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People v. McGuire

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

November 22, 2017

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CODY R. McGUIRE, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County No. 11CF65 Honorable Joshua Aaron Meyer, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Knecht and Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In April 2011, the State charged defendant, Cody R. McGuire, with attempt (first degree murder) (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a)(1) (West 2010)), aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1) (West 2010)), aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(a) (West 2010)), and first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2010)). Jury selection for defendant's trial began in March 2015. During voir dire, the trial court asked whether the prospective jurors "disagreed" with the Zehr principles as codified in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 431(b) (eff. July 1, 2012). The court asked the State and defense counsel whether they believed that the prospective jurors had "been properly admonished as far as Zehr principles." See People v. Zehr, 103 Ill.2d 472, 476, 469 N.E.2d 1062, 1063-64 (1984). The State and defense counsel responded in the affirmative.

         ¶ 2 In March 2015, the jury found defendant guilty of second degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm and not guilty of aggravated battery.

         ¶ 3 In May 2015, the trial court vacated defendant's conviction for second degree murder as a lesser-included offense of aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced him to 17 years in prison for aggravated battery with a firearm. The court did not impose any specific fines when sentencing defendant. Nonetheless, the circuit clerk assessed against defendant a $20 violent-crime fee, a $50 anti-crime-fund fine, a $10 medical-costs fine, a $15 state-police-operations fee, and a $5 court-assessment fee.

         ¶ 4 Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court failed to properly question the jurors on the relevant Zehr principles, (2) his sentence was excessive, and (3) the fines imposed by the circuit clerk were improper. We conclude that (1) defendant affirmatively waived the improper questioning of the prospective jurors on the relevant Zehr principles, (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when sentencing defendant, and (3) the fines imposed by the circuit clerk must be vacated. Accordingly, we affirm in part and vacate in part. ¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 A. The State's Charges

         ¶ 7 In April 2011, the State charged defendant with attempt (first degree murder), aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated battery, and first degree murder. Defendant originally pleaded guilty to first degree murder and aggravated battery. However, defendant appealed and was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because his sentence for first degree murder was void. People v. McGuire, 2014 IL App (4th) 130083-U, ¶ 24. With his guilty plea withdrawn, defendant proceeded to a jury trial. ¶ 8 B. Voir Dire

         ¶ 9 Jury selection for defendant's trial began in March 2015. During voir dire, the trial court addressed prospective jurors as follows:

"THE COURT: The last group of questions that I'm going to ask are some principles that I have to read you by law, and I need for you all to listen closely because these are important.
The [d]efendant is presumed innocent until the jury determines after deliberation that the [d]efendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Does anyone disagree with this, and if you do[, ] please raise your hand? [The record] will show all fifteen [prospective jurors] were given an opportunity and none of them raised their hand.
The State has the burden of proving the [d]efendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Does anyone disagree with this rule of law? If you do, please raise your hand?
[The record] will show all fifteen have not raised their hand.
The [d]efendant does not have to present any testimony at all and may rely on the presumption of innocence.
Does anyone disagree with this rule of law, and if you do, please raise your hand.
[The record] will show all fifteen were given an opportunity, and they did not ...

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