Where statute provides that, by operation of law, every Class X sentence includes as though written therein a three-year term of mandatory supervised release, or MSR, and where an offender who was convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm claimed that he had not known about MSR until after the denial of his initial postconviction petition, he did not assert the “cause” element of the cause and prejudice test for when leave to file a successive postconviction petition may be granted; but the legislature was invited to enact a more complete statutory framework for successive postconviction petitions.
Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. James Michael Obbish, Judge, presiding.
Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, and Patrick F. Cassidy, Assistant Appellate Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, of Chicago, for appellant.
Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Michelle Katz and Sari London, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Garman, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
JUSTICE THOMAS, Justices
¶ 1 The issue in this case is whether the circuit court of Cook County erred in denying defendant George Evans' pro se motion for leave to file a successive petition for relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2008)). We conclude that it did not.
¶ 2 BACKGROUND
¶ 3 In March 2005, defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1) (West 2004)) and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Defendant's conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. People v. Evans, No. 1-05-0850 (2007) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
¶ 4 In February 2008, defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition, which the trial court summarily dismissed. The appellate court affirmed that dismissal in an unpublished order entered pursuant to Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987). People v. Evans, No. 1-08-1338 (2009) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
¶ 5 In December 2009, defendant filed a pro se motion for leave to file a successive postconviction petition. See 725 ILCS 5/122-1(f) (West 2008). In it, he alleged that, when it imposed defendant's 12-year prison sentence, the trial court neither mentioned nor imposed an additional term of mandatory supervised release (MSR). Nevertheless, defendant has since learned that he will be required to serve a three-year term of MSR following his release from prison. According to defendant, enforcement of a three-year MSR term following his release from prison would violate his due process rights because the total time he would be required to serve (15 years) would exceed the term specifically announced by the trial court (12 years). According to the motion, defendant did not include this claim in his initial postconviction petition because:
"The information about the M.S.R. was not yet discovered to me yet. And when I did learn about it more research need to be done. Also it was still being decided in appeals court, so no case were able to be used as evidence. Basically I Petitioner just discovered this."
Defendant further alleged that he would suffer prejudice if he were unable to assert this claim because, in violation of his due process rights, he was being made "to serve more time than the judge imposed." The trial court denied defendant's request for leave to file the successive petition, noting that defendant was "ignoring the fact that this was not something that he had bargained for." Rather, it was "a sentence after a trial and conviction ...