Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Simms

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

May 12, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DARYL SIMMS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 85-CF-707 Honorable Daniel P. Guerin, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE SPENCE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Jorgensen and Schostok concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          SPENCE JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Daryl Simms, appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to reinstate a petition that he previously filed under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Postconviction Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2014)). The trial court ruled that the motion to reinstate was time-barred as a matter of law because defendant filed it more than one year after his postconviction petition was voluntarily dismissed. We conclude that the trial court had the discretion to grant the motion to reinstate if defendant sufficiently pleaded that the delay was not due to his culpable negligence. We therefore reverse and remand.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 9-1(a)), aggravated criminal sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 12-14(a)), criminal sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 12-13(a)), armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 18-2), home invasion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 12-11(a)), and residential burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 19-3(a)). He was sentenced to death. On direct appeal, the supreme court affirmed defendant's convictions but remanded for resentencing because the trial court had improperly allowed victim impact statements during sentencing. People v. Simms, 121 Ill.2d 259, 275-76 (1988). On remand, defendant elected to be sentenced by a jury, which found him eligible for the death penalty. In the resulting appeal, the supreme court again remanded the cause for resentencing, this time due to an improper jury instruction. People v. Simms, 143 Ill.2d 154, 171-72 (1991). Defendant was resentenced to death upon remand, and the supreme court affirmed on appeal. People v. Simms, 168 Ill.2d 176, 182 (1995).

         ¶ 4 Defendant filed a postconviction petition on November 14, 1995. With the trial court's leave, he filed an amended postconviction petition on May 21, 1997. The trial court dismissed the amended petition without an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, the supreme court affirmed the dismissal of most of the claims but reversed the dismissal of claims alleging perjury. People v. Simms, 192 Ill.2d 348, 392, 430 (2000). It remanded the cause for an evidentiary hearing. Id.

         ¶ 5 In January 2003, as part of a mass commutation of death sentences, then-Governor George Ryan commuted defendant's death sentence to life imprisonment. At the time, defendant's postconviction petition was still pending. On July 7, 2004, defendant filed a pleading entitled "Withdrawal of Claims" in which he expressed a desire to withdraw the remaining postconviction claims. Defendant stated that he was aware that, after withdrawing the claims, no evidentiary hearing would take place. Defendant further stated that he was withdrawing the claims freely and voluntarily, after having consulted with his postconviction counsel. The same day, the trial court entered an order stating: "Petitioner wishing to withdraw Claims III, IV and V of his Amended Petition, " those "[c]laims *** are withdrawn [and] no further proceedings remain pending in this court."

         ¶ 6 On October 18, 2011, defendant filed a petition under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2010)), seeking reinstatement of his postconviction petition. He argued that the July 7, 2004, order disposing of his remaining postconviction claims was void because: (1) the State coerced him into withdrawing his petition, by stating that it would seek reinstatement of the death penalty if he succeeded on his postconviction challenge, (2) his postconviction counsel and the State fraudulently concealed that the courts would likely decide that the reimposition of the death penalty would be unlawful, and (3) the procedure through which the withdrawal took place was unlawful. The trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss the section 2-1401 petition as untimely. On appeal, the Office of the State Appellate Defender sought to withdraw as counsel pursuant to Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987), and People v. Lee, 251 Ill.App.3d 63 (1993). We granted the motion to withdraw, stating that (1) a due-process violation did not ipso facto imply a void judgment and (2) no other exception to section 2-1401's two-year limitations period applied. People v. Simms, 2013 IL App (2d) 120204-U ¶¶ 11-14 (summary order).

         ¶ 7 On July 1, 2014, defendant filed a motion to reinstate his postconviction petition; the trial court's ruling on that motion is the subject of the instant appeal. As part of the motion, defendant reasserted the postconviction claims that the supreme court had determined merited an evidentiary hearing. On July 22, 2014, the trial court ordered the State to file a response to the motion and ordered defendant to thereafter file a reply. The State argued in its response that the trial court should deny defendant's motion because under People v. English, 381 Ill.App.3d 906 (2008), and People v. Macri, 2011 IL App (2d) 100325, a postconviction petition could not be reinstated more than one year after it was voluntarily withdrawn. In his reply, defendant argued, inter alia, that his situation was distinguishable from Macri because the supreme court had remanded some of his postconviction claims for an evidentiary hearing and because section 122-5 of the Postconviction Act (725 ILCS 122-5 (West 2014)) allowed the trial court to extend the time for filing pleadings.

         ¶ 8 On September 8, 2014, the trial court denied defendant's motion to reinstate as untimely pursuant to the cases cited by the State. The trial court denied defendant's motion to reconsider on October 21, 2014. This court granted defendant's motion for leave to file a late notice of appeal.

         ¶ 9 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 10 On appeal, defendant contests the trial court's denial of his motion to reinstate. As the trial court denied the petition as untimely as a matter of law, we review its ruling de novo. See English, 381 Ill.App.3d at 908.

         ¶ 11 We begin by examining English and Macri, the cases relied on by the trial court. In English, the defendant was granted leave to voluntarily dismiss his postconviction petition without prejudice. English, 381 Ill.App.3d at 907. He then sought to reinstate it within one year, but the trial court denied his motion. Id. On appeal, the court stated as follows. Section 122-5 of the Postconviction Act (725 ILCS 5/122-5 (West 2004)) gives the trial court the discretion to allow the voluntary withdrawal of a postconviction petition at any time before judgment is entered. English, 381 Ill.App.3d at 909. The voluntary withdrawal of a postconviction petition is the equivalent of a voluntary dismissal in a civil case. Id. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.