Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois No. 06-CF-186 Honorable Larry S. Vandersnick, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Carter
After a jury trial, defendant, Catrelle L. Reed, was convicted of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2), 407(b)(1) (West 2004)) and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment.*fn1 Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence and argues that: (1) the trial judge committed reversible error by allowing voir dire to proceed without a court reporter present; (2) this case must be remanded for new post-sentencing motions because the trial judge failed to properly admonish defendant about the need to file a post-sentencing motion to preserve alleged sentencing errors for appellate review; (3) the trial judge committed an abuse of discretion in sentencing by placing significant weight on an improper factor; (4) defendant's street value fine and Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund assessment must be vacated, and (5) a credit of $835 must be applied to defendant's mandatory drug assessment fee to reflect a $5 per day credit for the time he spent in pre-sentence custody. We affirm defendant's conviction and sentence; vacate the street value fine and Violent Crime Victims Fund assessment; find that defendant is entitled to $835 credit against his mandatory drug assessment fee; and remand this case to the trial court with directions to amend the defendant's sentencing order accordingly.
In May of 2006, defendant was arrested and charged with unlawful delivery of more than 1 gram, but less than 15 grams, of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school and certain other related offenses. Defendant was unable to post bond and remained in custody throughout the entire proceedings, a total of 167 days.
Defendant's case proceeded to a jury trial. At the start of the jury selection process, upon being asked by the trial judge, defense counsel waived the presence of a court reporter for voir dire. After 11 jurors were selected, the trial judge informed the parties that there were no prospective jurors left. The parties agreed to continue selection using employees of the courthouse. Defendant personally was given an opportunity to object to the use of courthouse employees and stated that it was alright. The jury selection was subsequently completed.
The evidence presented at trial showed that in February of 2006, defendant, in a controlled transaction, sold 2 grams of cocaine to a police informant for $120 at a location that was about 90 feet from a school. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury found defendant guilty.
The matter proceeded to sentencing on this case and resentencing on other cases that defendant had pending, including a battery, an aggravated battery, and two charges of domestic battery. A presentence investigation report (PSI) was prepared. Of relevance to this appeal, the PSI indicated that the victim of one of the domestic batteries, Jeanny Ibarra, is the mother of defendant's three-year-old son. Ibarra told probation that defendant has not struck her since he completed the domestic violence program. Ibarra expressed her desire that defendant receive a lenient sentence so that her son could have a father. The PSI indicated that defendant has had an off and on relationship with Ibarra for the past six years. Defendant told probation that Ibarra is "his son's mother" and "his main girl" and that "he loves her to death." Defendant also told probation, however, that another woman is pregnant with his child and is expected to give birth to his son. Attached to the PSI was a written statement from defendant asking the trial judge to give him the minimum sentence and stating that he hoped to come out of prison a married man, prepared to work, and ready to take care of his family.
At the sentencing hearing, in determining the appropriate length of imprisonment to impose upon defendant, the trial judge made the following comments:
"Six to 30 is essentially what you're facing. Would six be enough? Thirty too much? Most people that commit murders don't get 30 years, and some don't even get 20. But you've been around. You're only 21. It seems like you've been around a long time before this Court. Some of these things are pretty petty when it comes down to it. I mean, you have two or three different girlfriends. You're hot or cold with them. They are either victims or witnesses, and then all of a sudden they're on your side and then they're not on your side. You play these girls like they're toys. And I think that, you know, you--you think that you own the world. You have never really been employed. I think maybe once for four or five months. You don't have a GED. From everything it looks here, you sell drugs. That's how you support yourself. It's a shame. You got little children that you fathered, and if you cared anything about them, first you would support them, but you don't. Public Aid supports them. So you haven't done much with your life.
You know, the Court--it probably sound like a broken record, but there's two things I look at. One is rehabilitation, can I rehabilitate Cantrelle Reed with the sentence. The other one is punishment. And by punishment, sometimes at least I keep you off the streets so you can't sell drugs again; you can't hurt people that supposedly love you.
So that's my predicament. Is six not enough? Is 30 too much? Only--only you would know. You've never been to prison before. It's not going to be a happy trip for you. You'll find out that there's people bigger and worse and badder than you. Right now you think you're king, and believe me, when you get back there, you won't be king."
The trial judge subsequently sentenced defendant to 12 years' imprisonment and ordered defendant to pay, among other things, a $3,000 mandatory drug assessment fee, a $200 street value fine, and a certain monetary assessment for the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the trial judge admonished defendant that he had a right to an appeal ...