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Simms v. Flagg

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 20, 2015

ANDRE SIMMS, Petitioner,
v.
JULIUS C. FLAGG and S.A. GODINEZ, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Petitioner Andre Simms is currently serving fifteen years and one month in Illinois prison after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder. Simms has moved, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, for a writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons stated below, Simms' § 2254 petition [1] is denied.

BACKGROUND

On March 8, 2005, Petitioner pled guilty to attempted first degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years and 1 month's imprisonment. (State Ct. Rec. Exh. A at pp. 1, 2.) During the guilty plea hearing, the trial court admonished Petitioner:

"The Court: All right. [Defendant], it's my understanding now you want to accept their offer which will be 15 years and 1 month?
The Defendant: Yes, sir.
The Court: Okay. [Defendant], this is a negotiated guilty plea pursuant to a 402 conference. [Defendant] - in exchange you are going to be pleading guilty to count 1, which is attempt first degree murder; is that your understanding? The Defendant: Yes.
* * *
The Court: All right. You are pleading guilty to attempt first degree murder.
That is a class X felony. On a class X felony you can be sent to the penitentiary for a term of 6 to 30 years with 3 years mandatory supervisory [ sic ] release. On a class X felony there is no probation, no conditional discharge, and there is no periodic imprisonment. And you can be fined up to $25, 000. Do you understand that, sir?
The Defendant: Yes, sir.
* * *
The Court: *** Sentence you to 15 years, one month."

(Id. at pp. 4-5.) Petitioner filed a direct appeal, arguing, in pertinent part, that his sentence should be reduced by three years because he did not receive the benefit of the bargain. (State Ct. Rec. Exh. E at p. 1.) Simms' appeal was denied because the appellate court held the trial court had admonished him that he was pleading guilty to a class X felony that included 3 years' mandatory supervised release ("MSR"). (Id. at p. 8.) Simms then filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal ("PLA") to the Illinois Supreme Court. (State Ct. Rec. Exh. F.) In the PLA, Simms argued that he was not unambiguously admonished that a three-year term of MSR would follow the completion of his imprisonment. (Id. ) The appellate court withdrew its original opinion to reconsider the matter in light of a then-recent Illinois Supreme Court case, People v. Morris, 925 N.E.2d 1069 (Ill. 2010). However, upon reconsideration, ...


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