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The People of the State of Illinois v. Scott W. Strom

January 5, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SCOTT W. STROM,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois, Circuit No. 07-CF-212 Honorable Charles H. Stengel, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Schmidt

PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Justice Lytton concurred in part and dissented in part, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 On August 9, 2007, the defendant, Scott W. Strom, pled guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault. 720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(1) (West 2006). He then filed a post-conviction petition which was denied after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, the defendant argues that his case should be remanded to the trial court with instructions to impose a determinate three-year period of mandatory supervised release (MSR). We reverse and remand.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 On May 24, 2007, the defendant was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault, and he subsequently entered into a plea agreement. Pursuant to the plea, the defendant admitted guilt to one count of criminal sexual assault, and the second count was dismissed by the State. The State and the defendant agreed to a four-year term of imprisonment in the Department of Corrections (DOC) followed by two years of MSR. The trial court concurred with the sentence.*fn1 The defendant was also ordered to pay various court costs and fees, submit a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sample, and register as a sex offender upon his release. He did not immediately move to withdraw his guilty plea, nor did he pursue a direct appeal.

¶ 4 On March 23, 2009, the defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the petition on March 2, 2010. The defendant appealed.

¶ 5 During the pendency of this appeal, the defendant was set to be released on parole and begin his two-year MSR term. However, at some unknown point, the DOC unilaterally increased the defendant's MSR term to three years to life, presumably in order to comply with section 5-8-1(d)(4) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(4) (West 2006)).

¶ 6 ANALYSIS

¶ 7 On appeal, the defendant does not claim that any error occurred during his evidentiary hearing. Instead, he argues that his case must be remanded to the trial court with orders to impose an MSR term of three years. The State argues that we should order the trial court to impose an indeterminate term of three years to life, and thereby allow the DOC to administer the defendant's MSR.

¶ 8 Section 5-8-1(d)(4) of the Code provided:

"Subject to earlier termination under Section 3-3-8, the parole or mandatory supervised release term shall be as follows:

(4) for defendants who commit the offense of *** criminal sexual assault *** on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 94th General Assembly, the term of mandatory supervised release shall range from a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of the ...


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