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The People of the State of Illinois v. Robert W. Lindsay

January 21, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT W. LINDSAY,
APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Thomas

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

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

OPINION

The issue in this case is whether, on remand for the failure to file a Rule 604(d) certificate of compliance, defense counsel also must file a new motion to withdraw the guilty plea and/or reconsider the sentence. We hold that, where counsel concludes that the original motion is sufficient, a new motion need not be filed.

BACKGROUND

Defendant, Robert W. Lindsay, pleaded guilty to one count of delivering a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(C) (West 2006)) and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Defense counsel filed a motion to reconsider the sentence but did not file a Rule 604(d) certificate of compliance. Ill. S. Ct. R. 604(d) (eff. July 1, 2006). The circuit court of Du Page County denied defendant's motion, and defendant appealed. In an unpublished order, the appellate court reversed and remanded for compliance with Rule 604(d). People v. Lindsay, No. 2--07--1198 (Mar. 26, 2008) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). On remand, defense counsel filed a Rule 604(d) certificate but did not file a new motion to reconsider the sentence. Instead, she stood on the original motion, telling the trial court:

"There really is nothing to add. [W]e did have argument on the motion at the time, and I really don't have anything to add to that. The court is aware of what was argued at the time." After stating that it had reviewed the file, reviewed the PSI report, and reviewed the proceedings from the original hearing on defendant's motion to reconsider, the trial again denied the motion.

Defendant appealed again, and again the appellate court reversed and remanded. No. 2--09--0245 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). According to the appellate court, defense counsel on remand was required to file not only a Rule 604(d) certificate of compliance but also a new motion to reconsider defendant's sentence. In reaching this result, the court relied exclusively on People v. Oliver, 276 Ill. App. 3d 929 (1995), which held that this court's decision in People v. Janes, 158 Ill. 2d 27 (1994), "requires a new motion and a new hearing after a remand for the failure to comply with Rule 604(d)." Oliver, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 932. At the same time, the court expressly declined to follow People v. Kerkering, 283 Ill. App. 3d 867 (4th Dist. 1996), which construed Janes to say that, "when a case is remanded for the filing of a Rule 604(d) certificate, the attorney need only file a new motion to reconsider sentence or to withdraw guilty plea if he or she determines that such action is 'necessary for [the] adequate presentation of any defects.' " Id. at 872 (quoting Ill. S. Ct. R. 604(d) (eff. Aug. 1, 1992)).

The State appealed to this court, asking us to resolve the conflict between Oliver and Kerkering. We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).

DISCUSSION

In this case, we are asked to clarify our interpretation of Supreme Court Rule 604(d), as set forth in People v. Janes, 158 Ill. 2d 27 (1994). This is a question of law, and our review therefore is de novo. In re D.S., 198 Ill. 2d 309, 321 (2001).

The Conflict

We begin at the source. In Janes, the defendant entered an open guilty plea to three counts of murder and was sentenced to death. Immediately thereafter, defendant filed a pro se motion to withdraw the guilty plea and reconsider the sentence. Although appointed counsel argued the motions on defendant's behalf, he did not file a certificate stating compliance with Rule 604(d). In reversing and remanding, this court began by examining a series of factually analogous appellate court decisions. According to this court, the appellate court in those cases concluded that the appropriate remedy for the failure to file a Rule 604(d) certificate was to "grant[ ] the defendants therein the right to file a new motion to withdraw guilty plea and the right to have a hearing on the new motion." (Emphasis added.) Janes, 158 Ill. 2d at 33. The court then stated:

"With this opinion, we affirm the holdings of these cases and unequivocally state that, with [certain exceptions not relevant here], the remedy for failure to strictly comply with each of the provisions of Rule 604(d) is a remand to the circuit court for the filing of a new motion to withdraw guilty plea or ...


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