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People v. Dalton

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

February 14, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GEOFFREY C. DALTON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 08CF623 Honorable William O. Mays, Judge Presiding.

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Turner and Justice Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 In May 2009, defendant, Geoffrey C. Dalton, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(4) (West 2006)). The trial court sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

         ¶ 2 In June 2010, defendant filed a petition for postconviction relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1(f) (West 2010)), alleging that he was subject to an indeterminate term of Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR), which he argued was different from the term of MSR contained in his plea agreement. The trial court appointed counsel for defendant and ultimately dismissed defendant's amended postconviction petition. This court affirmed that decision on appeal. People v. Dalton, No. 4-10-1033 (May 7, 2012) (unpublished summary order under Supreme Court Rule 23(c)(2)).

         ¶ 3 In October 2014, defendant filed a motion for leave to file a successive postconviction petition, arguing that postconviction counsel had failed to comply with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c) (eff. Dec. 1, 1984). The trial court denied the motion.

         ¶ 4 Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying his motion for leave to file a successive postconviction petition. We disagree and affirm.

         ¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 A. The Charges and Guilty Plea

         ¶ 7 In February 2009, the State charged defendant-a high school teacher-with four counts of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(4) (West 2006)) and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(d) (West 2006)), alleging that on four separate occasions, he had sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 18.

         ¶ 8 At a May 2009 hearing, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault. As part of the plea agreement, the parties agreed that the maximum sentence defendant could receive would be 10 years in prison. The following exchange then occurred between the trial court and the State:

"[THE STATE]: The defendant, of course, would be subject to mandatory supervised release, I believe, of three years and would have to register, of course, as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
[THE COURT]: I have got a Class 1 as being two years, unless it is-
[THE STATE]: I may be wrong on that, judge. I just assumed. My recollection was that X's and 1's are three, but I stand corrected. That's the ...

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