from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria
County, Illinois, Circuit No. 13-CF-1075 Honorable Kevin W.
Lyons, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Carter and Justice Holdridge
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant, Blair A. Johnson, appeals the trial court's
denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea following
his conviction for home invasion. Specifically, defendant
argues that his plea was not knowing, voluntary, and
intelligent because plea counsel allegedly failed to advise
him that agreeing to a sentencing cap would bar him from
appealing his sentence. We affirm.
3 Defendant was charged with home invasion (720 ILCS
5/19-6(a)(3) (West 2012)) in that he knowingly entered the
residence of Ronald and Mari Halliday with reason to know
that one or more persons were present while armed with a
handgun and threatened the imminent use of force upon Ronald.
Defendant was also charged with two counts of armed robbery
(id. § 18-2(a)(2)) (one for each victim), two
counts of aggravated unlawful restraint (id. §
10-3.1(a)) (one for each victim), and residential burglary
(id. § 19-3(a)).
4 Defendant pled guilty to home invasion in exchange for the
State's agreement to a sentencing cap of 40 years'
imprisonment and the dismissal of the remaining charges. The
court stated: "And People are agreeing to a cap of 40.
It would normally be 45, is that correct?" The
prosecutor replied: "That is correct." The court
admonished defendant regarding his rights.
5 The court asked defendant if he was satisfied with his
attorney's representation. Defendant replied, "Not
really, but I'll have to deal with it." The court
asked defendant what he meant, and defendant said, "I
just don't feel like I was represented right." The
court took a 20-minute break for defendant to discuss the
matter with his attorney. After the recess, plea counsel
stated that defendant did not want him to withdraw. Defendant
said that was correct. Plea counsel said that defendant was
not upset with his representation. Rather, defendant was
upset with the State's plea offer and believed plea
counsel should have negotiated him a better deal. Plea
counsel explained that the State had only offered the 40-year
sentencing cap and would not budge. The court asked defendant
again if he was satisfied with his attorney's
representation, and defendant said yes. Defendant stated he
wished to proceed with the partially negotiated plea.
6 The court read the home invasion charge from the indictment
and asked defendant if he understood the charge he was
pleading guilty to. Defendant said yes. The following
"THE COURT: Now, this is a special Class X felony in
that it is a class- we call Class X plus 15. That means the
minimum mandatory prison sentence is 21 years. And normally a
Class X plus 15 would be 21 to 45 but because of your
partially negotiated plea agreement calls for a cap of 40
years in the Department of Corrections, your sentence will be
an exact term between 21 and 40 years, and when you are
released it will be followed immediately by mandatory
supervised release of three years. Do you understand that,
THE DEFENDANT: Yes."
court continued admonishing defendant as to the trial rights
he was relinquishing by pleading guilty.
7 The State read the factual basis for the plea. The State
stated that Ronald and Mari Halliday told a police officer
that they were sleeping in their home on the night of the
incident. After 2 a.m., the Hallidays were awoken by two
unknown black males wearing ski masks. Both men were armed
with handguns and held flashlights. The two men told the
Hallidays to roll over or they would be killed. The men tied
up Ronald's hands and feet. Approximately one hour later,
the men tied up Mari. Ronald and Mari could hear other people
downstairs. The incident lasted over two hours. At least one
of the men stayed inside the bedroom with the Hallidays the
entire time. The men laughed about the Hallidays living in a
gated community. They held the barrels of their handguns to
the Hallidays' heads. The men told the Hallidays that if
they reported the incident to the police, they would come
back and kill them. The Hallidays heard at least four other
individuals in their home throughout the incident. After the
men left, the Hallidays fled to a neighbor's house and
called the police. The Hallidays determined that the men had
taken several items of property from their residence,
including jewelry and televisions.
8 The State said that Perry Rosetto told the police that he
and several other individuals, including defendant, were
involved in the Halliday home invasion. Rosetto reported that
he and defendant were involved in tying up the Hallidays. The
State said that it would call Ahmed Malik as a witness. Malik
had purchased items from ...