Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Thomas

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

December 22, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHRISTIAN DIOR THOMAS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County No. 14CF617 Honorable Robert L. Freitag, Judge Presiding.

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

          OPINION

          DeArmond Justice

         ¶ 1 In January 2015, the trial court found defendant, Christian Dior Thomas, guilty of armed robbery with a firearm and aggravated vehicular hijacking. At the March 2015 sentencing hearing, the court sentenced defendant to 26 years in prison on the aggravated vehicular hijacking conviction.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, defendant argues (1) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and (2) the trial court erred by not conducting an inquiry under People v. Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (1984). We affirm.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In June 2014, a grand jury indicted defendant on single counts of armed robbery with a firearm (count I) (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2) (West 2014)) and aggravated vehicular hijacking (count II) (720 ILCS 5/18-4(a)(4) (West 2014)). In count I, the State alleged defendant committed the offense of armed robbery with a firearm when he knowingly took property, a Chevrolet Tahoe, by threatening the use of imminent force while armed with a firearm. In count II, the State alleged defendant committed the offense of aggravated vehicular hijacking when he knowingly took a motor vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, by threatening the imminent use of force while carrying a firearm on or about his person.

         ¶ 5 Following a January 2015 bench trial, the trial court found defendant guilty on both counts. In March 2015, during the sentencing hearing, it was determined that defendant could be sentenced on only one count because of the one-act, one-crime rule, and the State asked for a judgment on the aggravated-vehicular-hijacking conviction. The court informed the parties it believed the sentence would be served at 50% because the State did not allege or prove great bodily harm (730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(iii) (West 2014)), but it was willing to hear arguments from both sides. The State agreed it did not plead great bodily harm, nor would the evidence support a finding of great bodily harm. Defense counsel stated he originally "had no doubt that it was an 85 percent sentence, " but upon reviewing the statute, he agreed the court was correct in its assessment of the sentence. After further discussion and arguments on aggravating and mitigating factors, the court sentenced defendant to 11 years with a 15-year add-on in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

         ¶ 6 After the sentencing hearing, defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a motion to reconsider the sentence. The trial court deemed the motion for a new trial untimely and denied the motion to reconsider the sentence. This appeal followed.

         ¶ 7 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 8 A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         ¶ 9 Defendant argues he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney told him the plea offers would be served at 85%, which was not possible given the pleadings in the bill of indictment. We disagree.

         ¶ 10 A defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is analyzed under the two-pronged test set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). People v. Henderson, 2013 IL 114040, ¶ 11, 989 N.E.2d 192. To prevail on such a claim, "a defendant must show both that counsel's performance was deficient and that the deficient performance prejudiced the defendant." People v. Petrenko, 237 Ill.2d 490, 496, 931 N.E.2d 1198, 1203 (2010). To establish deficient performance, the defendant must show his attorney's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. People v. Evans, 209 Ill.2d 194, 219, 808 N.E.2d 939, 953 (2004) (citing Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687). "Effective assistance of counsel refers to competent, not perfect representation.' " Id. at 220 (quoting People v. Stewart, 104 Ill.2d 463, 491-92, 473 N.E.2d 1227, 1240 (1984)). Mistakes in trial strategy or tactics do not necessarily render counsel's representation defective. See People v. Kyse, 220 Ill.App.3d 971, 974, 581 N.E.2d 285, 287 (1991) (finding defense counsel's decision not to tender an affirmative defense of voluntary intoxication was a trial tactic and did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel).

         ¶ 11 To establish the second prong of Strickland, "[a] defendant establishes prejudice by showing that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different." People v. Houston, 229 Ill.2d 1, 4, 890 N.E.2d 424, 426 (2008). A "reasonable probability" has been defined as a probability, which would be sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of the trial. Id. "A defendant must satisfy both prongs of the Strickland test and a failure to satisfy ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.