from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 04-CF-613 Honorable Stephen A.
Kouri Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant Martize M. Smolley was charged with first degree
murder and unlawful possession of a firearm when he was 15
years old. He was automatically transferred to adult court,
where a bench trial was held. Defendant was convicted of two
counts of felony murder and one count of unlawful possession
of a firearm. Defendant was originally sentenced to natural
life in prison but received a new sentencing hearing, where
the trial court sentenced him to a total of 65 years'
imprisonment. Defendant appeals, arguing that he is entitled
to a discretionary transfer hearing and a new sentencing
hearing. We deny defendant's request for a discretionary
transfer hearing but vacate his sentence and remand for a new
3 In 2004, when defendant Martize M. Smolley was 15 years
old, he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm
(720 ILCS 5/24-3.1(a)(1) (West 2004)) and four counts of
first degree murder (id. § 9-1(a)(2)&(3))
for killing Kelly Houser and her daughter, Amy Allen. He was
automatically transferred to adult court, pursuant to section
5-130 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS
405/5-130 (West 2004)).
4 In 2005, defendant's bench trial was held. At the
conclusion of the trial, the court found defendant guilty of
unlawful possession of a firearm and two counts of felony
murder. The trial court sentenced defendant to a mandatory
term of natural life in prison. Defendant appealed his
sentence, arguing that it violated the proportionate
penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution. We affirmed
defendant's sentence. See People v. Smolley, 375
Ill.App.3d 167 (2007).
5 In 2008, defendant filed a postconviction petition, again
challenging his sentence and also alleging ineffective
assistance of his trial and appellate counsel. The State
filed a motion to dismiss the petition, which the trial court
6 In 2013, defendant filed a pro se successive
postconviction petition, arguing that his mandatory natural
life sentence was unconstitutional. The trial court initially
denied the petition, and defendant filed a motion to
reconsider. The trial court granted defendant's motion to
reconsider, granted defendant leave to file a successive
postconviction petition, and appointed counsel to represent
defendant. In 2015, the State conceded that defendant's
natural life sentence was unconstitutional and that a new
sentencing hearing should be held.
7 A new sentencing hearing was held in August 2015. At the
conclusion of the hearing, the trial court stated:
"Okay. I've considered the presentence investigation
report, the evidence and arguments presented, the statement
made by the Defendant. I've considered the statutory
matters in aggravation and mitigation, the history and
character of the Defendant, the circumstances and nature of
I'm going to sentence the Defendant for each murder,
which I understand is consecutive-that's a major factor
in how I'm arriving at my decision. I'm going to
sentence the Defendant on each murder to 32 and one *** half
years for a total of 65 years. No day-for-day. He'll have
to serve 100 percent of that time. He'll get credit for
the time that he's got in."
filed a motion to reconsider his sentence, which the trial