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People v. Hudson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

November 21, 2017

ROBERT HUDSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County, No. 04-CF-2005; the Hon. Carla Alessio-Policandriotes, Judge, presiding.

          Sarah L. Bakker, Jeffrey R. Carroll, Michael P. Doss, and Daniel M. Greenfield, of Sidley Austin LLP, of Chicago, for appellant.

          James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Marie Q. Czech and Colleen M. Griffin, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Holdridge and Justice Carter concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 The defendant appeals a trial court order rejecting a plea deal that was reoffered by the State on remand after a federal habeas court found that the defendant had received ineffective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 In 2004, the defendant, Robert Hudson, was indicted for armed robbery, a Class X felony (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2) (West 2004)), and three counts of unlawful restraint, Class 4 felonies (720 ILCS 5/10-3(a) (West 2004)), arising from the act of robbing a truck stop and restraining three of the employees. A public defender was appointed to represent the defendant, and an investigator with the Will County public defender's office interviewed the defendant and completed a "Public Defender's Investigative Sheet" that appears to demonstrate defendant's dishonesty about his criminal history. The sheet indicates that the defendant admitted to three previous convictions for murder, theft, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. It also appears that the defendant denied using an alias. That interview took place on December 28, 2004. A month later, Hudson's counsel received a copy of the LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System) criminal history report, which was generated using Hudson's fingerprints. That criminal history report showed that a person with Hudson's fingerprints had no less than six criminal convictions and had used both an alias name and date of birth. Based on the contents of the LEADS criminal history report, the defendant would have been subject to mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of the offenses arising out of the truck stop robbery, as a habitual criminal, pursuant to the Criminal Code of 1961 (formerly 720 ILCS 5/33B-1 et seq. (West 2004) (repealed by Pub. Act 95-1052, § 93 (eff. July 1, 2009))).

         ¶ 4 Despite the LEADS criminal history report, defense counsel informed the defendant that, if convicted, the defendant was subject to an extended-term sentence of 6 to 60 years because of his previous Class X felony murder conviction. Following an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402 (eff. July 1, 1997) plea discussion conference, defense counsel informed the defendant that he would most likely receive a sentence of 44 years if convicted, and he would be eligible for good-time credit. Prior to trial, the State offered the defendant some plea deals, including a 20-year sentence, an 18-year sentence on a Class 1 felony, and finally, a 17-year sentence on a Class X felony. The defendant rejected each offer. Then, while the jury was deliberating, the State offered the defendant a 16-year sentence, which the defendant also rejected. The jury found the defendant guilty of armed robbery and unlawful restraint.

         ¶ 5 Following the defendant's conviction, the trial court ordered the preparation of a presentence investigation, and the probation officer determined that the defendant had two prior Class X felonies, making the defendant subject to a mandatory life sentence due to the armed robbery conviction, the defendant's third Class X felony conviction. The defendant filed a pro se motion for a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel and the trial court's failure to admonish regarding the life sentence. The trial court appointed new counsel, who filed another motion for a new trial, asserting that trial counsel failed to conduct an adequate investigation of the defendant's criminal history and thus failed to advise the defendant of the true consequences of a decision to plead not guilty. The motion asserted that the defendant would have accepted the 16-year plea deal had he been correctly informed.

         ¶ 6 After a hearing on the motion, the trial court denied the motion and sentenced the defendant to natural life in prison. The defendant appealed, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations. This court affirmed the defendant's convictions and sentence, finding that the misinformation was the result of the defendant's own subterfuge. People v. Hudson, No. 3-07-0596 (2009) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). The defendant sought leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, but the petition was denied. People v. Hudson, 233 Ill.2d 578 (2009) (table).

         ¶ 7 Thereafter, the defendant filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2010)). In his postconviction petition, the defendant argued that he was not eligible for sentencing as a habitual criminal. He also argued that his trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective for failing to raise this issue and for failing to argue that his sentence violated the ex post facto clauses of the United States and Illinois Constitutions. The trial court found that the defendant's constitutional claims were waived because they could have been raised on direct appeal, and the rest of defendant's arguments were substantially without merit. The defendant's petition was summarily dismissed and the defendant appealed. This court affirmed the dismissal. People v. Hudson, 2012 IL App (3d) 100485-U.

         ¶ 8 The defendant then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2000), claiming that this court unreasonably concluded that he was not denied the right to the effective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations. The federal district court conditionally granted the defendant's habeas petition, finding that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to advise the defendant that he was subject to a mandatory life sentence. Hudson v. Harrington, No. 13 C 00678, 2014 WL 4244255 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 27, 2014), enforcement denied sub nom. Hudson v. Butler, No. 13 C 00678, 2016 WL 3742848 (N.D. Ill. July 13, 2016), aff'd sub nom. Hudson v. Lashbrook, 863 F.3d 652 (7th Cir. 2017). The federal court explained that in cases involving ineffective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations, there are two kinds of prejudice that criminal defendants can suffer. The first arises where a defendant was offered a lesser sentence on a charge, rejected the plea offer, and then was convicted on the same charge. In that situation, the "state trial 'court may exercise discretion in determining whether the defendant should receive the term of imprisonment the government offered in the plea, the sentence he received at trial, or something in between.' " Hudson, 2014 WL 4244255, at *9 (quoting Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U.S. 156, 171 (2012)). "The second form of prejudice arises where 'resentencing alone will not be full redress for the constitutional injury. If, for example *** a mandatory sentence confines a judge's sentencing discretion after trial, a resentencing [based] on the conviction at trial may not suffice.' " (Emphasis added.) Id. (quoting Lafler, 566 U.S. at 171). The federal district court concluded that the remedy for the sixth amendment violation pursuant to Lafler was to direct the State to reoffer the 20-year deal, to a charge that would not trigger mandatory life imprisonment. Assuming the defendant accepted the offer, " 'the state trial court [could] then exercise its discretion in determining whether to vacate the convictions and resentence [defendant] pursuant to the plea agreement, to vacate only some of the convictions and resentence [defendant] accordingly, or to leave the convictions and sentence from trial undisturbed.' " Id. (quoting Lafler, 566 U.S. at 174).

         ¶ 9 Pursuant to the order from the federal district court, the State reoffered the 20-year plea deal to the charge of attempted armed robbery, a Class 1 felony, a charge that would not trigger mandatory life imprisonment. The defendant accepted the offer. The trial court, though, after reviewing the materials in the case as if there was never a trial, rejected the plea deal and said it would not have accepted it in 2005. The trial court maintained the defendant's prior ...

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