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The People of the State of Illinois v. Marcus D. Little

June 30, 2011

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



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 08CF637 Honorable John W. Belz, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Knecht and Justice Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

In April 2009, defendant, Marcus D. Little, pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol (aggravated DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(K) (West 2008)) (count I) and driving while license revoked (625 ILCS 5/6-303(a) (West Supp. 2007)) (count III). The trial court later sentenced defendant to concurrent prison sentences of six years on count I and four years on count III.

In August 2009, defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence, arguing that his sentences were excessive. Following an October 2009 hearing, the trial court denied defendant's motion. That same day, defense counsel filed a certificate pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (eff. July 1, 2006).

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) this case should be remanded to the trial court because the record suggests that defense counsel could not have complied with the requirements of Rule 604(d) before filing the certificate and (2), alternatively, in light of defendant's mental and physical condition and his "substance abuse issues," the court abused its discretion by imposing excessive sentences. For the reasons that follow, we reject both of defendant's arguments and affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In July 2008, the State charged defendant with eight traffic offenses. In April 2009, defendant pleaded guilty to count I (aggravated DUI), a Class 2 felony, and to count III (driving while license revoked), a Class 3 felony. In exchange for defendant's guilty pleas, the State agreed to dismiss the other six counts. However, the parties had no agreement with regard to sentencing.

Following an August 2009 sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced defendant to concurrent prison sentences of six years on count I and four years on count III.

The day after the sentencing hearing, defense counsel filed a motion to reconsider sentence, arguing, in part, that defendant's sentences were excessive and an abuse of discretion. In October 2009, the trial court conducted a hearing on that motion and denied it. Immediately prior to that hearing, defense counsel filed his Rule 604(d) certificate.

This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant's Claim That the Record Suggests Defense Counsel Could Not Have Complied With Rule 604(d) When He Filed His Certificate

The day after defendant's August 2009 sentencing hearing, defense counsel filed a motion to reconsider sentence. Then, immediately before the hearing on that motion on October 14, 2009, defense counsel filed his Rule 604(d) ...


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