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People v. Ferral-Mujica

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

March 24, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ARMANDO FERRAL-MUJICA, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 11-CF-1235 Honorable Michael W. Feetterer, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE BIRKETT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hutchinson and Zenoff concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          BIRKETT JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Armando Ferral-Mujica, appeals from an order of the circuit court of McHenry County denying his motions to withdraw his guilty plea and reconsider his sentence. Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motions, where he pleaded guilty in reliance on his counsel's representation that the trial court expressly stated during an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402 (eff. July 1, 2012) conference that it would sentence defendant to a prison term between 8 and 12 years. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On December 22, 2011, defendant was indicted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a)(1) (West 2010)), one count of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(e)(1) (West 2010)), two counts of armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a) (West 2010)), one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(2) (West 2010)), and three counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(1), (c), (f)(1) (West 2010)).

         ¶ 4 The record reflects that the parties engaged in plea negotiations. On August 15, 2012, defense counsel, Daniel Hofmann, informed the trial court that a plea offer had been extended and he requested a continuance to consider the offer.

         ¶ 5 On October 24, 2012, defendant authorized Hofmann to participate in a conference pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(d) (eff. July 1, 2012) with the State and Judge Gordon Graham.

         ¶ 6 On November 29, 2012, the defense requested a one-week continuance. The State announced that it had no objection to one week but asked that it be the final continuance, because "the offer has been the same for a few months now. The defense has [sic] ample time to consider it. And if he's not inclined to accept it, we'd rather not delay any further but set the case for trial."

         ¶ 7 On December 6, 2012, defendant appeared in court. Hofmann advised the court:

"MR. HOFMAN [sic]: Your Honor, this is Mr. Armando Ferral-Mujica. He's here to present a resolution of the matters currently pending before you.
Where we are at is that he's going to admit the allegations in count III of the bill of indictment. He would plead guilty to the charge of aggravated battery, a Class X felony.
He knows he's facing a minimum of six to thirty years in prison on that offense, with a good time credit of 4.5 days for each month spent in custody. This would be a blind plea."

         ¶ 8 The factual basis for the plea established that, on a December evening in 2011, Jesus Agaton, the victim, was approached from behind by two Hispanic males-defendant and his brother-in the vestibule of his apartment building. One of the individuals was holding a machete and the other was holding a handgun. A struggle ensued and eventually moved to the parking lot. The man with the machete struck Agaton in the head and neck. At one point, the man with the machete accidently struck the other assailant. The man with the gun shot Agaton in the chest. The bullet did not penetrate the chest cavity, and Agaton survived. A wallet containing defendant's identification was found in the parking lot. Later that evening, defendant was seen with blood on his shirt, and his brother's head was bleeding.

         ¶ 9 Hofmann stipulated to the factual basis. Based on the stipulation, the trial court found the facts sufficient for a finding of guilty. Thereafter, the following colloquy occurred:

"THE COURT: ***
Sir, do you understand on your plea of guilty, you are pleading guilty to a charge that calls for penalties of six to thirty years in the penitentiary, and because it's alleged that there was a firearm that was used, that you would need to serve 85 percent of any sentence that is imposed?
Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: (By Interpreter) ...

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