The dismissal of two charges of unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle on the ground that the State unreasonably delayed filing the charges was reversed, since defendant’s claim that he was “forced to stop his life” to deal with the charges did not amount to actual and substantial prejudice for purposes of defendant’s motion.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County, Nos. 11-CF-102, 11-CF-103; the Hon. Jennifer H. Bauknecht, Judge, presiding.
Thomas J. Brown, State's Attorney, of Pontiac (Patrick Delfino, Robert J. Biderman, and Linda Susan McClain, all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
Michael J. Pelletier and Karen Munoz, both of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellee.
Justices Knecht and Turner concurred in the judgment and opinion.
STEIGMANN, PRESIDING JUSTICE
¶ 1 In January 2012, defendant, William G. Goad, filed separate motions to dismiss the State's charge of unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle (720 ILCS 635/1 (West 2008)) in two different cases contending that the State unreasonably delayed filing the charges. In April 2012, the trial court granted defendant's motions to dismiss, finding that defendant had suffered actual and substantial prejudice because of the State's preindictment delay.
¶ 2 The State appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by granting defendant's motion to dismiss on grounds of preindictment delay. We agree and reverse.
¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 4 A. The State's Charges
¶ 5 In April 2011, the State charged defendant with two separate counts of unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle in violation of section 1 of the Hypodermic Syringes and Needles Act (Act) (720 ILCS 635/1 (West 2008)). Specifically, the State alleged that on October 1, 2009 (Livingston County case No. 11-CF-102), and November 22, 2009 (Livingston County case No. 11-CF-103), defendant possessed a hypodermic needle adapted for the subcutaneous injection of a controlled substance. The State considered each charge a Class 4 felony because defendant had a prior conviction for a violation of the Act in Livingston County case No. 08-CF-56. See 720 ILCS 635/4 (West 2008) (a second or succeeding violation of the Act is a Class 4 felony). The State's charges also advised that if convicted, defendant was eligible for an extended-term sentence of up to six years in prison because of his previous felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance in Livingston County case No. 09-CF-273.
¶ 6 B. Defendant's Motions To Dismiss
¶ 7 In January 2012, defendant filed separate motions to dismiss the State's charges in case Nos. 11-CF-102 and 11-CF-103. The following facts were gleaned from defendant's separate motions, which, aside from the arrest date, were identical.
¶ 8 On October 1, 2009, police arrested defendant for possessing a hypodermic needle in violation of section 1 of the Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Defendant was later provided notice to appear in court. (Defendant did not identify the appearance date.)
¶ 9 On November 16, 2009, the State arraigned defendant on a charge of possession of a controlled substance in case No. 09-CF-273. On November 22, 2009, police arrested defendant for a second violation of section 1 of the Act. Defendant was issued another notice, requiring him to appear in court. (Defendant did not identify the appearance date.)
¶ 10 Defendant later complied with the notices by appearing at the respective date and time specified therein. However, upon his arrival at the courthouse, he "was advised by the State that no charges were being filed."
¶ 11 On September 9, 2010, defendant pleaded guilty in case No. 09-CF-273. During guilty-plea negotiations in that case, neither the State nor defendant mentioned the October and November 2009 arrests at issue. (The trial court sentenced defendant to one year in prison followed by a one-year mandatory supervised release (MSR) term.)
¶ 12 In April 2011, the State charged defendant in two separate filings with unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle based on his October and November 2009 arrests (case Nos. 11-CF-102 and 11-CF-103, respectively). On September 9, 2011, defendant had served his sentence in ...