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People v. Lucas

March 21, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DONALD LUCAS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Stuart E. Palmer, Judge Presiding.

Once again we are called on to determine the authority of a trial judge to impose lengthy prison sentences.

The defendant, Donald Lucas, was charged with committing a vicious sexual assault on a female victim. There was a bench trial. The judge found the defendant guilty of attempt first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated kidnapping. The trial court, using extended term and consecutive sentence statutes, sentenced the defendant to a total of 120 years.

On appeal, the defendant relies on Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000). He contends the statutes authorizing the trial court to impose extended term and consecutive sentences are unconstitutional. See 730 ILCS 5/5-5- 3.2(b)(2) (West 1998), and 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(a) (West 1998).

We conclude Apprendi requires us to vacate the extended term sentences, but we do not believe Apprendi's grasp reaches consecutive sentences.

FACTS

While the issues on appeal relate only to sentencing, the factual setting of this case sheds light on the trial court's decision to impose extended term and consecutive sentences.

On June 27, 1998, the victim was at the corner of 22nd and State streets in Chicago, trying to buy drugs from the defendant. She told the defendant she had only four or five dollars. The defendant said if she gave him the money, he would let her smoke drugs with him. She agreed, and they walked to a secluded wooded area at 22nd and Wabash.

When they reached the wooded area, the defendant grabbed the victim by her throat and started choking her. She tried to fight back, but he started punching her face. The defendant punched her in the face several times, causing her to fall to the ground unconscious.

When the victim regained consciousness, she was lying on the ground, her bare back on broken glass. The defendant had removed all of her clothes and was on top of her. While the defendant was sexually assaulting her, he called her "black bitch" and told her to "be still." The defendant told her he was going to kill her.

The victim was unable to move. The defendant, realizing his victim was conscious, continued to punch her in the face, beating her unconscious again. When the victim regained consciousness, the defendant was still on top of her, sexually assaulting her. Seeing the victim awake, the defendant punched her in the face again, causing her to lose consciousness again.

The victim then awoke to a very sharp pain in her vagina. At the time, the defendant was still on top of her. She passed out for a moment and awoke again to the very sharp pain. She did not know what caused the sharp pain, but this time she saw the defendant standing between her legs pushing something into her vagina.

While the defendant stood above her, pushing an object into her vagina, he said "be still, you bitch." The victim, unable to move, passed out again. When she awoke, the defendant was gone, but she could not move. She could feel something was still inside her vagina.

Evidence at trial showed the defendant used a tree limb, approximately 30 inches long and approximately 2 inches in diameter, to impale the victim's vagina. She suffered multiple blunt head trauma, conjunctival hemorrhages, an open wound to her vagina, and laceration to her iliac vein -- the second largest vein in the body.

The parties stipulated that if Doctor John Barrett were called to testify, he would have testified he was one of the emergency room doctors who treated the victim on June 27, 1998. According to Doctor Barrett, in the 24 years he worked in the emergency room of Cook County Hospital, the defendant's attack on the victim was ...


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