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12/30/87 the People of the State of v. Gary Clark

December 30, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE

v.

GARY CLARK, APPELLANT



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

518 N.E.2d 138, 119 Ill. 2d 1, 115 Ill. Dec. 613 1987.IL.1953

Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County, the Hon. Jerry L. Patton, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. JUSTICE MILLER, Concurring in part and Dissenting in part.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MORAN

The State then filed its information against the defendant charging him with multiple offenses in connection with the deaths of Effie and Prentice Curfman. With respect to each of the two deaths, defendant was charged with intentional murder, knowing murder, and felony murder in violation of sections 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3), respectively, of the Criminal Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3).) In addition, he was charged with two counts of home invasion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-11); two counts of residential burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 19-3); two counts of robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 18-1); and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault of Effie Curfman (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 38, par. 12-14).

Plea negotiations commenced. The defendant agreed to plead guilty to the intentional murders of Effie and Prentice Curfman in exchange for the dismissal of all other charges. The plea was accepted and judgment was entered on the plea. One week later, the State filed a motion to compel withdrawal of the plea on grounds that the trial court did not give the proper admonition regarding the maximum sentence applicable to defendant's plea. (107 Ill. 2d R. 402(a)(2).) A proper admonition would have informed the defendant that, if he persisted in the plea, the court was required to sentence him to natural life imprisonment pursuant to section 5-8-1(a)(1)(c) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 1005-8-1(a)(1)(c)). Under this provision, a sentencing Judge must impose a sentence of natural life imprisonment on any defendant convicted of "murdering more than one victim." Defendant's pleas were set aside.

The defendant moved for a change of venue due to adverse publicity. His motion was granted and the case was tried before a jury in the circuit court of Tazewell County. The jury returned a general verdict of guilty for residential burglary, a verdict of guilty for the robbery of Effie Curfman, and a verdict of guilty for the robbery of Prentice Curfman. The jury was unable to agree to a verdict on the charges of murder, home invasion, and aggravated criminal sexual assault, prompting the court to declare a mistrial as to these charges. The defendant was retried, the jury returning general verdicts of guilty for the murders of both Curfmans. The jury also returned a general verdict of guilty of home invasion and further found the defendant guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault.

Defendant appealed his convictions urging several errors, chief among which was the inadequacy of the hearing held on the State's motion to transfer the proceedings against him from a juvenile to an adult prosecutorial forum. A divided appellate court affirmed, "find[ing] that there was sufficient evidence to transfer the defendant" and further "find[ing] no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court in authorizing the transfer to adult prosecution." (144 Ill. App. 3d 420, 427, 428.) The Dissent focussed on the fact that neither the prosecution, the defense, nor the court were aware that defendant would be subject to a mandatory sentence of natural life imprisonment if tried as an adult and convicted of murdering both of the Curfmans. The result was that no evidence was presented at the transfer hearing to support a finding that it was in the best interest of the defendant and the public that he be incarcerated not just beyond the age of majority, 21, but for the rest of his life. The case is before this court on defendant's petition for leave to appeal. 107 Ill. 2d R. 315(a).

The principal issue for decision is whether the defendant received a legally adequate transfer hearing under section 2 -- 7(3) of the Juvenile Court Act. Defendant contends that the hearing was inadequate as a matter of law because: (1) no consideration was given to whether or not his best interests or the best interests of society necessitated that he be imprisoned for the remainder of his life and (2) no consideration was given to his social and personal history, particularly as this bears on his rehabilitative potential.

The defendant also raises two challenges under the Illinois Constitution to the imposition of mandatory natural life imprisonment on a juvenile who was only 14 years old at the time of the offenses. The State has moved to strike defendant's constitutional challenges, pointing out that these issues are not before this court because defendant's petition for leave to appeal did not urge reversal on these or any constitutional grounds. We took the State's motion with the case.

We have reviewed defendant's petition and agree that the constitutional issues were not relied upon as points for reversal as required by our Rule 315(b)(3). (107 Ill. 2d R. 315(b)(3); People v. Anderson (1986), 112 Ill. 2d 39, 44.) Therefore, we grant the State's motion to strike defendant's constitutional challenges to imposition of natural life imprisonment on a juvenile 14 years of age at the time of committing an offense. Further, given our Disposition on the issues surrounding the transfer proceeding, it is not necessary to reach defendant's constitutional arguments.

The remaining issue concerns the adequacy of defendant's transfer hearing. Such hearing is required by statute pursuant to section 2 -- 7(3) of the Act, which provides:

"If a petition alleges commission by a minor 13 years of age or over of an act which constitutes a crime under the laws of this State, and, on motion of the State's Attorney, a Juvenile Judge, designated by the Chief Judge of the Circuit to hear and determine such motions, after investigation and hearing but before commencement of the adjudicatory hearing, finds that it is not in the best interests of the minor or of the public to proceed under this Act, the court may enter an order permitting prosecution under the criminal laws.

(a) In making its determination on a motion to permit prosecution under the criminal laws, the court shall consider among other matters : (1) whether there is sufficient evidence upon which a grand jury may be expected to return an indictment; (2) whether there is evidence that the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner; (3) the age of the minor; (4) the previous history of the minor ; (5) whether there are facilities particularly available to the Juvenile Court for the treatment and rehabilitation of the minor ; and (6) whether the best interest of the minor and the security of the public may require ...


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