from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit No.
10-CF-2114, Will County, Illinois. Honorable Carla
Alessio-Policandriotes, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Wright specially concurred, with opinion.
Justice Lytton dissented, with opinion.
1 Defendant, Aaron Rios-Salazar, after being sentenced to 24
years for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child (720
ILCS 5/12-14.1(a)(1) (West 2010)), argues only that his
defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object to $57
in fines. We affirm.
3 Defendant pled guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault
of a child (720 ILCS 5/12- 14.1(a)(1) (West 2010)) for an
offense that occurred between February 1 and August 30, 2010.
In return, the State nol-prossed two counts of predatory
criminal sexual assault of a child, three counts of criminal
sexual assault, and one count of aggravated criminal sexual
assault. The circuit court sentenced defendant to 24
4 A cost sheet signed by the circuit court, bearing the
file-stamped date of July 24, 2015, appears in the record.
The cost sheet shows that the court imposed $1587 in
assessments, including a $100 Violent Crime Victims
Assistance Fund (VCVA) assessment and a $25 "house
fee." A separate document, which is unsigned and appears
to be a computer print-out, also lists the monetary
assessments. That document describes the $25 "house
fee" as "judicial facilitie[s]."
6 Defendant argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to object to the $25 judicial facilities fee and the
$100 VCVA assessment. He contends that the assessments
violated ex post facto principles and, had counsel
objected, the $25 judicial facilities fee would have been
vacated and the $100 VCVA assessment would have been reduced
to $68. Essentially, defendant's argument is that his
trial counsel was constitutionally deficient for failing to
object to $57 in improper fines. By challenging the fines on
the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel rather than
directly, defendant implicitly concedes that he forfeited the
issue. For the reasons stated below, we find no reason to
determine whether the contested charges are fines or fees,
appropriate or inappropriate.
7 To state a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, a
defendant must show that (1) counsel's performance was
deficient and (2) the deficient performance prejudiced
defendant. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668,
687 (1984). "In order to satisfy the
deficient-performance prong of Strickland, a
defendant must show that his counsel's performance was so
inadequate that counsel was not functioning as the
'counsel' guaranteed by the sixth amendment."
People v. Smith, 195 Ill.2d 179, 188 (2000).
8 Even accepting defendant's argument that $57 of his
fines were improper, we find that trial counsel's failure
to object to this de minimis amount of monetary
assesments did not constitute constitutionally deficient
performance. That is, counsel's failure to challenge $57
in allegedly improper fines did not render counsel's
performance "so inadequate that counsel was not
functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed by the sixth
amendment." Id. Not every mistake of counsel
constitutes deficient performance. People v. Easley,
192 Ill.2d 307, 344 (2000) ("[I]neffective assistance of
counsel refers to competent, not perfect,
representation."). In the instant case, defendant pled
guilty to a Class X felony and received a sentence of 24
years' imprisonment. Counsel's failure to object to
de minimis fines is simply not an error of
9 In reaching our holding, I note that there is no right to
counsel under the sixth amendment of the United States
Constitution in cases where a defendant is not sentenced to
imprisonment. Scott v. Illinois, 440 U.S. 367,
373-74 (1979). Even the statutory right to counsel in
Illinois, which is broader than the right to counsel
guaranteed by the sixth amendment, does not apply in cases
punishable by fine only. 725 ILCS 5/113-3(b) (West 2010). The
fact that there is no right to counsel in cases punishable
only by fines supports our holding that counsel's failure
to object to certain de minimis fines did not render
his representation of defendant constitutionally
11 For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the