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10/26/95 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. JAMES TUCKER

October 26, 1995

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES TUCKER, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Kankakee County, the Hon. Donald Gould, Judge, presiding.

The Honorable Justice Nickels delivered the opinion of the court:

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickels

JUSTICE NICKELS delivered the opinion of the court:

The issue presented in this appeal is whether section 5-8-4(c)(2) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(c)(2) (West 1992)) prohibits a trial court from imposing a consecutive sentence upon a defendant convicted of a Class X felony where that defendant is already subject to two consecutive maximum extended prison terms for Class X felonies arising from a different incident.

Defendant, James Tucker, was found guilty of residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-3 (West 1992)) following a bench trial in Kankakee County. The trial court sentenced defendant to a term of 30 years in the Department of Corrections, to be served consecutively to two previously imposed 60-year consecutive sentences. The previously imposed sentences arose from convictions in an unrelated home invasion that included an aggravated criminal sexual assault.

The appellate court affirmed defendant's conviction, but modified defendant's sentence to run concurrently with defendant's two previously imposed sentences. (263 Ill. App. 3d 895.) The appellate court determined that section 5-8-4(c)(2) of the Unified Code of Corrections prohibits the imposition of consecutive sentences that exceed the sum of the maximum extended terms authorized for the two most serious felonies involved. (See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-2, 5-8-4(c)(2) (West 1992).) The State appealed. (145 Ill. 2d R. 315(a).) We affirm the appellate court.

Background

Defendant was separately indicted on charges relating to two home invasions that occurred in Kankakee County on April 8, 1992, and April 10, 1992. Defendant was first convicted on charges of home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault arising from the April 10 incident. For these two Class X convictions, defendant was sentenced to two consecutive 60-year prison terms. Sixty years imprisonment is the maximum extended term authorized for a Class X felony. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-2(a)(2) (West 1992).

Defendant was subsequently tried on the charges arising from the April 8 incident. Defendant was convicted of residential burglary. For that conviction, the trial court imposed a sentence of 30 years' imprisonment. The trial court further ordered this sentence to be served consecutively to the previously imposed sentences arising from the April 10 incident.

Defendant appealed the 30-year sentence imposed for the residential burglary, arguing that it must be modified to run concurrently with the two previously imposed sentences. Specifically, defendant relied on section 5-8-4(c)(2), which provides:

"The aggregate of consecutive sentences shall not exceed the sum of the maximum terms authorized under Section 5-8-2 for the 2 most serious felonies involved." (730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(c)(2) (West 1992).)

Defendant argued that because he had been previously sentenced to two consecutive maximum extended Class X terms arising from his previous convictions, the most serious felonies involved, he could not be sentenced to a further consecutive Class X term for the residential burglary conviction.

The State argued that the limitation described in section 5-8-4(c)(2) did not apply to defendant. Relying on the First District cases of People v. Spires (1st Dist. 1989), 182 Ill. App. 3d 176, 130 Ill. Dec. 681, 537 N.E.2d 1010, and People v. Tipton (1st Dist. 1991), 222 Ill. App. 3d 657, 165 Ill. Dec. 131, 584 N.E.2d 310, the State argued that section 5-8-4(c)(2) did not apply where a defendant's consecutive sentences are imposed for separate offenses committed at different points in time. In both Spires and Tipton, the courts reasoned that applying section 5-8-4(c)(2) in such circumstances would lead to the anomalous result of allowing a person to commit additional crimes without being subject to further consecutive sentences.

In the instant case, the Appellate Court for the Third District rejected the reasoning of Spires and Tipton, finding that the plain language of section 5-8-4(c)(2) limited the consecutive sentences that can be imposed regardless of whether the offenses were committed at the same or different times. Thus, the appellate court modified defendant's ...


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