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People v. Williams

April 09, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 97-CF-2854 Honorable Barbara C. Gilleran-Johnson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Geiger

Released for publication May 1, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TIMOTHY WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 97-CF-2854 Honorable Barbara C. Gilleran-Johnson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Geiger

PUBLISHED

 The defendant, Timothy Williams, appeals from the June 12, 2000, order of the circuit court of Lake County denying his motion to reconsider sentence or to withdraw his plea of guilty. The defendant was sentenced to 39 years' imprisonment following a partially negotiated plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8--4(a), 9--1(a)(1) (West 1996)). On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) his plea was not made voluntarily because he did not realize that he could receive a sentence in excess of 30 years' imprisonment; (2) his extended-term sentence was improper under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000); and (3) he is entitled to an additional day of credit against his sentence.

On November 5, 1997, the defendant was charged by indictment with one count of attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8--4(a), 9--1(a)(1) (West 1996)), three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--14(a)(2) (West 1996)), one count of aggravated kidnaping (720 ILCS 5/10--2(a)(3) (West 1996)), five counts of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--13(a)(1) (West 1996)), five counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12--4(a) (West 1996)), and two counts of unlawful restraint (720 ILCS 5/10--3(a) (West 1996)). The indictment alleged that, between July 1, 1997, and October 21, 1997, the defendant confined the victim, Juanita Meneses, against her will by tying her up with clothes and string. During this time, the defendant hit the victim with a hammer and cut her face with a knife. The indictment further alleged that the defendant performed numerous sexual acts upon the victim, including inserting a broomstick and a bottle into the victim's vagina. The defendant also allegedly tried to kill the victim by placing a plastic bag over her face.

On April 21, 1998, after the defendant indicated that he was interested in entering a plea agreement, the trial court conducted a conference pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 402 (177 Ill. 2d R. 402). After the conference, the trial court stated for the record that the defendant could be sentenced to 120 years' imprisonment if convicted of the most serious offenses charged in the indictment. The trial court explained that the evidence in aggravation was substantial. The trial court noted that the victim had suffered permanent scarring to her face and vaginal injuries. The trial court further noted that the State had made an "extremely fair" offer that would allow the defendant to plead guilty to attempted first-degree murder. The trial court noted that this felony had a sentencing range of 6 to 30 years' imprisonment. The trial court informed the defendant that, based on the representations as to the evidence in aggravation and on the photographs it had been shown, it would have to sentence the defendant to the maximum term or to a term near the maximum. After the defendant requested time to consider the State's offer, the State indicated that it would keep its offer open until the next scheduled court date. On May 4, 1998, the State informed the trial court, in the defendant's presence and after he had failed to accept the offer, that it was withdrawing the plea offer it had made to the defendant.

On June 9, 1998, the trial court granted the defendant's motion that he be given a mental examination to determine his fitness to stand trial. Two psychologists subsequently examined the defendant. Dr. John Dunne examined the defendant on behalf of the trial court, and Dr. Michael Gelbort examined the defendant on behalf of the defense. Dr. Dunne concluded in his report that the defendant was fit to stand trial or to plead guilty. Dr. Dunne explained that, at the time he examined the defendant, the defendant showed no evidence of psychosis or of having experienced any auditory hallucinations or delusional thinking. Dr. Dunne also noted that the defendant attempted to feign mental illness during the examination.

Conversely, Dr. Gelbort concluded in his report that the defendant was suffering from psychosis and was not fit to stand trial. Dr. Gelbort found that the defendant would lose contact with reality at times and then display internal disorganization and confusion. The defendant was also functioning at the level of a mentally retarded person. Dr. Gelbort also acknowledged, however, that there was a "likelihood" or a "possibility" that the defendant was feigning mental illness. Dr. Gelbort's report indicated that the results of the defendant's cognitive and personality tests could be explained either by a psychosis or a crude attempt to manipulate the test results. His report indicated the defendant's responses to some of the questions had an odd or staged quality that are not inconsistent with those seen when a person is simulating psychopathology. Dr. Gelbort's report concluded that either schizophrenia or the defendant's feigning mental illness could be the cause of the defendant's condition.

On December 7 and 14, 1998, the trial court conducted a fitness hearing. The testimony of both Dr. Dunne and Dr. Gelbort was consistent with their respective reports. At the close of the hearing, the trial court found that the defendant was fit to stand trial. The trial court explained that it found the defendant to be understandable in court, although at times he would display racing thoughts and pressured speech. The trial court also expressly found that the defendant was very intelligent. The trial court noted that the defendant appeared to know exactly what he wanted, evidenced by the fact that he would often try to speak on behalf of his attorney.

On January 12, 1999, defense counsel informed the trial court that it had been negotiating an agreement with the State for the defendant to enter a plea of guilty. The State informed the trial court that its offer would remain open until January 15, 1999. Neither the State nor defense counsel presented any details of the negotiated plea agreement to the trial court on this date.

On January 15, 1999, the State informed the trial court that it had negotiated a plea agreement with the defendant. Under the agreement, the defendant would enter a plea pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 27 L. Ed. 2d 162, 91 S. Ct. 160 (1970), to one count of attempted first-degree murder. In exchange for his plea, the State agreed to nol-pros the other 16 charges in the indictment against the defendant. Before accepting the defendant's plea, the trial court admonished the defendant that he was not eligible for probation. The trial court also informed the defendant that the sentencing range for attempted murder was 6 to 30 years' imprisonment. However, the trial court further informed the defendant that, if certain aggravating factors were present, the defendant could be sentenced to an extended term of between 30 years' and 60 years' imprisonment. The defendant responded that he understood the penalties he could receive for pleading guilty. The defendant also stated that no promises had been made ...


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