Petition for certiorari filed at, 04/21/2014
Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District.
In 2004, statute provided that a term of mandatory supervised release was automatically included in a sentence as a matter of law; and its absence from the written order or the judge's remarks did not mean that the Department of Corrections, when it enforced the term, added to the sentence, thereby violating the separation of powers.
For Billy McChriston, APPELLANT: Mr. Allen H. Andrews, Assistant Appellate Defender, Springfield IL.
For People of Illinois, APPELLEE: Mr. Stephen M. Soltanzadeh, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, IL.; State's Attorney Champaign County, Champaign County Courthouse, Urbana, IL.; State's Attorneys App. Pros. Springfield Fourth Judicial District, Springfield, IL.
For Concerned Inmates of Dixon Correctional Center, Amicus Curiae: Mr. Vincent Boggan, Dixon, IL.
CHIEF JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
GARMAN, CHIEF JUSTICE
In 2004, defendant, Billy McChriston, was convicted by jury of the unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony that carried a mandatory Class X sentence. The trial judge sentenced defendant to 25 years' imprisonment. The trial order did not indicate that defendant would also be required to serve a term of mandatory supervised release (MSR) pursuant to section 5-8-1(d) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d) (West 2004)), nor did the trial judge mention MSR at the sentencing hearing. The appellate court affirmed the conviction and sentencing on direct appeal. No. 4-04-0770 (2006) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
Defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 (West 2008)), raising issues not related to the MSR term. The circuit court dismissed the postconviction petition and the appellate court affirmed ( People v. McChriston, No. 4-07-0720 (2009) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
Then in 2011, defendant filed a pro se petition for relief from judgment pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2010)), arguing that the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) impermissibly added a three-year MSR term to his 25-year sentence. The circuit court of Champaign County dismissed defendant's petition for failure to state a cause of action. 735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2010).
The appellate court affirmed, rejecting defendant's arguments that the imposition of the MSR term violated defendant's constitutional rights to due process and the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. The appellate court found that the MSR term attached by operation of law and therefore was not unconstitutionally imposed by the DOC. 2012 IL App (4th) 110319-U.We granted defendant's ...