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People v. Ladd

February 19, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
LEROY LADD, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Miller

Agenda 8-November 1998.

The defendant, Leroy Ladd, was convicted of armed violence and aggravated battery after a jury trial in the circuit court of St. Clair County. The trial Judge sentenced the defendant to concurrent sentences of 12 years' imprisonment on the armed violence conviction and 4 years' imprisonment on the aggravated battery conviction. The appellate court reversed the defendant's convictions, concluding that the defendant had been denied his statutory right to a speedy trial. 294 Ill. App. 3d 928. We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal (166 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)), and we now affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

The following chronology is relevant to this appeal. The defendant was taken into custody on April 9, 1995, and he continuously remained in custody through the time of trial. Defense counsel moved to dismiss the charges against the defendant on June 26, 1995. The defendant filed a pro se motion seeking the same relief the next day. Both motions alleged that the defendant was in custody for more than 30 days before a grand jury indicted him, in violation of section 109-3.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/109-3.1 (West 1996)). At a status appearance on June 29, a hearing on the motions was scheduled for July 12, 1995. Nothing occurred on that date, however, and the motions were not disposed of until October 16, 1995, when the court denied them.

While the dismissal motions were pending, the defendant filed, on August 14, 1995, a pro se motion seeking his discharge under the speedy-trial statute, section 103-5(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/103-5(a) (West 1996)). Defense counsel filed a similar motion for discharge a day later, on August 15. The motions alleged that the defendant had by then been in custody for more than 120 days, in violation of the speedy-trial statute. The Judge heard arguments on the motions on August 15, and the Judge allowed the defense until August 25 to present additional authority in support of the defendant's position. The Judge denied the speedy-trial motions on September 15, 1995. In a written order, the Judge explained that the motions to dismiss filed by the defense in June tolled the speedy-trial clock and that the period would remain suspended until the motions were eventually disposed of. As we have noted, the Judge denied the motions to dismiss the charges on October 16, 1995. The defendant's trial began the next day, on October 17. A jury found the defendant guilty of armed violence and aggravated battery but not guilty of attempted murder. The defendant received concurrent sentences of 12 years' and 4 years' imprisonment for the two convictions.

The defendant appealed, and the appellate court concluded that the defendant's speedy-trial rights had been violated. 294 Ill. App. 3d 928. The appellate court disagreed with the trial Judge's Conclusion that the speedy-trial clock remained tolled while the defendant's dismissal motions were pending. The appellate court believed that the speedy-trial period resumed running after the July 12 hearing date, even though the motions remained unresolved at that time. The appellate court also determined that the defendant's motions for discharge under the speedy-trial statute, though they were premature when they were filed, ripened into meritorious ones while the trial Judge had them under advisement. The appellate court therefore held that the defendant was entitled to discharge on speedy-trial grounds. We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal (166 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)), and we now affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

The present appeal involves two questions regarding the defendant's pretrial custody and the calculation of time preceding trial. First, we must determine the amount of the delay attributable to the defendant for the defense motions to dismiss the charges. If we conclude that the defendant is not chargeable with the entire period preceding their eventual denial, we must then determine whether the defendant's motions for discharge under the speedy-trial statute, which were premature when they were filed, could ripen into meritorious motions while they were under advisement by the trial Judge.

A defendant possesses both statutory (725 ILCS 5/103-5 (West 1996)) and constitutional (U.S. Const., amend. VI; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §8) rights to a speedy trial. These rights are not necessarily coextensive. People v. Garrett, 136 Ill. 2d 318, 323 (1990); People v. Jones, 104 Ill. 2d 268, 286 (1984). The statute receives a liberal construction, designed to effectuate its purpose, though each case must be decided on its own facts. People v. Beyah, 67 Ill. 2d 423, 427 (1977); People v. Fosdick, 36 Ill. 2d 524, 528-29 (1967).

Section 103-5(a) provides:

"Every person in custody in this State for an alleged offense shall be tried by the court having jurisdiction within 120 days from the date he was taken into custody unless delay is occasioned by the defendant ***." 725 ILCS 5/103-5(a) (West 1996).

The appropriate remedy for a violation of the speedy-trial provision of section 103-5(a) is dismissal of the charges. Section 103-5(d) provides:

"Every person not tried in accordance with subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this Section shall be discharged from custody or released from the obligations of his bail or recognizance." 725 ILCS 5/103-5(d) (West 1996).

The speedy-trial statute does not specify how time is to be calculated. Section 1.11 of the Statute on Statutes, however, provides, "The time within which any act provided by law is to be done shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last ***." 5 ILCS 70/1.11 (West 1996). Applying section 1.11, the appellate court has excluded the first day and included the last day of any relevant period for purposes of calculating time periods under the speedy-trial act. See People v. Grant, 104 Ill. App. 3d 183, 188 (1982); People v. Solheim, 54 Ill. App. 3d 379, 386 (1977); People v. Walton, 110 Ill. App. 2d 115, 118 (1969). We have consistently employed the same method in the past (see, e.g., People v. Kliner, No. 81314 (December 3, 1998)), and do so here.

We must first determine how much, if any, delay is attributable to the defendant's motions to dismiss the charges, filed June 26 and 27, 1995.

The State contends that the entire period from June 26, when the first one was filed, to October 16, when the motions were denied, must be charged to the defendant. A defendant is generally charged with delay caused by defense motions, and the defendant is responsible for calling up defense motions for hearing and Disposition. People v. Jones, 104 Ill. 2d 268, 278-79 (1984); People v. Terry, 61 Ill. 2d 593, 595-96 (1975). We agree with the appellate court, however, that the general rule attributing delay to the defense is not applicable here. In the present case, apparently no one appeared at the July 12, 1995, setting for the defendant's dismissal motions. There is no explanation in the record for the inaction on that date, though a later hearing sheds some light on the matter. The ...


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