23 order filed January 16, 2018
to publish allowed March 1, 2018
from the Circuit Court of Kane County, No. 12-CF-1853; the
Hon. T. Clint Hull, Judge, presiding.
Michael J. Pelletier, Thomas A. Lilien, and Vicki P. Kouros,
of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for
H. McMahon, State's Attorney, of St. Charles (Patrick
Delfino, Lawrence M. Bauer, and Diane L. Campbell, of
State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of
counsel), for the People.
HUDSON PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court,
with opinion. Justice Burke concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Justice Jorgensen specially concurred, with opinion.
1 Defendant, Thomas Taylor, was charged with two counts of
unlawful use of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(7)(ii) (West
2010)) and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon
(id. § 24-1.6(a)(1)) for knowingly possessing
and selling a short-barreled shotgun. The matter proceeded to
a stipulated bench trial, following which the court found
defendant guilty and sentenced him to 30 months'
probation. Defendant appeals, contending that the stipulated
bench trial was equivalent to a guilty plea, but that he did
not receive the admonishments required by Illinois Supreme
Court Rule 402(a) (eff. July 1, 2012). We affirm.
2 Defendant was indicted after he sold a sawed-off shotgun to
a confidential informant. Defendant moved to dismiss counts I
and II, alleging that section 24-1(a)(7)(ii) of the Criminal
Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(7)(ii) (West 2010)) was
unconstitutional. The trial court denied the motion.
Defendant filed a separate motion to dismiss count III,
arguing that section 24-1.6 had been declared
unconstitutional in People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL
112116. The court never ruled on the motion, but the State
nol-prossed that count.
3 Defendant waived his right to a jury trial, and the matter
was set for a bench trial. On the trial date, defense counsel
advised the court that the trial would take place via
stipulation. The court then questioned defense counsel as
"THE COURT: ***
And based upon the motions, this is not a stipulation where
you're stipulating and admitting or stipulating that the
evidence would be sufficient to find guilt, you're just
stipulating to the facts and asking the Court to make that
MR. SPARKS [DEFENSE COUNSEL]: I believe so, yes. Yes."
4 The court continued the cause to July 14, 2015. On that
date, the parties presented the court with a seven-page
stipulation. The prosecutor also introduced as exhibits the
shotgun, a shotgun shell, two audio recordings, and a video
recording of the transaction. The court questioned defendant
about the stipulation. Defendant said that he had read it,
that he understood that it meant that none of the witnesses
would testify or be cross-examined, and that he agreed with
this strategy. The court asked defendant if he ...