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People v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

June 24, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PARIS M. WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 10CF952 Honorable Lisa Holder White, Judge Presiding.

Presiding Justice Steigmann and Justice Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

TURNER JUSTICE

¶ 1 After a September 2011 bench trial, the Macon County circuit court found defendant, Paris M. Williams, guilty of armed violence, unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. In March 2012, the court sentenced defendant to concurrent prison terms of 15 years for armed violence, 7 years for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and 7 years for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (the other two counts merged with the armed-violence count). It also ordered defendant to pay a $1, 000 mandatory drug assessment, a $100 crime laboratory fee, and a $70 street-value fine.

¶ 2 Defendant appeals, asserting (1) his conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon must be vacated under the one-act, one-crime rule, and (2) the clerk of the circuit court improperly assessed additional fines against him. We affirm in part as modified, vacate in part, and remand the cause with directions.

¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 In June 2010, the State charged defendant by information with one count of armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a) (West 2010) (text of section effective until July 1, 2011)), two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2), (d) (West 2010)), one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2010)), one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2010)), one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1)(3)(A) (West 2008)), one count of unlawful possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5(c) (West 2010)), and one count of unlawful possession of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(c) (West 2010)). The unlawful-possession-of-a-weapon-by-a-felon count alleged that, on June 21, 2010, defendant, a person who had been convicted of a felony under Illinois law, knowingly possessed a handgun on or about his person. The aggravated-unlawful-use-of-a-weapon count asserted that, on June 21, 2010, defendant, who had been previously convicted of a felony, knowingly carried a handgun on or about his person at such time when he was not on his own land, in his own abode, or fixed place of business and the handgun was uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible at the time of the offense. At the State's request, the trial court later dismissed one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2) (West 2010)), the unlawful-possession-of-cannabis-with-the-intent-to-deliver count, and the unlawful-possession-of-cannabis count.

¶ 5 In February 2011, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, seeking to exclude the evidence that resulted from a warrantless search of a mailbox near where defendant was taken into custody. The trial court held a hearing on the motion and denied it in July 2011.

¶ 6 On September 1, 2011, the trial court held a bench trial on the five remaining charges. After hearing the evidence and the parties' arguments, the court found defendant guilty of all five charges. On September 29, 2011, defendant filed a motion to vacate his guilty finding or, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial, asserting the court erred by denying his motion to suppress and the State failed to sustain its burden of proof on the armed-violence charge. In November 2011, defendant, represented by a different assistant public defender, filed an amended posttrial motion, raising ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. After a December 20, 2011, hearing, the court denied the amended posttrial motion.

¶ 7 On March 28, 2012, the trial court held a joint hearing on defendant's original posttrial motion and sentencing. The court denied the original posttrial motion and sentenced defendant to concurrent prison terms of 15 years for armed violence, 7 years for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and 7 years for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The court did not sentence defendant on the two counts related to possession of a controlled substance because it found those counts merged with the armed-violence count. The court also ordered defendant to pay a $1, 000 mandatory drug assessment, $100 crime laboratory fee, and a $70 street-value fine. Defendant had been in custody from June 22, 2010, to March 27, 2012, and the court awarded defendant a credit of $1, 170 against the aforementioned assessments under section 110-14(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Procedure Code) (725 ILCS 5/110-14(a) (West 2010)).

¶ 8 On April 3, 2012, defendant filed a timely notice of appeal in sufficient compli- ance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 606 (eff. Mar. 20, 2009), and thus this court has jurisdiction under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 603 (eff. Oct. 1, 2010).

¶ 9 II. ANALYSIS

¶ 10 A. One-Act, One-Crime Rule

¶ 11 Defendant first asserts his unlawful-possession-of-a-weapon-by-a-felon convic- tion must be vacated under the one-act, one-crime rule. The State concedes the conviction must be vacated under our supreme court's decision in People v. Johnson, 237 Ill.2d 81, 96-99, 927 N.E.2d ...


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