Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Champ

March 29, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ALEXANDER CHAMP, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'mara Frossard

UNPUBLISHED

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Lawrence P. Fox, Judge Presiding.

Defendant Alexander Champ was charged with first degree murder and, following a jury trial, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. Defendant does not contest his conviction for involuntary manslaughter. The sole issue raised by defendant in this appeal is whether he should have been sentenced as a juvenile under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 1996)) rather than as an adult under the Unified Code of Corrections (Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-1-1 et seq. (West 1996)).

As the result of a shooting that occurred on February 1, 1997, the grand jury returned an indictment charging defendant with first degree murder in that "he without justification shot and killed Michael Hall." The State and defendant stipulated that defendant was 16 years old at the time of the alleged murder. Following trial, the jury returned a verdict finding defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Before the sentencing hearing, the State did not request, and the trial court did not conduct, a hearing for the purpose of determining whether defendant should be sentenced as an adult under the criminal laws of the State. No agreement was made as to sentence. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced defendant as an adult under the Code to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. After the trial court imposed the sentence, defendant pleaded guilty to first degree murder in a separate, unrelated case and was sentenced to 50 years in prison to run consecutively to the 5-year sentence imposed in this case for involuntary manslaughter. Defendant does not challenge the 50-year sentence in this appeal, but only challenges whether he should have been sentenced as an adult on his conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

Defendant subsequently filed a motion to reconsider his five-year sentence which did not raise the issue presented in this appeal. The trial court summarily denied the motion. Defendant contends on appeal that the trial court did not comply with a specific provision of the Act which required the trial court to sentence him as a juvenile and that the sentence was therefore void.

The State contends that defendant's failure to raise this issue in a written post-sentencing motion waived his right to raise it on appeal. It is well settled, however, that a sentence which does not conform to a statutory requirement is void (People v. Arna, 168 Ill. 2d 107, 113 (1995)), and that a void sentence may be attacked at any time. People v. Brazee, 316 Ill. App. 3d 1230, 1234 (2000) (defendant's failure to argue in post-sentencing motion that trial court lacked statutory authority to sentence him as an adult did not waive his right to raise it on appeal). Accordingly, we find that defendant has not waived his claim that he should have been sentenced as a juvenile. We review defendant's appeal de novo because our resolution of it requires us to interpret statutory provisions of the Act. People v. Lewis, 325 Ill. App. 3d 435, 436-37 (2001).

Section 5-3 of the Act defines "delinquent minor" as "any minor who prior to his 17th birthday has violated or attempted to violate *** any federal or state law." 705 ILCS 405/5-3(1) (West 1996) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) (now, as amended, 705 ILCS 405/5-105(3) (West 2000)). Section 5-4(1) of the Act states that "[e]xcept as provided in this [s]section, no minor who was under 17 years of age at the time of the alleged offense may be prosecuted under the criminal laws of [Illinois]." 705 ILCS 405/5-4 (West 1996) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) (now, as amended, 705 ILCS 405/5-120 (West 2000)). Section 5-4(6)(a) provides that if a minor is charged with any one of several offenses, including first degree murder, and was at least 15 years old at the time of the alleged offense, he must be criminally prosecuted for that offense and all other charges arising out of it and may not qualify as a "delinquent minor." 705 ILCS 405/5-4(6)(a) (West 1996) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) (now, as amended, 705 ILCS 405/5-130(1)(a) (West 2000)).

Section 5-4(6)(c)(i) provides how a minor should be sentenced following conviction for an offense listed in section 5-4(6)(a). 705 ILCS 405/5-4(6)(c)(i) (West 1996) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) (now, as amended, 705 ILCS 405/5-130(1)(c)(i) (West 2000)). Section 5-4(6)(c)(i) states that if the minor is convicted of any offense listed in section 5-4(6)(a) including first degree murder, then he shall be sentenced as an adult.

Section 5-4(6)(c)(ii) directs how a minor should be sentenced following conviction for an offense not listed in 5-4(6)(a) and states in relevant part:

"If *** the minor is only convicted of an offense not covered by paragraph (a) of this subsection (6), the conviction shall not invalidate the verdict or the prosecution of the minor under the criminal laws of the State; however, unless the State requests a hearing for the purpose of sentencing the minor under Chapter V of the Unified Code of Corrections, the Court must proceed under Sections 5-22 and 5-23 of this Act. Should the State request a hearing it must do so by written motion within 10 days following the entry of a finding or the return of a verdict. *** If the motion is made by the State, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine if the request should be granted." 705 ILCS 405/5-4(6)(c)(ii) (West 1996) (repealed by Pub. Act 90-590, eff. January 1, 1999) (now, as amended, 705 ILCS 405/5-130(1)(c)(ii) (West 2000).

Section 5-4(6)(c)(ii) further provides that in determining how to rule on the request by the State to sentence the minor as an adult, the trial court "shall" consider several factors at the hearing, including: (1) whether the evidence showed that the offense was committed in an aggressive and premeditated manner; (2) the minor's age; (3) the minor's previous history; (4) the availability of facilities to the juvenile court or the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, for the minor's treatment and rehabilitation; (5) whether the best interest of the public and the minor require him to be sentenced as an adult; and (6) whether the minor possessed a deadly weapon when he committed the offense. Defendant concedes he was properly charged and prosecuted on first degree murder as an adult. However, he contends that the trial court should have sentenced him as a juvenile, not as an adult, because he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Section 5-4(6)(a) provides for criminal prosecution when a minor is charged with first degree murder; however, involuntary manslaughter is not an offense covered by section 5-4(6)(a). Defendant contends that because he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, an offense not covered by section 5-4(6)(a), the trial court was required under section 5-4(6)(c)(ii) to sentence him as a juvenile unless the State within 10 days of the verdict requested he be sentenced as an adult. Defendant argues that the State's failure to request a hearing and the court's failure to conduct a hearing under section 5-4(6)(c)(ii) to determine whether he should be sentenced as an adult require that his five-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter be vacated and his case remanded for resentencing under the Act to time served.

The State concedes that "a [minor] defendant convicted of involuntary manslaughter would ordinarily not be subject to adult sentencing unless the State filed a motion." The State contends, however, that section 5-4(6)(a) excluded defendant from the Act's jurisdiction and required the trial court to sentence him as an adult because he was charged with murder in a separate, unrelated case at the time his sentence was imposed on the involuntary manslaughter conviction in this case. In support of this interpretation of section 5-4(6)(a), the State argues "[n]othing in the Juvenile Court Act limits the exclusion to the charges filed in the instant case" and that the intent of the legislature was to protect society from those juveniles charged with murder by making them ineligible for sentencing as a juvenile.

When construing a statute, our primary goal is to determine and give effect to the intent of the legislature. People v. Savory, 197 Ill. 2d 203, 212 (2001). The best indicator of legislative intent is the language used by the legislature, and accordingly, we begin our inquiry by reviewing the statutory text. Savory, 197 Ill. 2d at 212-13. "The statutory language must be given its plain and ordinary meaning, and when the terms used by the legislature are clear and unambiguous, it is not necessary to resort to other aids of construction." Savory, 197 Ill. 2d at 213.

The language in the applicable provisions of section 5-4 is clear and unambiguous, and therefore we need look no further to determine whether defendant was properly sentenced as an adult. Contrary to the State's contention, section 5-4(6)(a) of the Act does not require that a minor be sentenced as an adult if, at the time of his sentencing, a murder charge is pending against him in a separate, unrelated case. In fact, section 5-4(6)(a) does not address the issue of sentencing. Rather, it addresses the circumstances under which a minor should be criminally prosecuted as an adult. Specifically, the section states that if a minor is charged with any one of several offenses, including murder, and he was at least 15 years old at the time of the alleged offense, he must be criminally prosecuted as an adult for the charged offense and for all other charges arising out ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.