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People v. M.I.D.

August 7, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
M.I.D., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Fulton County, Illinois No. 98-CF-114 Honorable Steven R. Bordner, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Homer.

PUBLISHED

As amended September 7, 2001

Pursuant to a partial plea agreement, defendant M.I.D. pled guilty to unlawful possession with intent to deliver between 15 and 100 grams of a controlled substance (cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 1998)). The court imposed a 12-year prison sentence and ordered defendant to pay a $500 reimbursement fee for the services of the public defender. Defendant appeals her sentence. Following our careful review of the record, we affirm in part and remand the cause for further proceedings.

FACTS

Defendant was originally charged with Class X unlawful possession of cocaine, Class 1 felony possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, and Class A misdemeanor possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. She negotiated an agreement whereby she would plead guilty to the Class X offense in exchange for the State's dismissal of related charges. At the guilty plea hearing, the court admonished defendant that she faced a penalty of 6 to 30 years' imprisonment. After the State presented a factual basis, the court determined that defendant's plea was voluntary and imposed conviction for unlawful possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

At the sentencing hearing, the State established that the police recovered 56 grams of cocaine and 5 grams of cannabis during their search of defendant's motel room on June 1, 1998. In a statement to the police, defendant said that she had purchased two ounces of cocaine in Peoria for $2,000. She said she had been dealing in crack cocaine in Canton for several months, selling four to six ounces per week. Following her arrest, defendant cooperated with the police in the arrest of her supplier. As a consequence of that arrest, the police obtained the supplier's cooperation and arrested his supplier.

Testifying on her own behalf, defendant stated that prior to 1995 she reared two children as a single parent, held five jobs at the same time and put herself through college, maintaining an "A" average. Then, in 1994, she contracted varicella zoster, a chronic form of chicken pox. In 1995, defendant's elder son was killed in a work-related accident. After that, defendant said, she lost her job, her house and her dog. She used cocaine daily, spending $1,500 per week to support the habit. To pay for the cocaine, defendant purchased drugs and became a major supplier of drugs in the Canton area. Defendant denied, however, that she profited from the sale of drugs.

After her arrest, defendant said, she placed her life in peril by assisting the police. Defendant said she stopped using drugs on the date of her arrest, but she admitted using cannabis. She also admitted that she was on probation for a 1995 conviction for unlawful possession of cocaine at the time of her arrest.

Defendant's presentence investigative report disclosed numerous misdemeanors and traffic convictions, in addition to the 1995 felony conviction. Before pronouncing sentence, the court noted several statutory factors in aggravation, including: (1) that defendant received compensation for the offense; (2) that she had a history of criminality; (3) a substantial sentence was necessary to deter others; and (4) defendant was on probation at the time of the offense. The court did not find any statutory factors in mitigation. Accordingly, the court sentenced defendant to 12 years' imprisonment and imposed mandatory fines and costs.

The court then asked defense counsel and the prosecutor whether they wished to set a hearing with respect to court-appointed counsel fees or address the matter instanter. Defense counsel responded by indicating that he had spent 15 hours on the case. The court then asked whether there was any objection to it then fixing the amount of reimbursement for court-appointed counsel. Both defense counsel and the prosecutor indicated that they did not object. Without further evidence, the court entered a $500 reimbursement order.

Defendant filed a post-sentencing motion to reconsider sentence, which was heard and denied, except to grant monetary credit for defendant's presentence incarceration.

ISSUES AND ANALYSIS

On appeal, defendant initially contends that her sentence was an abuse of discretion. She argues that the trial court improperly considered receipt of compensation as a factor in aggravation and that the court minimized significant ...


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