from the Circuit Court of Bureau County, No. 11-CF-37; the
Hon. Cornelius J. Hollerich, Judge, presiding.
Michael J. Pelletier and Joel C. Wessol, both of State
Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for
J. Caffarini, State's Attorney, of Princeton (Dawn D.
Duffy, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's
Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Lytton and Wright concurred in the judgment
1 Defendant, Aaron M. Arbuckle, appeals his sentences for
aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery. He argues
that the matter should be remanded for resentencing because
the trial court committed plain error when it sentenced him
while under the misapprehension that defendant was eligible
for an extended-term sentence on the aggravated battery
conviction. Defendant further contends that counsel was
ineffective for failing to raise that issue before the trial
court. Finally, defendant argues that he was subjected to an
improper double enhancement in that the trial court
considered the harm done to the victim despite the fact that
"great bodily harm" was an element of the charged
offense. We affirmed in a prior opinion. Subsequently, the
supreme court issued a supervisory order directing us to
vacate our judgment and reconsider in light of People v.
Clark, 2016 IL 118845, to determine if a different
result is warranted. And so we do. After reconsidering, we
find that a different result is not warranted. We affirm.
3 On June 9, 2011, the State charged defendant with
aggravated domestic battery (count I) (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a)
(West 2010)) and aggravated battery (count II) (720 ILCS
5/12-4(b)(1) (West 2010)). With respect to count I, the State
alleged in the aggravated domestic battery information that
defendant struck his girlfriend, Kayla Zimmerlein, with a
golf club, resulting in great bodily harm. In count II, the
State alleged that defendant stabbed Nicole Reuter with a
broken golf club.
4 Defendant entered an open guilty plea on September 22,
2011. While admonishing defendant, the court informed him
that the maximum prison term for aggravated domestic battery,
a Class 2 felony, would be 14 years' imprisonment.
Defendant was eligible for an extended-term sentence due to a
prior Class 2 conviction. He was also not eligible for
probation. The court also informed defendant that he was
extended-term eligible on the aggravated battery charge, a
Class 3 felony: "The maximum prison sentence normally
would be five years for a Class 3 felony. But because of the
prior Class 2 conviction in 2005 in Lee County, you would be
eligible for extended term ***. The maximum prison sentence
could be ten years rather than five."
5 The factual basis established that defendant lived with his
girlfriend, Zimmerlein, in an apartment. Reuter lived in an
adjacent apartment. Defendant, Zimmerlein, and at least one
other male attended a get-together in the common patio area
of the apartments. After an altercation between defendant and
another male, Zimmerlein took defendant back to their
apartment. Defendant subsequently struck Zimmerlein with a
golf club, breaking her arm. Zimmerlein called for help, at
which point Reuter entered the apartment. Defendant then
struck Reuter with the club, leaving a puncture mark on her
torso. The court accepted the guilty plea, and the matter
proceeded to sentencing.
6 Defendant's brother, grandmother, and friend testified
on his behalf. Each testified that defendant had a problem
with alcohol. Defendant also made a statement. He explained
that he had been drinking on the night in question. He began
hallucinating and thought he was being attacked. "I
thought I was actually protecting when what I was doing was
the exact opposite."
7 The court also considered the presentence investigation
report (PSI). The PSI indicated that defendant had been
convicted of burglary-a Class 2 felony-in 2005. It also
showed multiple convictions for domestic battery (in 2006 and
2009) as well as a conviction for driving under the
influence. The PSI also indicated that defendant had
previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and alcohol
dependence. Attached to the PSI were letters from defendant
and other family members. Each letter addressed
defendant's problems with alcohol.
8 The State submitted the victim impact statements of
Zimmerlein and Reuter, as well as Zimmerlein's medical
records. In Zimmerlein's letter, received more than four
months after the battery, she described the injury as
"The ulna bone in my left arm was pretty *** shattered
except for a piece by my wrist and a piece by my elbow. The
rest was just crushed fragments. The doctor had to scrape and
clean all the tiny little pieces that were left. He the[n]
had to put in a plate and five screws just to keep my arm
also wrote that she had amassed more than $25, 000 in medical
expenses. She was unable to lift more than five pounds with
her arm, which affected her ability to work.
9 Zimmerlein wrote that the injury was worse than her doctor
originally expected. Following the initial surgery, the
doctor informed her there was no sign of bone growth.
Zimmerlein was put on a bone stimulation system, which did
not work. She was to undergo further surgery to correct the
problem. Zimmerlein claimed that if that surgery was
unsuccessful, her arm "could be like this for the rest
of [her] life." She still suffered from daily pain in
10 Medical reports classified Zimmerlein's injury as a
"Grade I open left ulna shaft fracture with comminution
involving greater than 5 pieces." The reports also
detailed the "nonunion" of the fracture, as well as
the lack of progress with a bone stimulator. The last medical
report in the PSI, dated October 14, 2011, indicated that
Zimmerlein would need surgery to remove a bone graft. The
doctor noted that he did not discern "any progression at
all in the fracture gap."
11 At argument, the State posited that defendant was
extended-term eligible on both counts. The State asked for
sentences of seven and five years' imprisonment on count
I and count II, respectively. Defendant asked for a
recommendation of impact incarceration.
12 After a recess, the court stated that it had considered
the victim impact statements, letters written on behalf of
defendant, and the PSI, including all attached reports. The
court also "reviewed the factors in mitigation and
aggravation." The court opined that the only applicable
factor in mitigation was that defendant's conduct was
clearly the result of his intoxication. The court considered
this a "substantial ground[ ] tending to excuse or
justify the defendant's criminal conduct" but
failing to establish a defense.
13 In aggravation, the court noted the seriousness of the
injuries inflicted. The court also emphasized defendant's
extensive list of prior convictions and the need to deter
others from committing the same crime. The court concluded:
"But clearly the factors in aggravation outweigh the
factors in mitigation, for whatever that's worth. But I