APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION
549 N.E.2d 609, 192 Ill. App. 3d 774, 139 Ill. Dec. 883 1989.IL.1856
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James J. Schreier, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. MURRAY, P.J., and COCCIA, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ
Following a bench trial, defendant, Emmett Gentry, was convicted of possessing a stolen motor vehicle pursuant to section 4-103 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 4-103) and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years' imprisonment. Defendant contends that conviction must be reversed because section 4-103 of the Code is unconstitutional as violative of due process guarantees.
We conclude it is not and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
Section 4 -- 103 of the Code provides, in pertinent part, in subsection (a):
"It is a violation of this chapter for:
(1) A person not entitled to the possession of a vehicle to receive, possess, conceal, sell, dispose, or transfer it, knowing it to have been stolen or converted; additionally the General Assembly finds that the acquisition and Disposition of vehicles . . . are strictly controlled by law and that such acquisition and Disposition are reflected by documents of title, uniform invoices . . . and bills of sale. It may be inferred, therefore that a person exercising exclusive unexplained possession over a stolen or converted vehicle . . . has knowledge that such vehicle . . . is stolen or converted, regardless of whether the date on which such vehicle . . . was stolen is recent or remote" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 4-103(a)(1).)
Subsection (b) further provides:
Although defendant's opening brief presents arguments which reach to the constitutionality of both subsections above, we need not address the merits of defendant's contentions with respect to subsection (b) because identical challenges have recently been rejected by our supreme court in People v. Bryant (1989), 128 Ill. 2d 448, 539 N.E.2d 1221. In Bryant, the supreme court held section 4 -- 103(b) did not violate due process guarantees either because it punished possessors of stolen motor vehicles more severely than organized motor vehicle thieves or because it provided for a more severe punishment than theft. Bryant, 128 Ill. 2d at 455-56, 458, 539 N.E.2d at 1224-25, 1226.
Defendant first argues, with respect to subsection (a), that the statute violates due process guarantees because it is not reasonably related to the legitimate purpose of preventing vehicle theft or "chop shop" operations, the acknowledged purpose of the section. Specifically, Gentry argues the section punishes every possessor of a stolen motor vehicle who has knowledge the vehicle was stolen without regard to when that knowledge was acquired or how ...