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03/04/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. VERNON EDWARDS

March 4, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
VERNON EDWARDS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. THE HONORABLE RICHARD NEVILLE JUDGE PRESIDING

Gordon, Murray, McNULTY

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon

JUSTICE GORDON delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Vernon Edwards, was convicted of one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of armed robbery. Pursuant to section 5-8-4(a) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 1005-8-4(a)), the trial court sentenced defendant to concurrent 10-year terms on the armed robbery counts and imposed a 10-year sentence on the aggravated criminal sexual assault charge which was to run consecutive to the sentences for armed robbery. On appeal, defendant challenges only the consecutive nature of his sentence on the aggravated criminal sexual assault conviction. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate the trial court's imposition of a consecutive sentence and remand this case for resentencing.

FACTS

On May 30, 1990, the complainant, P.S., and her boyfriend, Jay Hicks, were talking in a car parked in Douglas Park. As they were talking, the passenger side window of the car was shattered by a man holding a silver gun, later identified as Derrick Stokes. Another man, later determined to be defendant Vernon Edwards, was standing at the driver's side door of the car holding a black gun.

Defendant pointed the gun at Hicks' head and ordered him to lie face down. Stokes took two leather jackets from the back seat of the car and asked complainant if she had any gold. After feeling her fingers and neck for jewelry, Stokes reached into complainant's blouse and placed his hands up her skirt. Stokes then told complainant to come with him and they walked away from the car. Stokes told complainant to lie down, removed her clothes, and then raped her.

While Stokes and complainant were together, defendant took the car keys, opened the trunk, and rummaged through it. Defendant then closed the trunk, told Hicks not to move, threw the car keys down and left.

After leaving Hicks, defendant came over and told Stokes that he was ready to go. Defendant then said, "wait, I want a blow job." He then forced complainant to perform non-consensual oral sex after which he had non-consensual sexual intercourse with her.

After a few minutes, Hicks retrieved the keys, started the car and began to look for complainant. He drove the car towards an individual standing on top of a hill, thinking that that person was complainant. He exited the car and approached the individual. When he got closer, he realized that that person was defendant, not complainant. Defendant then forced Hicks to accompany him at gun point to the spot where the complainant and Stokes were. Stokes walked up to Hicks and ordered him to lie face down on the ground. Defendant held Hicks there at gunpoint. At this point, Stokes returned to complainant and forced her to perform oral sex. Apparently, he then raped complainant again, although the record is somewhat unclear on this point. After forcing complainant and Hicks into a nearby lagoon, the assailants fled. During the course of the robbery, the assailants took complainant's purse, two leather coats, Hicks' money and a leather dress and skirt of complainant's from the car trunk.

On July 7, 1990, defendant was arrested, and during police questioning on that date, confessed to the May 30, 1990, aggravated criminal sexual assault and robbery. Defendant gave further details of those crimes when he was questioned by the police on July 9, 1990. In these statements he admitted robbing the victims and having non-consensual intercourse with complainant.

After a jury trial, defendant was subsequently convicted of the armed robbery of complainant, the armed robbery of Hicks, and aggravated criminal sexual assault. At the sentencing hearing, the State argued that section 5-8-4(a) of the Unified Code of Corrections required the imposition of mandatory consecutive sentences because defendant was convicted of armed robbery, a Class X felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 18-2), and of aggravated criminal sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 12-14). The trial court accepted this argument stating,

"I think that the State's position is correct, that the legislature has decided that if someone commits a Class X felony and also in addition to a Class X felony commits a crime of aggravated criminal sexual assault, that I'm required to give them a consecutive sentence, and I assume that's for the protection of the public, and so it's clear that sexual acts are certainly to be treated with some hostility by the legislature and the courts."

The trial court proceeded to sentence defendant to 10 years for each armed robbery count to run concurrently. The trial court then sentenced defendant to 10 years on the aggravated criminal sexual assault charge to run consecutive to the ...


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