from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 14CF17 Honorable
William O. Mays, Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court,
with opinion. Justices Holder White and Pope concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant, Richard D. Lewis, appeals his September 2014
conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine
precursors in violation of section 120(a) of the
Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
(Community Protection Act) (720 ILCS 646/120(a) (West 2012)).
On appeal, defendant argues (1) the State failed to prove he
knowingly purchased, owned, or otherwise possessed a product
he knew to contain a methamphetamine precursor; (2) section
120 of the Community Protection Act violates due process by
potentially punishing wholly innocent conduct with a felony
conviction; (3) section 120 of the Community Protection Act
defines unlawful possession of a methamphetamine precursor as
a felony while section 40 of the Methamphetamine Precursor
Control Act (Precursor Act) (720 ILCS 648/40 (West 2012))
defines unlawful possession of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine
as a misdemeanor, thereby violating due process, equal
protection, and the proportionate penalties clause of the
Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 11);
and (4) the $100 methamphetamine law enforcement fine
assessed against defendant should be vacated because
defendant's conduct does not meet the requirements
necessary to assess that fine.
2 The State responds (1) it met its burden to convict
defendant under section 120(a) of the Community Protection
Act by showing defendant knowingly purchased a medication
that contained pseudoephedrine; (2) section 120 of the
Community Protection Act does not encompass wholly innocent
conduct and therefore is not overbroad and does not violate
due process; and (3) the Community Protection Act and the
Precursor Act have different purposes and punish different
conduct and therefore do not violate due process, equal
protection, or the proportionate penalties clause. Finally,
the State concedes the $100 methamphetamine law enforcement
fine assessed against defendant should be vacated. We affirm
in part and vacate in part.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 During a stipulated bench trial in September 2014,
defendant was found guilty of one count of unlawful
possession of methamphetamine precursors in violation of
section 120(a) of the Community Protection Act, a Class 4
felony (720 ILCS 646/120(a), (b) (West 2012)). The stipulated
facts at the bench trial follow. Defendant was previously
convicted under the Community Protection Act in Adams County
case No. 11-CF-387. Defendant admitted he, without a
prescription, purchased one box of Smart Sense 12-hour
decongestant, a product containing pseudoephedrine, on
December 31, 2013, at a Kmart pharmacy in Quincy, Illinois.
In addition to defendant's confession, there was video
surveillance showing defendant making said purchase. Based on
these stipulated facts, the trial court found defendant
guilty of unlawful possession of a methamphetamine precursor
in violation of section 120(a) of the Community Protection
5 Pursuant to the negotiated agreement between defendant and
the State, the trial court sentenced defendant to one year in
prison and one year of mandatory supervised release. The
court assessed, inter alia, a $100 methamphetamine
law enforcement fine. In September 2014, defendant timely
filed a notice of appeal challenging his conviction in
sufficient compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 606
(eff. Feb. 6, 2013).
6 II. ANALYSIS
7 On appeal, defendant challenges his conviction, arguing the
State failed to meet its burden to convict by proving he
purchased a product he knew contained a methamphetamine
precursor. Defendant also challenges the constitutionality of
section 120 of the Community Protection Act on due process,
equal protection, and proportionate penalties grounds.
Finally, defendant argues the $100 methamphetamine law
enforcement fine should be vacated because he was not
convicted of possessing or delivering methamphetamine with
the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
8 At the outset, we acknowledge our supreme court has
repeatedly held courts should attempt to resolve cases on
nonconstitutional grounds before proceeding to constitutional
analyses. In re E.H., 224 Ill.2d 172, 178, 863
N.E.2d 231, 234 (2006). Accordingly, we will consider
defendant's nonconstitutional arguments first and only
proceed to his constitutional challenges if necessary.
9 A. Defendant's Nonconstitutional Arguments
10 Defendant makes two nonconstitutional arguments. First,
defendant argues the State failed to meet its burden to
convict under section 120(a) of the Community Protection Act.
Second, defendant asserts he is ineligible for the $100
methamphetamine law enforcement fine assessed against him by
the trial court.
111. Application of Section 120 of the Community
12 Defendant's argument asserting the State failed to
demonstrate he knowingly purchased a methamphetamine
precursor presents a question of statutory construction.
Questions of statutory construction are reviewed de novo.
People v. Molnar, 222 Ill.2d 495, 508, 857 N.E.2d 209,
13 Section 120(a) of the Community Protection Act reads:
"Whenever any person pleads guilty to, is found guilty
of, or is placed on supervision for an offense under this
Act, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court,
no such person shall thereafter knowingly purchase, receive,
own, or otherwise possess any substance or product containing
a methamphetamine precursor as defined in Section 10 of this
Act, without the methamphetamine precursor first being
prescribed for the use of that person in the manner provided
for the prescription of Schedule II ...