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People v. Cashaw

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

September 30, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMES E. CASHAW, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Woodford County No. 05CF159 Honorable Charles M. Feeney, III, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court. Justices Turner and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In March 2006, a jury convicted defendant, James E. Cashaw, of criminal sexual assault, after which the trial court imposed a 12-year prison sentence and a $200 domestic-violence fine. Defendant did not challenge the fine on direct review. In the years that followed, defendant initiated multiple collateral attacks on his conviction, none of which challenged the domestic-violence fine.

         ¶ 2 In May 2014, defendant filed a motion for leave to file a successive postconviction petition, which the trial court later denied. On appeal, defendant for the first time challenges his domestic-violence fine. He argues that because the fine was not authorized by statute, it is void under the "void-sentence rule." Defendant acknowledges that in People v. Castleberry, 2015 IL 116916, 43 N.E.3d 932, the supreme court abolished the void-sentence rule, but he contends that Castleberry does not apply "retroactively" to his case. We disagree with defendant and conclude that Castleberry applies to this appeal. As a result, we honor defendant's forfeiture of his claim and affirm his sentence.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 After a March 2006 trial, the jury found defendant guilty of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(1) (West 2004)). The trial court later sentenced him to 12 years in prison and imposed a $200 domestic-violence fine. This court affirmed defendant's conviction on direct appeal. People v. Cashaw, No. 4-06-0427 (Mar. 11, 2008) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). Defendant did not challenge the propriety of the domestic-violence fine in that appeal.

         ¶ 5 Defendant then initiated the following series of postconviction actions, all of which were unsuccessful, and none of which challenged the domestic-violence fine. Specifically, in May 2008, defendant filed a petition pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 to 122-7 (West 2008)). The trial court dismissed that petition. In October 2008, defendant filed a second postconviction petition. The court granted the State's motion to dismiss, and this court affirmed on appeal. People v. Cashaw, No. 4-09-0425 (Mar. 1, 2010) (unpublished order pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 23). In December 2010, defendant filed a petition for relief from judgment under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2010)). The trial court dismissed that petition, and this court affirmed on appeal. People v. Cashaw, No. 4-11-0167 (Apr. 11, 2012) (unpublished summary order under Supreme Court Rule 23(c)(2)).

         ¶ 6 In May 2014, defendant filed a motion for leave to file a successive postconviction petition, which is the subject of this appeal. The motion alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that the motion established neither cause nor prejudice. ¶ 7 This appeal followed.

         ¶ 8 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 9 Defendant argues, for the first time at any stage of these protracted proceedings, that his $200 domestic-violence fine must be vacated. According to defendant, the trial court did not have statutory authorization to impose that fine; therefore, he argues, the fine is void and may be attacked at any time.

         ¶ 10 The State concedes that the trial court lacked statutory authorization to impose the fine but argues that under Castleberry, the fine is not void and therefore cannot be challenged for the first time at this stage of the proceedings.

         ¶ 11 Defendant agrees with the State that under Castleberry, the domestic-violence fine in this case is not void and cannot be challenged in this appeal. However, defendant notes that Castleberry was decided after the conclusion of defendant's appeal of his criminal conviction and sentence. He argues that, therefore, Castleberry does not automatically apply "retroactively" to these collateral proceedings. As a result, defendant asks us to hold that Castleberry is inapplicable to this appeal-meaning that the "void-sentence rule" abolished by Castleberry still applies in full force to defendant's sentence-and to vacate the domestic-violence fine as void.

         ¶ 12 To resolve this appeal, we must decide the following issue of law: whether the holding of Castleberry may be applied in a collateral proceeding when the defendant is attacking a sentence imposed in an underlying case that concluded prior to Castleberry-in short, whether Castleberry applies ...


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