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People v. Wilson

March 27, 1998


Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 96CF174 Honorable Jerry L. Patton, judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann


In September 1996, defendant, LaShawn R. Wilson, pleaded guilty to first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West Supp. 1995)). The trial court admonished defendant pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 402 (134 Ill. 2d R. 402), entered Judgement on the plea, and then sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Defendant later filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and in January 1997, the court denied that motion.

Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) refusing to accept his stated wish to reinstate his plea of not guilty at the Conclusion of the guilty plea hearing, which the court reconvened three days after defendant initially pleaded guilty; (2) denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea; and (3) applying the truth-in-sentencing provisions of section 3-6-3 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Code) (730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 (West 1994)), as amended by Public Act 89-404 (Pub. Act 89-404, §40, eff. August 20, 1995 (1995 Ill. Laws 4306, 4323-27)), to his sentence. Defendant also argues this court must remand to the trial court because counsel's certificate violated Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (145 Ill. 2d R. 604(d)). We affirm and remand with directions.


In February 1996, the State charged defendant with five counts of first degree murder. At a hearing held September 10, 1996, defendant tendered a plea of guilty to one count in exchange for the State's agreement to dismiss the accompanying counts and recommend no more than 40 years' imprisonment.

At the hearing, the trial court admonished defendant regarding the possibility of a consecutive sentence as follows:

"THE COURT: If that is correct [that defendant was convicted of armed robbery in 1992 and subsequently released on parole], any sentence that would be imposed at this time would have to be consecutive to that sentence which was imposed in 1992.

Do you understand what the word `consecutive' means?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes. I understand that it means. By itself.

THE COURT: Right. You would have to complete any sentence on that case and then this sentence would run after that case. `Consecutive' means here is one sentence, and that has to be served, and then this one has to be served after that one.

So if they have a parole violation and they take you back on the parole violation and give you like an additional 'X' period of time, you would have to serve that before this starts to run.

THE DEFENDANT: I don't understand that.

THE COURT: Well[,] what don't you understand?

THE DEFENDANT: I am saying you say 'consecutive' if my parole is violated.

THE COURT: If your parole is violated and they take you back and put you in the Department of Corrections to complete that term, this term won't start until that term is completed. That's mandatory. It has to be that way. It can't be any other way. That's the way the legislature has structured the law. I don't know what the Department of Corrections is going to do, but I have to apprise you that that is a possibility.

[STATE'S ATTORNEY:] That might be up to them, Your Honor. I am not sure it's mandatory for us to make it consecutive. It could be up to them.

THE COURT: It's mandatory for this Court to make it consecutive. If they violate him, we will have to make it consecutive. So knowing that, do you wish to go ahead and proceed with your plea of guilty?


After admonishing defendant, the trial court entered judgment on defendant's guilty plea and sentenced him to 40 years in prison. At the sentencing hearing, the State's Attorney asked whether the trial court would admonish defendant that he would be required to serve 100% of his sentence, pursuant to the truth-in-sentencing provisions of the Code (Pub. Act 89-404, §40, eff. August 20, 1995 (1995 Ill. Laws 4323-27) (amending 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 (West 1994))). Defense counsel stated that he had explained that to defendant, and the court stated as follows:

"THE COURT: There is an aspect in the which indicates that the Court should admonish--It's basically for the public. It's not for the efendant. It doesn't have any impact on the efendant. It is to inform the public if they have any question on the amount of time."

Three days later (September 13, 1996), the trial court conducted a hearing at which the court informed defendant that he would not necessarily be required to complete any unsatisfied prior sentences before serving the sentence in the present case. The following colloquy occurred:

"THE COURT: , when you were here earlier, I think--I know I indicated to you that any sentence the ourt would have to impose was a mandatory consecutive sentence to the case in which you were on parole on at this particular time. I've done a little bit of research. That is not the case. That could be discretionary within the option of the ourt.

Do you understand that?

DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

Knowing that, do you still wish to leave stand your plea of guilty?


THE COURT: What do you wish to do?

DEFENDANT: I wish to vacate my plea of guilty, your honor.

THE COURT: Are we ready for trial? Can we reallot ...

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