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People v. Inman

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

February 4, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
THOMAS G. INMAN, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 85-CF-181. Honorable Brian Babka, Judge, presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

Where defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to concurrent terms of natural life for first-degree murder and 30 years for attempted first-degree murder, but the natural-life sentence was vacated 21 years later and on resentencing he was sentenced to 35 years for the first-degree murder to be served consecutively to the 30 years imposed for attempted first-degree murder, his postconviction petition alleging that the new sentence violated the double jeopardy clause was properly dismissed, since both the individual murder sentence and the aggregate term in prison were reduced by the resentencing court and the punishment imposed did not exceed what defendant anticipated when he was originally sentenced.

For Appellant: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Peter A. Carusona, Deputy Defender, Thomas A. Karalis, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Third Judicial District, Ottawa, IL.

For Appellee: Hon. Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, St. Clair County, Belleville, IL; Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, David M. Sanchez, Staff Attorney, Whitney E. Atkins, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Fifth District Office, Mt. Vernon, IL.

JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Honorable Richard P. Goldenhersh, J., and Honorable James M. Wexstten,[1] J., concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

CHAPMAN, JUSTICE

Page 591

Where defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to concurrent terms of natural life for first-degree murder and 30 years for attempted first-degree murder, but the natural-life sentence was vacated 21 years later and on resentencing he was sentenced to 35 years for the first-degree murder to be served consecutively to the 30 years imposed for attempted first-degree murder, his postconviction petition alleging that the new sentence violated the double jeopardy clause was properly dismissed, since both the individual murder sentence and the aggregate term in prison were reduced by the resentencing court and the punishment imposed did not exceed what defendant anticipated when he was originally sentenced. The defendant, Thomas G. Inman, appeals an order dismissing his petition for postconviction relief at the second stage. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to concurrent prison terms of natural life for murder and 30 years for attempted first-degree murder. After his natural-life sentence was vacated years later, the defendant was resentenced to 35 years on the murder charge, to be served consecutive to the 30-year attempted murder sentence. The defendant filed a postconviction petition, alleging that the resentencing court violated principles of double jeopardy by ordering his sentences to run consecutively. On appeal from the second-stage dismissal of that petition, the defendant argues that (1) the consecutive sentences violate his right to due process and (2) consecutive sentences constitute double jeopardy. We affirm.

The charges at issue in this appeal stem from an argument in a bar that escalated to a violent confrontation. The defendant and two friends waited outside the bar for two other men to leave. They then followed the other men in their car and ran the car off the road at the next exit. In the ensuing fight, one man was stabbed to death. The other was stabbed multiple times and suffered serious injuries, but survived. The defendant was arrested in March 1985 and subsequently convicted on

Page 592

one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. In August 1985, the trial court found that the murder was committed in an exceptionally brutal and heinous manner. Based on this finding, the court sentenced the defendant to natural life in prison for the murder conviction. The court sentenced the defendant to 30 years for the attempted murder conviction, to be served concurrently with the sentence for murder.

In August 2000, the defendant filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2000)), which the court treated as a postconviction petition. He alleged that his natural-life sentence violated the rule annunciated in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000). He argued that the sentencing court imposed this extended-term sentence relying on a finding which, under Apprendi, had to be made beyond a reasonable doubt by the trier of fact. Specifically, the sentencing court found that the murder was committed in an exceptionally brutal and heinous manner (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 1005-8-1(a)(1)).

In June 2001, the court granted the defendant's petition and vacated his natural-life sentence for murder.[2] The court directed the State to choose between two options. The State could again seek a natural-life sentence, which would require the State to retry the defendant and prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder was committed in an exceptionally brutal and heinous manner. Alternatively, the State could choose not to seek an extended-term sentence, in which case the court would hold only a new sentencing hearing. The State chose the latter option.

Most of the proceedings that followed involved the question of whether the trial court could impose consecutive sentences. The court ultimately determined that (1) under the sentencing law in effect in 1985, it had the discretion to impose consecutive sentences, and (2) consecutive sentences would not run afoul of the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

The matter came for a resentencing hearing in July 2006. The defendant chose to be sentenced under the law in effect in 1985, when the murder was committed. See People v. Strebin, 209 Ill.App.3d 1078, 1081, 568 N.E.2d 420, 422, 154 Ill.Dec. 420 (1991). The parties presented evidence in aggravation and mitigation. Much of the evidence in mitigation concerned the defendant's rehabilitative efforts during the 21 years he had already served in prison. Much of the evidence in aggravation focused on the defendant's extensive prior criminal record and the nature of the offense. The court found that consecutive sentences were appropriate for two reasons: (1) the defendant committed a Class X or Class 1 felony and inflicted serious bodily injuries (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 1005-8-4(a)), and (2) consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 1005-8-4(b)). The court sentenced the defendant to 35 years in prison, to be served consecutive to his sentence for attempted murder. The sentencing order provided that the defendant was to be given credit for time served.

The defendant appealed that sentence, arguing that the resentencing court abused its discretion by imposing consecutive

Page 593

sentences. He did not raise the constitutional issues involved in this appeal. This court affirmed the sentence. People v. Inman, 375 Ill.App.3d 1161, 945 N.E.2d 703 (2007) (unpublished order pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 23).

The defendant next filed a pro se petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 to 122-8 (West 2008)). In relevant part, he alleged that consecutive sentences violated the double jeopardy clause and that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise this issue on direct appeal. The postconviction court dismissed the defendant's petition summarily, finding it to be a successive petition filed without leave of the court. On appeal from that ruling, this court found that the petition at issue was the first petition to challenge the 2006 sentencing order. We thus concluded that it was not a " successive" petition and the defendant, therefore, " did not require leave of the court to file it." People v. Inman, 407 Ill.App.3d 1156, 1162, 947 N.E.2d 319, 324-25, 349 Ill.Dec. 682 (2011). ...


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