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People v. Steele-Kumi

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

November 17, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SCHAKIRA STEELE-KUMI, Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Nos. 10 CR 19806, 10 CR 20203 . Honorable Sharon Sullivan, Judge Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

Where defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges of aggravated battery, the application of consecutive sentences in the calculation of the Thiem date for defendant's maximum commitment was prohibited by the language of section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections; therefore, the trial court properly granted defendant's petition under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure to reduce her period of maximum commitment to three years and six months based on a maximum term of seven years for one aggravated battery conviction with a dayfor- day good-conduct credit.

Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, County of Cook, Chicago, Illinois, (Alan J. Spellberg and Judy L. DeAngelis, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for APPELLANT.

Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, Chicago, Illinois, (Mark J. Heyrman, of counsel), for APPELLEE.

JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Delortand Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 1268

CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE

[¶1] The State appeals from an order reducing the maximum commitment period for defendant-appellee Schakira Steele-Kumi (defendant), who was found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges of battery. The commitment period reflects the length of time that defendant would have served on a single sentence for one charge rather than consecutive sentences on both charges. We address whether the statutory provision requiring the calculation of an insanity acquittee's maximum commitment period to reflect " the maximum sentence of the most serious crime for which he has been acquitted" is required to be calculated so as to incorporate consecutive sentences that would have been imposed had the defendant been convicted on multiple charges.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] On October 25, 2010, defendant was arrested and charged with aggravated battery for allegedly striking a police officer who had responded to a call of a disturbance on a Chicago Transit Authority bus. Two days later, while in the custody of the Cook County sheriff and awaiting a bond hearing for the October 25 incident, defendant allegedly kicked a deputy sheriff in the abdomen. For that October 27, 2010 incident, defendant was again charged with aggravated battery. By agreement of the parties, the charges arising from these separate incidents were consolidated and tried in a single bench trial. On July 25, 2011, the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity with respect to both charges.

[¶4] On November 1, 2011, at a hearing pursuant to section 5-2-4(a) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a) (West 2010)), the trial court determined that the defendant was in need of mental health services on an inpatient basis and placed the defendant with the Department of Human Services. The court then conducted a hearing on November 7, 2011 to determine the maximum period of defendant's commitment pursuant to section 5-2-4(b), which directs the court to assess " the maximum length of time that the defendant would have been required to serve, less credit for good behavior *** had he been convicted of and received the maximum sentence for the most serious crime for which he has been acquitted by reason of insanity." 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(b) (West 2010). The ending date of the maximum commitment period calculated under section 5-2-4(b) is often referred to as the " Thiem date" in reference to People v. Thiem, 82 Ill.App.3d 956, 403 N.E.2d 647, 38 Ill.Dec. 416 (1980).

[¶5] At the November 7, 2011 hearing, the State argued that the defendant's maximum

Page 1269

commitment period should be seven years, and thus the Thiem date should be October 25, 2017, seven years from the date of defendant's arrest. The State argued that, had she been convicted on the aggravated battery charges, the defendant would have been required to serve consecutive sentences under section 5-8-4 of the Unified Code of Corrections. 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4 (West 2010). Specifically, the State argued that defendant's battery against a deputy sheriff while awaiting a bond hearing would implicate section 5-8-4(d)(8), which requires the imposition of consecutive sentences where " a person charged with a felony commits a separate felony while on pretrial release or in pretrial detention in a county jail facility or county detention facility." 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(d)(8) (West 2010). The State contended that, as each aggravated battery charge carried a maximum sentence of 7 years, the sentences served consecutively would amount to 14 years. Assuming that the time served would be reduced due to good behavior, which the parties agreed would be credited on a " day-for-day" basis, the State argued that the 14-year period would be reduced to 7 years. Thus, the State contended that seven years should the applicable maximum period of confinement assessed pursuant to section 5-2-4(b). The record does not indicate that defendant's counsel at that time, the Cook County public defender, raised any objection at the hearing to the State's calculation. Accordingly, the trial court ordered that the defendant's commitment was not to exceed seven years from the date of her arrest, or October 25, 2017.

[¶6] Defendant, through the public defender, filed a notice of appeal on November 7, 2011. The notice appealed from the July 25, 2011 judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity and the " [ Thiem ] Date of October 25, 2017," but did not otherwise specify any claimed error. On September 26, 2012, the public defender filed, in this court, a motion to dismiss the appeal alleging lack of appellate jurisdiction. The public defender cited our supreme court's holding in People v. Harrison, 226 Ill.2d 427, 877 N.E.2d 432, 315 Ill.Dec. 680 (2007), that a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity is an acquittal and thus not subject to appellate review. The public defender's motion to dismiss the appeal stated that defendant had raised " no appeal from the postacquittal adjudication" and concluded that " in light of Harrison, and the non-existence of any postacquittal matters, the finding of [not guilty by reason of insanity] is not an appealable order." This court granted the motion to dismiss defendant's direct appeal on October 4, 2012.

[¶7] According to defendant, she did not consent to the public defender's motion to dismiss her appeal. She subsequently obtained new legal counsel through the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. On May 17, 2013, defendant filed a petition pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure seeking reduction of the seven-year maximum commitment period ordered by the trial court. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2010). The petition acknowledged the prior dismissal of her direct appeal and recognized that a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity is not an appealable order, but contended that she " only intended to appeal her Thiem date," not the underlying acquittal by reason of insanity.

[¶8] Defendant's brief in support of her section 2-1401 petition argued that section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections does not permit a maximum period of commitment premised on consecutive sentences. Defendant argued that under our decision in People v. Hampton, 121 Ill.App.3d 273, 459 N.E.2d 985, 76 Ill.Dec. 850 (1983), the commitment period calculated under section 5-2-4(b) must reflect the

Page 1270

sentence for only the single most serious crime charged and thus in her case only one of the two battery charges should have been taken into account. As either charge implicated a maximum seven-year sentence, which would be reduced by half with credit for good behavior, she argued that her maximum commitment period should have been assessed as three years and six months, half of the seven-year period ordered by the court. Thus, she submitted that her Thiem date should fall on April 25, 2014, not on October 25, 2017.

[¶9] The State moved to strike defendant's petition on June 6, 2013, contending that in calculating the Thiem date under section 5-2-4(b), " the trial court must refer to the existing sentencing scheme in determining the most severe and punitive punishment that could be imposed for a conviction." The State contended that two separate sentencing provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections required the application of consecutive sentences given the defendant's circumstances. Specifically, the State noted that section 5-8-4(d)(8) requires consecutive sentences when a felony is committed while in pretrial detention for a prior felony, and that section 5-8-4(d)(8.5) also requires consecutive sentences where a person commits a battery against a sheriff's employee while in pretrial detention. 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(d)(8), (8.5) (West 2010). Under these sentencing provisions, the State argued, " the maximum period of confinement for defendant must be computed based on the two cases being run consecutively." According to the State's calculation, " the maximum sentence for these two cases is 7 or an aggregate sentence of 14 years. Because the sentences are served with day for day credit, the maximum period of confinement is one half of 14 years, that is 7 years from October 25, 2010."

[¶10] The State further argued that " had the legislature intended to limit the imposition of a consecutive sentence" in calculating the Thiem date, " it could have enacted such limiting language" and thus the court should not " read a limitation into the statute." The State further argued that defendant's reliance on Hampton was misplaced because, whereas the Hampton defendant " was convicted of two counts in a single case, murder and attempt[ed] murder," the defendant here " had two separate cases that under two separate statutes are mandatorily consecutive in sentencing." Thus, the State argued that to not apply consecutive sentences in defendant's Thiem date calculation would " render meaningless the fact that these are separate cases on different days."

[¶11] Defendant's response urged that section 5-8-4(d)(8)'s provisions regarding consecutive sentences were inapplicable. First, defendant argued that the statute " is only relevant when a person has been convicted of at least two crimes," whereas defendant had been acquitted by reason of insanity. Defendant also argued that consecutive sentences were inapplicable because " a Thiem date may only be premised on the sentence for a single crime charged" under section 5-2-4(b)'s instruction to calculate the commitment period by reference to the sentence for " the most serious crime for which [defendant] has been acquitted." 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(b) (West 2010). Because the statute uses the singular term " crime," defendant argued, the Thiem calculation could not consider consecutive sentences for multiple crimes. Responding to the State's claim that Hampton was inapposite, defendant argued that the Hampton court had prohibited consecutive ...


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