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People v. Little

March 20, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RODNEY LITTLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 00CF1558 Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Released for publication March 24, 2003.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RODNEY LITTLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 00CF1558 Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

PUBLISH

Defendant, Rodney Little, appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to reduce sentence following a guilty plea contending the proceedings surrounding the filing and hearing of the motion were pro forma only and, therefore, violated Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (188 Ill. 2d R. 604(d)). We reverse and remand with directions.

In February 2001, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a violation of section 12-14.1(a)(1) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/12-14.1(a)(1) (West 2000)). On or about August 30, 2000, defendant, who was over 17 years of age, committed an act of sexual penetration of T.D.D., who was under 13 years of age, by placing his penis in her anus. At the time this occurred, the victim's mother was picking up the victim's older sister at work. Defendant was the father of the victim's little sister and the victim had lived with defendant her entire life. She considered him to be a father to her, the only father she had ever known.

On April 6, 2001, the trial court sentenced defendant to 15 years' imprisonment for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. The court stated the sentence was necessary because the offense was incredibly serious, constituted a brutal act, and had a profound impact on both the victim and her family.

At the close of the sentencing hearing, defense counsel stated:

"Since we're all here, Your Honor, this may expedite it. As I'm required by statute before he can take an appeal to file a motion to reconsider under the statute, Your Honor, I'll file one Monday. I'm gonna be here, Your Honor, in this courtroom on April 25th at 10:45. This'll be a five-minute motion, Your Honor. It is a four-minute motion, only requiring that time. There'll be no argument."

The motion to reduce sentence was filed on April 9, 2001, and stated in its entirety:

"Comes now defendant by his attorney [(defense counsel)] and moves for a reduction of his sentence ...


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