from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock
Island County, Illinois, Circuit No. 06-CF-696 Honorable F.
Michael Meersman, Judge, Presiding.
Justices Lytton and Wright concurred in the judgment and
1 Defendant, Jason J. Thompson, appeals the denial of his
postconviction petition at the second stage of proceedings.
Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his
petition without holding an evidentiary hearing. We reverse
and remand for a third-stage evidentiary hearing.
3 Following a stipulated bench trial, defendant was found
guilty of two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS
5/9-1(a)(2), (a)(3) (West 2006)). The trial court sentenced
defendant to 60 years' imprisonment. At the sentencing
hearing, the trial court indicated that the two counts would
merge into one conviction. However, the written sentencing
order stated that defendant was sentenced to 60 years'
imprisonment on each count of first degree murder, to be
served concurrently. On direct appeal, we affirmed
defendant's conviction. People v. Thompson, No.
3-08-0132 (2009) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule
4 Defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition.
The petition argued that defendant's arrest was void and
his subsequent statements to the police should have been
suppressed because he was arrested without a warrant and held
for an unduly long period of time before his probable cause
hearing. The trial court found that defendant's pro
se petition presented the gist of a constitutional claim
and ordered that the petition be docketed for further
5 Defendant filed a pro se "Supplemented
Post-Conviction Petition" arguing that "Illinois
Revised Statutes, Ch38 [sic], sec. 109-1(a)"
was unconstitutional and void because it provided no legal
remedy for a violation of fourth amendment rights.
6 Defendant then filed an amended postconviction petition
through counsel. The petition argued that defendant received
ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.
Specifically, the petition argued that defendant's due
process rights were violated when (1) two first degree murder
judgments were entered against him for the murder of the same
individual and (2) the sentencing judge "based his
sentencing on his personal belief that people like the
defendant don't deserve mercy from the court and *** are
a real threat to society." The amended petition also
argued that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to
raise these issues. The amended petition also sought
"incorporation of the arguments contained within and the
Affidavits attached to [defendant's] pro se
Petition for Post-Conviction Relief."
7 Defendant then filed a pro se "Motion for
Leave to File Supplemental Claims in the Currently Pending
Amended Post-Conviction Petition." The motion alleged
that postconviction counsel failed to include several claims
in the amended petition that defendant believed to be
meritorious. Defendant argued that he should be able to
present all of his postconviction claims to the court even if
his postconviction counsel did not "agree" with all
of his claims.
8 Defendant also filed a pro se "Supplemental
Amended Post-Conviction Petition." The supplemental
petition argued that (1) trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to raise various objections to the photographic
lineups at the suppression hearing, (2) trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to raise a meritorious fourth
amendment claim based on defendant being held by the police
for an unduly long period of time before he was taken before
a judge for a probable cause hearing, and (3) section
109-1(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS
5/109-1(a) (West 2006)), which provided that a person
arrested for a crime shall be taken "without unnecessary
delay before the nearest and most accessible judge in that
county, " was unconstitutional in that it was vague and
ambiguous and provided no remedy for noncompliance.
9 On September 27, 2013, the trial court held a "second
stage hearing." The trial court stated that it had read
the trial transcript, the file, the amended postconviction
petition filed through counsel, and defendant's various
pro se filings. The trial court said it would
consider defendant's pro se supplemental claims
even though postconviction counsel did not adopt them. Both
postconviction counsel and the assistant State's Attorney
stated that they did not wish to present any evidence.
10 After hearing arguments, the trial court dismissed the
amended petition. The trial court found that only one
conviction for first degree murder had been entered and that
the sentencing judge did not err in sentencing defendant to
60 years' imprisonment. The trial court also denied
relief based on defendant's pro se supplemental
claims. Postconviction counsel filed a notice of appeal on
behalf of defendant.
11 Defendant filed a pro se motion to reconsider.
The motion alleged that postconviction counsel filed a notice
of appeal without consulting defendant. The motion argued
that the trial court erred in dismissing the postconviction