. JUSTICE WOODWARD, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HOPF

Willie Ulmer, the defendant, was charged by indictment with three counts of indecent liberties with a child. Counts I and II alleged that on March 5 and March 12, 1984, the defendant engaged in two acts of lewd fondling with his stepdaughter, a 10-year-old child (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 11-4(a)(3)). Count III alleged that on March 19, 1984, the defendant committed an act of sexual intercourse upon the same complainant (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 11-4(a)(1)).

The defendant entered a "blind" plea of guilty to each charge on December 31, 1984. The matter proceeded to a sentencing hearing on March 8, 1985, wherein the defendant was sentenced to four-year prison terms on both of the counts involving lewd fondling and an eight-year term on the count involving sexual intercourse, with all sentences to run concurrently.

At the sentencing hearing Ulmer testified on his own behalf and told the court: "I know what I did was wrong, but I will take responsibility for what I did, but it won't happen again." He indicated at the time of the offenses that he had been drinking, but had completely stopped since that time. He began seeing a counselor, on his own, following the offenses, and he had complied with a juvenile court order relevant to his being in the home when the 10-year-old stepdaughter was present. He also wanted to save his marriage.

Ulmer also indicated that he had been employed as a truck driver for the previous 10 years and now acted as an independent contractor with the United States Postal Service, earning $40,000 per year. Further, Ulmer had donated a kidney to one of his brothers in 1971.

Detective Robert Wiggins of the Carpentersville police department, testifying on behalf of the prosecution, stated that Ulmer had come to the police station on his own and was cooperative during the questioning. He had only minor police contact, that being for unlawful use of a license in 1971.

The defendant's wife, called as a prosecution witness, testified favorably for the defendant. She stated that four children lived with her in their home and that Ulmer had contributed to their support. She felt the marriage could be saved, that her husband had expressed regret over his conduct, and would not constitute a hazard to the family if he were granted probation. The minor child testified she did not know whether she wanted the defendant living in the same house with her, but she also testified she would not be afraid that he would commit any further sexual acts upon her if he did come back to her house.

The court first heard argument on the question of whether to grant Ulmer probation, which it denied.

Argument was then presented relevant to the prison sentence. The prosecutor asked for the statutory minimum four-year prison term. Speaking on his own behalf Ulmer told the court: "[What] I did was wrong. I take responsibility, you know. If the court please, I know that I did make a mistake. Like I say it won't happen again." The court then announced its decision.

"THE COURT: Well, let me state this: The Court has considered the pre-sentence report, I've also listened carefully to the testimony of all the witnesses this morning and I've heard the arguments of both counsel, taken those into consideration and the statement of the defendant. It is the Conclusion of the Court, Mr. Ulmer, that this particular offense is most repugnant to society and could very well leave a permanent scar on this ...


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