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People v. Brace

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

May 26, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CASEY L. BRACE, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 14CF143 Honorable William O. Mays, Judge Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          TURNER PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In January 2015, defendant, Casey L. Brace, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine precursors without a prescription while having a previous methamphetamine conviction. In March 2015, the trial court sentenced her to one year in prison. In April 2015, defendant filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea, which the court granted. In a May 2015 stipulated bench trial, the court found defendant guilty and reimposed the one-year sentence.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, defendant argues the State's evidence at her stipulated bench trial failed to prove a necessary element of the charged offense. We affirm.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In March 2014, the State charged defendant by information with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine precursors without a prescription under section 120 of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act (Act) (720 ILCS 646/120 (West 2014)). Therein, the State alleged she knowingly purchased or possessed products containing pseudoephedrine without a prescription and she had been previously convicted of the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine in June 2006.

         ¶ 5 In July 2014, defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming she was never made aware that, given her previous conviction, her purchase or possession of pseudoephedrine was illegal. Defendant argued the law prohibiting possession of pseudoephedrine without a prescription by individuals with another conviction under the Act "should be considered to be ex post facto." In September 2014, the trial court denied the motion.

         ¶ 6 In January 2015, defendant pleaded guilty in return for a sentencing cap of three years. The State's factual basis was as follows:

"Your Honor, if this matter had proceeded to trial the People would present a certified copy of her conviction in 06-CF-101, which was for the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
This conviction was after the effective date of the Methamphetamine Community Control and Protection Act, thereby making it illegal for her to purchase pseudoephedrine. The People would show by a number of means, numerous purchases of pseudoephedrine; specifically, on January 26th, 2014, her purchase of pseudoephedrine at Walgreens located at 18th and Broadway in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. That would include a video of her being at the Walgreens store.
There is a copy of the receipt for her purchase of Wal-Phed D-tabs, which are a pseudoephedrine product. Again, we would have the NPLEx [(National Precursor Log Exchange)] pill logs to show that purchase, along with 18 other purchases in Adams County and one block, since the effective date of the statute. She also made 110 total purchases, not only in this county, but in other counties."

         The court accepted the State's factual basis and defendant's guilty plea.

         ¶ 7 In March 2015, the trial court sentenced defendant to one year in prison, with credit for one day served. Thereafter, defendant filed a notice of appeal. In April 2015, defendant filed a motion to strike the notice of appeal and withdraw her guilty plea. Defendant contended she was incorrectly ...


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