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People v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 12, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CARLOS A. JACKSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Knox County, Illinois, Circuit No. 14-CF-47 Honorable Paul L. Mangieri, Judge, Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice McDade specially concurred, with opinion. Justice O'Brien concurred in part and dissented in part, with opinion.

          OPINION

          HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Carlos A. Jackson, appeals from his conviction arguing that the charging instrument was deficient. In addition, the defendant contends that the Sex Offender Registration Act (the Act) (730 ILCS 150/3(b) (West 2014)) and other related statutes applicable to sex offenders (collectively, the SORA statutory scheme) are unconstitutional.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 The State charged the defendant with "Unlawful Failure to Register as a Sex Offender."

         The information alleged:

"defendant, a sex offender required to register every 90 days, knowingly failed to register in accordance with the provisions of the Sex Offender Registration Act with the chief of police of Galesburg, Illinois, within 90 days of his last registration on November 12, 2013, after having been convicted of Unlawful Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Knox County Case 08 CF 402 in violation of 730 ILCS 150/3(b)."

         ¶ 4 At the defendant's bench trial, Becky Grohmann, an administrator for the Galesburg police department, testified that the defendant began registering with the Galesburg police department in 1996 as a result of a Michigan conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. According to Grohmann, the defendant was required to register every 90 days with the Galesburg police department. To accomplish this, the defendant needed to appear at the police department and sign a form to register every 90 days. The defendant was told on the date of registration the deadline for the next 90-day period. The defendant registered on November 12, 2013, and signed a sex offender registration form with the police department. The defendant was required to register again by February 10, 2014. The defendant failed to register before February 10, 2014, and was arrested on February 17, 2014, when he appeared at the police station to register.

         ¶ 5 The November 12, 2013, sex offender registration form was admitted into evidence. The form includes a list of duties that the offender is required to initial. One duty is that the defendant was required to "register" again in person with the police department within 90 days. The defendant's initials appear next to this duty. The form includes a line bearing the defendant's signature after the statement, "I have read and/or had read to me, the above requirements. It has been explained to me and I understand my duty to register next on or before 02-10-2014."

         ¶ 6 The defendant testified on his own behalf. The defendant admitted that he failed to register by February 10, 2014, because he believed he had a 10-day grace period.

         ¶ 7 Ultimately, the circuit court found the defendant guilty and sentenced the defendant to three years' imprisonment.

         ¶ 8 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 9 On appeal, the defendant argues that his conviction is void because the State failed to charge him with an offense. The defendant also argues that the SORA statutory scheme is unconstitutional. We discuss each argument in turn.

         ¶ 10 I. The Charging Instrument

         ¶ 11 The defendant argues deficiencies in the charging instrument render his conviction void for lack of jurisdiction. The State concedes the information erroneously cited section 3 of the Act (730 ILCS 150/3(b) (West 2014)), while the factual allegations made in the information describe a violation of section 6 of the Act (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2014)). In addition, the State concedes the information used the word "register" instead of "report" as defined in section 6 of the Act (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2014)). However, the State argues that these deficiencies do not render the defendant's conviction void.

         ¶ 12 Section 111-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (the Code) (725 ILCS 5/111-3 (West 2014)) requires that the charging instrument cite "the statutory provision alleged to have been violated." However, "the mere reference in a charging instrument to an incorrect chapter or section of a statute is regarded as a formal rather than a substantive defect." People v. McBrien, 144 Ill.App.3d 489, 495 (1986). Formal defects do not require reversal unless the defendant establishes prejudice from the defect. Id. "Only where the defendant demonstrates prejudice will the mere fact that a criminal complaint contains an incorrect citation to the criminal statute be grounds for dismissal of the conviction." People v. Melton, 282 Ill.App.3d 408, 415 (1996).

         ¶ 13 It is well-settled that where a charging instrument is challenged in a pretrial motion, the charging instrument will be dismissed if it does not strictly comply with the requirements of section 111-3 of the Code. E.g., People v. Rowell, 229 Ill.2d 82, 93 (2008). It is equally well-settled that where an indictment is challenged for the first time on appeal, a defendant must show prejudice in the preparation of his defense. People v. Davis, 217 Ill.2d 472, 479 (2005). In that context, an information will be deemed "sufficient if it apprised the accused of the precise offense charged with sufficient specificity to prepare his defense and allow pleading a resulting conviction as a bar to future prosecution arising out of the same conduct." People v. Gilmore, 63 Ill.2d 23, 29 (1976).

         ¶ 14 In this case, the defendant is raising a challenge to the charging information for the first time on appeal. He is therefore required to show resulting prejudice in the preparation of his defense. The defendant, however, has put the full force of his argument on appeal behind the legal theory that his conviction is void and he is not obligated to show prejudice in the preparation of his defense. He makes no ...


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