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People v. Hill

May 23, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
CHAD HILL, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kilbride

UNPUBLISHED

Docket No. 91329-Agenda 11-January 2002.

In this case, we review the circuit court's finding that section 12-11(a)(3) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(3) (West Supp. 1999)), as amended by Public Act 91-404 (Pub. Act 91-404, §5, eff. January 1, 2000), violates the separation of powers clause and the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution. Section 12-11 of the Code contains one of the so-called "15/20/25-life" mandatory add-on sentences implemented by our legislature.

In March 2000, the State filed an information alleging that defendant, Chad Hill, committed the offense of home invasion while armed with a firearm in violation of section 12-11(a)(3). In October 2000, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the information, primarily arguing that section 12-11(a)(3) violates the Illinois Constitution's separation of powers clause (Ill. Const. 1970, art. II, §1) and the proportionate penalties clause (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §11).

In March 2001, the circuit court heard defendant's motion and verbally indicated that it would find the amended statute unconstitutional on both bases and that a written order would follow. In April 2001, the court granted defendant's motion and issued written findings. We reverse and remand.

I. ANALYSIS

This court has a duty to affirm a statute's constitutionality and validity if reasonably possible. People v. Lee, 167 Ill. 2d 140, 144 (1995). Legislative enactments, including those that impose criminal penalties, are entitled to a presumption of constitutionality. See People ex rel. Carey v. Bentivenga, 83 Ill. 2d 537, 542 (1981). A party challenging a statute bears the burden of proving its invalidity. Lee, 167 Ill. 2d at 144. A circuit court's finding that a statute is unconstitutional is reviewed de novo. See People v. Malchow, 193 Ill. 2d 413, 418 (2000).

The applicable version of section 12-11 of the Code, as amended by Public Act 91-404, establishes the crime of home invasion in pertinent part as follows:

"(a) A person who is not a peace officer acting in the line of duty commits home invasion when without authority he or she knowingly enters the dwelling place of another when he or she knows or has reason to know that one or more persons is present or he or she knowingly enters the dwelling place of another and remains in such dwelling place until he or she knows or has reason to know that one or more persons is present and

(1) While armed with a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, uses force or threatens the imminent use of force upon any person or persons within such dwelling place whether or not injury occurs, or

(2) Intentionally causes any injury, except as provided in subsection (a)(5), to any person or persons within such dwelling place, or

(3) While armed with a firearm uses force or threatens the imminent use of force upon any person or persons within such dwelling place whether or not injury occurs, or

(4) Uses force or threatens the imminent use of force upon any person or persons within such dwelling place whether or not injury occurs and during the commission of the offense personally discharges a firearm, or

(5) Personally discharges a firearm that proximately causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to another person within such dwelling place.

***

(c) Sentence. Home invasion in violation of subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) is a Class X felony. A violation of subsection (a)(3) is a Class X felony for which 15 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court. A violation of subsection (a)(4) is a Class X felony for which 20 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court. A violation of subsection (a)(5) is a Class X felony for which 25 years or up to a term of natural life shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court." 720 ILCS 5/12-11 (West Supp. 1999). *fn1

Defendant attacks section 12-11(a)(3)'s validity on two general bases. First, defendant points to article II, section 1, of the Illinois Constitution, commonly referred to as the separation of powers clause. This clause states that"[t]he legislative, executive and judicial branches are separate. No branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another." Ill. Const. 1970, art. II, §1. Defendant asserts that section 12-11(a)(3), by imposing mandatory add-on sentences, violates the separation of powers clause because it divests the circuit court of its discretionary power to consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

Second, defendant relies on article I, section 11, of the Illinois Constitution, commonly referred to as the proportionate penalties clause. This clause states in pertinent part that "[a]ll penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship." Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §11. Defendant contends that section 12-11's add-on sentencing scheme violates the proportionate penalties clause because it imposes a penalty that is cruel, degrading, and shocking to the moral conscience. Defendant further contends that section 12-11 is unconstitutional because it mandates a penalty more severe than that imposed for more serious crimes.

As a threshold matter, we note that defendant asks us to review section 12-11's add-on sentencing scheme in its entirety. Citing People v. Palkes, 52 Ill. 2d 472 (1972), defendant argues that section 12-11's unconstitutional infirmities are so pervasive as to render the entire statute invalid. We reject defendant's request. A defendant does not ordinarily have standing to challenge a statute as it might be applied to others in different circumstances. People v. Falbe, 189 Ill. 2d 635, 644 (2000). Defendant was charged under section 12-11(a)(3) (carrying a 15-year add-on sentence) and therefore defendant has no standing to challenge section 12-11(a)(4) (carrying a 20-year add-on sentence) and section 12-11(a)(5) (carrying a 25-year-to-life add-on sentence). *fn2 As we shall discuss, we find no infirmities present in section 12-11(a)(3) and we decline defendant's request that we search for a constitutional violation elsewhere. Thus, we only consider the constitutionality of section 12-11(a)(3).

A. Separation of Powers

Defendant first argues that section 12-11(a)(3) violates the separation of powers clause. Specifically, defendant argues that section 12-11(a)(3)'s mandatory add-on sentence of 15 years usurps the judiciary's sentencing power by removing its ability to consider aggravating and mitigating factors and to ...


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