The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Freeman
Docket No. 91359-Agenda 19-November 2001.
This case once again brings before this court a question involving the Supreme Court's decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000).
Defendant Kizzy Jackson was charged with the Class 3 felony of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4 (West 1996)) for attacking the victim, Rebecca Fanning, with a box cutter. Defendant pled guilty to the offense in exchange for the State's recommending a sentence within the normal range of imprisonment. After accepting defendant's plea, the court sentenced her to an extended term of 10 years' imprisonment. Defendant contends that this sentence violated her due process rights, based on the Supreme Court's decision in Apprendi. We disagree, and affirm.
In June 1997 the State charged defendant with aggravated battery by information. Specifically, the State alleged that on June 19, 1997, defendant caused great bodily harm to the victim, Rebecca Fanning, during the commission of a battery, by cutting the victim about the body. The information made no mention of the possibility of an extended sentence or of what might have to be proven for an extended sentence to be imposed.
Defendant initially entered a not-guilty plea. However, in October 1997 she pled guilty pursuant to an agreement with the State not to seek an extended-term penalty in her case.
Before accepting defendant's plea, the court elicited various facts from defendant and admonished her regarding the consequences of a guilty plea. Defendant told the court that she was 18 years old and had finished the tenth grade. She stated that she could read and write and understand English, and that although she had some learning difficulties, which had led to her placement in a special education program, she was not mentally or physically disabled.
The court informed defendant that she had been charged with aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, which normally carried a penalty of two to five years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections. However, the court also told defendant that she could be sentenced to an extended term of 5 to 10 years' imprisonment in various circumstances. The court specifically noted that one circumstance which might apply in defendant's case "would be a finding by the Court that this felony offense was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior, indicative of wanton cruelty." The court told her that if she pled guilty, the determination by the court whether the offense was subject to an extended term would be made at a sentencing hearing, at which both she and the State would be allowed to call witnesses. Defendant indicated that she understood. The court stated that it was
"explain[ing] all this to you [defendant] in some detail because the Court is not bound by this agreement. The Court may impose a sentence of imprisonment within the range of two to five years in the Department of Corrections. The Court may disregard the State's recommendation, high or low. I might place you on probation with various conditions. I might impose an extended term, if the evidence supports it."
Defendant again indicated her understanding.
The court went on to confirm that defendant understood the rights she was giving up by pleading guilty. The court informed defendant that she was
"[p]resumed to be innocent of this charge, aggravated battery. The burden is on the State to prove you guilty of aggravated battery beyond a reasonable doubt. And you don't lose that innocence until a jury of 12 finds, after a trial, that you're guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt or a judge in a bench trial makes that finding. Do you understand?
THE COURT: If you plead guilty you lose all these rights and there won't be any trial of any kind. Do you know what a jury trial is?
THE COURT: And let me point out to you, before you can be convicted in a jury trial of 12 people, all 12 people have to agree that that burden's been met by the State, proven you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And when you plead guilty to this offense, you give up all these rights and there won't be any trial. Do you give up the presumption of innocence?
THE COURT: Do you give up the burden of proof on the State to prove you guilty of aggravated battery beyond a reasonable doubt?
THE COURT: And do you give up your right to a trial of any kind?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir."
Defendant also indicated that she understood and was giving up her rights to the assistance of an attorney, of confrontation and cross-examination of witnesses against her, to subpoena witnesses in her favor, and ...