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People v. Ligons

November 08, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
GEORGE A. LIGONS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 99CF800 Honorable Jerry L. Patton, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steigmann

Ordered published January 2, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
GEORGE A. LIGONS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 99CF800 Honorable Jerry L. Patton, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steigmann

In June 1999, the State charged defendant, George A. Ligons, with the offense of theft of property having a value less than $300 with a prior retail theft conviction (720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(1)(A), (b)(2) (West 1998)). Following an August 1999 trial, a jury convicted him of theft. At defendant's September 1999 sentencing hearing, the trial court took judicial notice of defendant's prior retail theft conviction (Macon County case No. 99-CF-155), which enhanced defendant's theft conviction from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony, pursuant to section 16-1(b)(2) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Criminal Code) (720 ILCS 5/16-1(b)(2) (West 1998)). The court then sentenced him to an extended term of six years in prison, based on his prior felony convictions (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(b)(1) (West 1998)), and gave him credit for 106 days served in county jail.

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the enhancement provision set forth in section 16-1(b)(2) of the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/16-1(b)(2) (West 1998)) is unconstitutional pursuant to Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 455, 120 S. Ct. 2348, 2362-63 (2000); (2) the extended-term sentencing provision set forth in section 5-5-3.2(b)(1) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Unified Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(b)(1) (West 1998)) is unconstitutional pursuant to Apprendi, 530 U.S. at 490, 147 L. Ed. 2d at 455, 120 S. Ct. at 2362-63; and (3) he is entitled to one additional day of credit for time served. We affirm and remand with directions.

I. BACKGROUND

In June 1999, the State charged defendant with theft with a prior retail theft conviction, in that he "knowing exerted unauthorized control over property of Thomas C. Butts, Jr., being a mountain bike, having a total value less than $300.00, intending to deprive [Butts] permanently of the use of the property," having been previously convicted of retail theft in Macon County case No. 99-CF-155.

At defendant's August 1999 jury trial, Butts, a Decatur police officer, testified that in mid-May 1999, he purchased a Diamond Back mountain bike for $235. During the early morning hours of May 29, 1999, someone stole the bike from the front porch of Butts' home in Decatur. At around 2:30 p.m. the next day, Butts was on patrol when he saw a man (later identified as William Broadnax) riding a bike that looked very similar to his missing bike. Butts stopped Broadnax and determined that it was the stolen bike.

Broadnax testified that on the morning of May 30, 1999, his friend, Ronald Bond, told him that defendant had a bike for sale. Around 10 a.m. that day, Broadnax met with defendant at a house on King Street in Decatur and paid him $80 for the bike. After being stopped by Butts, Broadnax explained that he had bought the bike and then took Butts to the house on King Street.

Decatur police detective Joe Patton testified that on May 31, 1999, he interviewed defendant regarding the stolen bike. Defendant admitted that he sold a mountain bike for $80 to the friend of a person named Jimmy Jones. Defendant also told Patton that he bought the bike for $20 from a white male "crack head" whom he did not know and could not identify. He bought it either on a Friday or Saturday night in the area of College and Green Streets in Decatur. Patton then told defendant that based upon the circumstances of the purchase, in particular, the fact that defendant paid $20 for a new bike and bought it from a "crack head" in a drug area, he should have known that the bike was stolen. Defendant responded that he did not think about that and just wanted to buy the bike and resell it.

On this evidence, the jury convicted defendant, and the trial court sentenced him as ...


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