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The People of the State of Illinois v. Pierre White

June 16, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
APPELLANT,
v.
PIERRE WHITE,
APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke

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

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

Justice Theis specially concurred, with opinion.

OPINION

In this case, we address the following question: When the factual basis entered for a guilty plea makes it clear that a defendant is subject to a mandatory sentencing enhancement, may the trial court enter judgment imposing a sentence that does not include the enhancement on the basis that the enhancement was excluded by the parties from the plea agreement? The appellate court answered this question in the negative and held that, because a mandatory sentencing enhancement was not included in defendant's sentence in this case, the sentence and plea were void. No. 1--07--2102 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

Background

Defendant Pierre White was charged with three counts of first degree murder, one count of armed robbery and one count of attempted armed robbery in connection with the November 6, 2004, armed robbery and murder of Karim Ally, a taxi cab driver. In November 2006, following the trial court's denial of defendant's first motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, defense counsel told the court, "the State and I are attempting to resolve the case short of trial." On January 23, 2007, defense counsel stated, "Judge, I had asked the State if they would make an offer. They wanted to reach out to the family of the victim. They have not done that."

In February 2007, the State offered defendant a 30-year sentence in exchange for a plea of guilty to first degree murder, which defendant rejected. Additional attempts to resolve the matter failed and the case was set for trial on April 30, 2007. The court continued the case to June 12, 2007. And on that date, defense counsel advised the court that the State had made an offer, which defendant accepted. Under the terms of this offer, defendant would plead guilty and receive a 28-year sentence on the charge of first degree murder and a 4-year sentence on the charge of possession of contraband while in a penal institution, to be served consecutively.*fn1

Prior to accepting defendant's plea, the trial court admonished defendant in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 402. In doing so, the court advised defendant, in pertinent part, that he was charged with first degree murder and that the sentencing range for this offense was 20 to 60 years' imprisonment. After defendant acknowledged the rights he was waiving and stated his desire to proceed, the State presented a factual basis for both pleas.

The State offered the following as the factual basis for first degree murder:

"[I]t would be hereby stipulated to by and between the parties that the victim in this case, Karim Ally, *** was a taxi driver and on November 6, 2004 was alive and well and was 48 years of age.

At approximately 11:10 that evening he did pick up the defendant, *** whom would be identified in court by other witnesses as being in Karim Ally's cab along with a cohort by the name of Huzell Washington ***.

Both the defendant and Huzell Washington planned to rob the victim, Karim Ally. And prior to getting into Karim Ally's cab, they were in a different person's cab, a person by the name of William Wesley. William Wesley would also identify the defendant in open court as having been in his cab prior to getting into Karim Ally's cab along with Huzell Washington.

Once in Karim Ally's cab, the--they had planned to rob the victim. And the defendant admitted in a videotaped confession that he was acting as a lookout and looking outside of the cab for police to drive up.

When Karim Ally brought them to their destination at 6350 South King Drive, both the defendant and Huzell Washington exited the cab and the victim was shot in the temple one time with a handgun.

The defendant, in a videotaped confession, does not state that he is the shooter, however, does admit to taking the gun from Mr. Huzell Washington after the incident and putting it in his back pocket.

They both go to Patricia Jones' home, and Patricia Jones is Huzell Washington's girlfriend, who would identify the defendant in open court as arriving at her apartment with her boyfriend, Huzell Washington. She would identify the defendant was wearing a White Sox jacket when he entered into her home.

Both the defendant and Huzell Washington both then left from the apartment and upon leaving the apartment, Mr. John Edwards, who was working security in that area, stopped the defendant because the defendant was trying to exit from a gated area.

Mr. John Edwards did a protective pat-down and did recover a weapon from the defendant. That weapon, it would be testified to by an Illinois State Police Forensic Scientist by the name of Jennifer Alber. She would be qualified to testify in the area of ballistics, and she would testify that the weapon that was recovered from the ...


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