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People v. Burnett

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

February 3, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TERRY L. BURNETT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Appeal No. 3-14-0837 Circuit No. 12-CF-113 Honorable David A. Brown, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices O'Brien and Carter concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          LYTTON, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Terry L. Burnett, appeals the summary dismissal of his postconviction petition arguing that the circuit clerk improperly assessed fines against him. We vacate the fines imposed by the circuit clerk.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 Defendant pled guilty to burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2012)) in exchange for a 6½-year sentence in this case and a 2½-year sentence in an unrelated case. The sentencing order entered a judgment for costs, but fines were not discussed as part of the plea and were not entered on either the sentencing order or the mittimus. Subsequently, defendant moved to withdraw his guilty plea, which the trial court denied as untimely.

         ¶ 4 Defendant filed a postconviction petition contesting his guilty plea and his sentence. The petition did not raise any issue with the fines and fees imposed against defendant. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition. Defendant filed a notice of appeal on October 14, 2014, from the dismissal of his postconviction petition.

         ¶ 5 A sheet titled "Case Transactions Summary" appears in the record. A certification on the transactions summary is dated December 8, 2014, is signed by the deputy circuit clerk, and bears the seal of the circuit court of Peoria County. This court stamped the transaction summary as "filed" the following day. The sheet indicates defendant does not currently owe any money. Each individual assessment is identified by name, but there is no citation to statutory authorization. The sheet lists the total assessments as $1046.50. The relevant assessments and corresponding titles include (1) $15 "State Police Operation Assistance Fund, " (2) $10 "State Police Services Fund, " (3) $32.50 "Surcharge-Lump Sum, " (4) $100 "Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund, " (5) $50 "Court Usage, " (6) $30 "Criminal Child Advocacy Center, " (7) $10 "Criminal Probation Operation Fees, " (8) $4.75 "Drug Court Fund" and $0.25 "Circuit Clerk Oper/Adm Fund, " (9) $10 "Drug Court Operation, " (10) $10 "Medical Costs Fund, " and (11) $10 "State's Attorney Juvenile Expenses" fee.

         ¶ 6 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 7 On appeal, defendant does not argue that the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his postconviction petition. Instead, he argues for the first time that this court should vacate the fines improperly assessed against him by the circuit clerk. The State makes no argument regarding the classification of the specific assessments defendant now challenges.

         ¶ 8 "Because the imposition of a fine is a judicial act, and the circuit clerk has no authority to levy fines, any fines imposed by the circuit clerk are void from their inception." People v. Larue, 2014 IL App (4th) 120595, ¶ 56. Upon review, we find that the following fines were imposed by the circuit clerk and are therefore void:

(1) $15 "State Police Operation Assistance Fund" (People v. Millsap, 2012 IL App (4th) 110668, ¶ 31);
(2) $10 "State Police Services Fund" (People v. Bell, 2012 IL App (5th) 100276, ΒΆ 42 (finding an identical methamphetamine ...

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