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People v. Scott

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

November 7, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
REGINALD SCOTT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 15CF179 Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Judge Presiding.

          KNECHT JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Turner and Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          KNECHT JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Reginald Scott, appeals from the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. On appeal, defendant argues (1) this court should remand his case to allow defense counsel the opportunity to file a corrected certificate under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (eff. Dec. 3, 2015) because his August 2015 certificate does not strictly comply with the rule's December 2015 amendment and (2) he is entitled to a $5-per-day credit toward his fines. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand with directions.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On February 3, 2015, the State charged defendant by information with three counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3) (West 2014)). On May 12, 2015, defendant pleaded guilty to count II (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2014)), the State dismissed the other counts, and the State agreed to a sentence cap of 60 years in prison.

         ¶ 4 On July 1, 2015, the trial court sentenced defendant to 55 years in prison (with a credit for 149 days for time spent in presentence custody), and defendant moved to withdraw his plea on July 24, 2015. On August 20, 2015, defense counsel filed a certificate under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (eff. Dec. 11, 2014) stating, in relevant part, as follows: "I have consulted with the defendant in person to ascertain contentions of error in the entry of the plea and contentions of error in the sentence, and have examined the trial court file and the report of proceedings of the plea of guilty. I have made any amendments to the motion necessary for adequate presentation of any defects in those proceedings."

         ¶ 5 On September 16, 2015, the trial court denied the motion.

         ¶ 6 This appeal followed.

         ¶ 7 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 8 On appeal, defendant argues (1) defense counsel's August 2015 certificate failed to strictly comply with Rule 604(d)'s December 2015 amendments and this court must remand his case for the filing of a corrected certificate and (2) he is entitled to $5-per-day credit toward his fines. The State concedes the first issue. As to the second issue, the State agrees defendant is entitled to $5-per-day credit but disagrees as to whether the credit applies toward the court finance fee. We address each of these contentions in turn. ¶ 9 A. Rule 604(d)

         ¶ 10 Rule 604(d) governs the procedures a defendant must follow when he wishes to appeal from a judgment entered upon a plea of guilty. The rule requires defense counsel to file a certificate stating he followed the certificate's prescribed requirements. Defense counsel must strictly comply with the certificate requirements, and if counsel fails to do so, we will remand to the trial court for such compliance. People v. Cooper, 2011 IL App (4th) 100972, ¶¶ 12-16, 960 N.E.2d 53.

         ¶ 11 In this case, at the time defense counsel filed his August 2015 Rule 604(d) certificate, Rule 604(d) imposed the following certificate requirements on defense counsel: "The defendant's attorney shall file with the trial court a certificate stating that the attorney has consulted with the defendant either by mail or in person to ascertain defendant's contentions of error in the sentence or the entry of the plea of guilty, has examined the trial court file and report of proceedings of the plea of guilty, and has made any amendments to the motion necessary for adequate presentation of any defects in those proceedings." Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(d) (eff. Dec. 11, 2014).

         ¶ 12 Rule 604(d) was amended on December 3, 2015, to require, for the first time, counsel to certify he or she has examined "the report of proceedings in the sentencing hearing, " not just the report of proceedings of the entry of the plea. Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(d) (eff. Dec. 3, 2015). The issue presented for our review is whether the December 2015 amendment to Rule 604(d) applies retroactively to defense counsel's ...


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