from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. No. 13-CF-602,
Honorable William G. Schwartz, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate
Defender, Ellen J. Curry, Deputy Defender, Ian C. Barnes,
Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate
Attorneys for Appellee Hon. Michael Carr, State's
Attorney, Jackson County Courthouse; Patrick Delfino,
Director, David J. Robinson, Acting Deputy Director, Chelsea
E. Kasten, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's
Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.
GOLDENHERSH JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Chapman and Cates concurred in the judgment
HONORABLE RICHARD P. GOLDENHERSH, J. JUSTICES.
1 Defendant, Randy Etherton, appeals from a final judgment of
conviction of a single count of residential burglary, a Class
1 felony. 720 ILCS 5/19-3(a) (West 2012). He was sentenced as
a Class X offender due to his prior criminal convictions,
which carries a sentencing range of 6 to 30 years. 730 ILCS
5/5-4.5-25(a) (West 2012). Defendant was sentenced to 20
years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and was
ordered to serve 3 years mandatory supervised release.
2 On appeal, defendant argues the abuse of discretion
standard employed by Illinois courts in reviewing the
imposition of a sentence should be abandoned because it is
inconsistent with the Illinois Constitution, Illinois Supreme
Court Rule 615(b), and the Unified Code of Corrections (Code)
(730 ILCS 5/1-1-1 et seq. (West 2012)). Defendant
argues the gravity of determining the proper sentence to be
imposed is incongruent with such a narrow standard of review.
Alternatively, if this court does not abandon the abuse of
discretion standard, defendant alleges the trial court abused
its discretion by imposing a 20-year sentence for residential
burglary. Defendant contends his sentence was excessive in
light of the nature of the offense and the mitigating
3 Since we are bound by the abuse of discretion standard
employed in reviewing the imposition of a sentence and find
no abuse of discretion in the court's 20-year sentence,
we affirm. Wreglesworth v. Arctco, Inc., 316
Ill.App.3d 1023, 1030 (2000) (the appellate court is bound by
the principle of stare decisis and, therefore, must
adhere to the decisions of our supreme court). However, we
encourage our supreme court to revisit the concept discussed
in the dissent of People v. Perruquet, 68 Ill.2d 149
(1977), which is that sentences be reviewed not solely for an
abuse of discretion but also for whether the trial court
followed the constitutional and statutory guidelines.
5 On December 11, 2013, deputies with the Jackson County
sheriff's department were dispatched to 374 Pomona Road
in Pomona, Illinois, to investigate a report of burglary.
Upon arrival, the officers met with Katherine Fox, the
resident of that location. Fox informed the officers that
upon her arrival home from visiting her sister in Cape
Girardeau, Missouri, she observed a truck towards the end of
her driveway, which was stuck in the snow. Fox also observed
two other vehicles in the area assisting the truck. Fox
provided vehicle descriptions to the officers.
6 Fox stated that as she approached her residence, she
discovered the front door had been forced open. Fox
ultimately discovered jewelry items were missing from her
residence. The Marion police department subsequently located
defendant's vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.
Defendant was identified as the driver of the truck that was
stuck in Fox's driveway, and a passenger was identified
as James Webb. Defendant's vehicle was searched, and a
large number of jewelry items were discovered in
defendant's vehicle. Fox later identified these jewelry
items as the items that were missing from her residence and
also identified a Dremel tool that had been stolen from her
residence. Further, police discovered footwear impressions in
the snow near Fox's residence that were determined to be
consistent with the tread pattern of defendant's boots.
7 Following a jury trial held on April 2, 2014, defendant was
convicted of residential burglary, a Class 1 felony. 720 ILCS
5/19-3(a) (West 2012). Defendant was 34 years old at the time
the offense was committed. Due to his prior criminal
convictions, defendant faced a Class X sentencing range of 6
to 30 years. 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) (West 2012).
8 Defendant's sentencing hearing was held on July 2,
2014, where defendant called two witnesses to testify in
mitigation. The first witness called was defendant's
mother, Pam Ellis, who testified that defendant has a teenage
daughter whom he had grown close to after his release from
federal custody (defendant was in federal custody from 2003
to 2012 as a result of pleading guilty to conspiracy to
manufacture more than 50 grams of methamphetamine). Ellis
further testified that defendant helped her around the house
and that she needed defendant in her life. The second witness
called was defendant's fiancée, Michelle Rice, who
testified defendant had been living with her and her five
children for a couple months prior to the offense. Rice
testified defendant cared for her children as if they were
his own and stated defendant's incarceration would have a
difficult impact on her family. Rice testified defendant was
a good person who helped her financially.
9 Defendant also made a statement on his own behalf.
Defendant stated the greatest lesson he learned from this
incident is the "consequences and association with those
still living in a criminal lifestyle." Defendant stated
he was in the process of changing his lifestyle and was
"being looked at differently as a hard worker, provider,
father." Defendant requested that the court consider his
family and his achievements to change his life for the
better, which included his attendance ...