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The People of the State of Illinois v. Michael Williams

January 21, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS,
APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Garman

JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

We are presented with the narrow question of whether the day of a defendant's commitment to the Department of Corrections should be counted by the circuit court in its calculation of presentence credit or counted by the Department as the first day of sentence. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm and hold that the date of the mittimus is the first day of sentence and a defendant should therefore not be credited with that day as presentencing credit by the circuit court.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are not in dispute. Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant Michael Williams was convicted of being an armed habitual criminal (720 ILCS 5/24--1.7(a) (West 2006)) and sentenced to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant was arrested on June 14, 2007, and he remained in custody until his sentencing on March 27, 2008, on which date the mittimus in this case was issued. The mittimus reflects that the circuit court awarded defendant 248 days of presentencing credit. 730 ILCS 5/5--4.5--100(b) (West 2008)*fn1 (defendants "shall be given credit *** for time spent in custody as a result of the offense for which the sentence was imposed"). Defendant appealed, arguing, inter alia, that he was entitled to 288 days' credit, a figure that included the day of sentencing. The State conceded that defendant was entitled to more than 248 days of credit, but it argued that the Department, not the circuit court, credits defendants for the day of sentencing. Thus, the State argued, defendant was entitled to 287 days of presentencing credit. The appellate court agreed, holding that the day of sentencing should not be included in the calculation of presentence credit, and it awarded defendant 287 days of credit. 394 Ill. App. 3d 480, 483. We granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 315(a) (Ill. S. Ct. R. 315(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010)).

ANALYSIS

It is undisputed that defendant is entitled to custodial credit for every day spent in custody, including the day of his sentencing and commitment; the only question before us is the manner in which defendant is to receive credit for that day. Defendant argues that the circuit court is responsible for crediting the day when it calculates a defendant's presentencing custody credit. The State responds that legal custody of a defendant transfers to the Department when a mittimus issues, and therefore it argues that the date of that mittimus is a day of sentence, not a day of presentence custody. This court has never addressed this issue, but both parties point out that the appellate court has answered it inconsistently. See, e.g., People v. Allen, 371 Ill. App. 3d 279, 284-85 (2006) (defendant not entitled to presentencing credit for date of remand to the Department); People v. Foreman, 361Ill. App. 3d 136, 157 (2005) (defendant will not be credited for the day of sentencing when he is remanded to the Department that day); People v. Stewart, 217 Ill. App. 3d 373, 377 (1991) (defendant not entitled to presentencing credit for the day of sentencing because custody of defendant transferred from the county jail to the Department); People v. Leggans, 140 Ill. App. 3d 268, 271 (1986) (defendant not entitled to presentencing credit for the day of sentencing because the Department "presumably" credited defendant for that day). But see People v. Donnelly, 226 Ill. App. 3d 771, 778-79 (1992) (including day of sentencing in calculation of presentencing credit); People v. Williams, 144 Ill. App. 3d 994, 996-97 (1986) (defendant entitled to presentencing credit for any part of day in presentencing custody, including day of sentencing). Because the question is one of statutory interpretation, our review is de novo. People v. Robinson, 172 Ill. 2d 452, 457 (1996).

This court's primary objective when construing the meaning of a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. People v. Zaremba, 158 Ill. 2d 36, 40 (1994). The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute itself. People v. Tucker, 167 Ill. 2d 431, 435 (1995). Where that language is clear and unambiguous, we must apply the statute without further aids of statutory construction. People v. Bole, 155 Ill. 2d 188, 197-98 (1993).

Section 5--4.5--100 of the Unified Code of Corrections, entitled "Calculation of Term of Imprisonment," provides in relevant part:

"(a) COMMENCEMENT.

A sentence of imprisonment shall commence on the date on which the offender is received by the Department or the institution at which the sentence is to be served.

(b) CREDIT; TIME IN CUSTODY; SAME CHARGE.

The offender shall be given credit on the determinate sentence or maximum term and the minimum period of imprisonment for time spent in custody as a result of the offense for which the sentence was imposed, at the rate specified in Section 3--6--3 (730 ILCS 5/3--6--3). Except when prohibited by subsection (d), the trial court may give credit to the defendant for time spent in home detention, or when the defendant has been confined for psychiatric or substance abuse treatment prior ...


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