SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
529 N.E.2d 227, 124 Ill. 2d 81, 124 Ill. Dec. 407 1988.IL.957
Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Fred G. Suria, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CLARK, Dissenting. JUSTICE STAMOS joins in this Dissent.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN
The State brings this appeal from a decision of the appellate court, which, by a Rule 23 order (107 Ill. 2d R. 23), reversed the circuit court of Cook County's dismissal of the defendant's petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 122-1 et seq.). 152 Ill. App. 3d 1163 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
At the time of the defendant's conviction, the post-conviction statute then in effect included a 20-year limitation period. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 122-1.) On January 1, 1984, an amendment to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act took effect, which shortened the limitation period to 10 years. Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 38, par. 122-1.
On February 6, 1984, the defendant filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. This filing took place just over 11 years after the defendant's conviction, and approximately 5 weeks after the new 10-year limitation period became effective. The circuit court applied the new limitation period and, accordingly, dismissed the petition as untimely.
The appellate court, first district, reversed and remanded to the circuit court for an evidentiary hearing. The court held that when limitation statutes are shortened so as to instantaneously bar petitions which fall outside the new time period, persons affected must be given a reasonable time within which to file. We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal. 107 Ill. 2d R. 315.
The limitation provision in section 122 -- 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 provides as follows:
"No proceedings under this Article shall be commenced more than 10 years after rendition of final judgment, unless the petitioner alleges facts showing that the delay was not due to his culpable negligence." (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 38, par. 122-1.)
The preamendment provision was identical, except that the limitation period specified was 20 years.
The first question we must address is whether the shortened limitation period may be applied retroactively to convictions which occurred prior to its enactment. The appellate court held that it may, relying upon People v. Robinson (1986), 140 Ill. App. 3d 29. We agree with that Conclusion and, as discussed below, largely adopt the Robinson approach to this issue.
The logical starting point for our analysis is Orlicki v. McCarthy (1954), 4 Ill. 2d 342. In that case, an amendment had reduced the time period for filing an action under the Dramshop Act, and this court considered whether the amendment could be applied retroactively. In answering that ...