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People v. Boyd

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

April 4, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GABRIEL BOYD, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County.No. 13-CF-882 Honorable Robert B. Haida, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Ellen J. Curry, Deputy Defender, Richard J. Whitney, Assistant Appellate Defender, Attorneys for Appellant

          Hon. Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, Patrick Delfino, Director, David J. Robinson, Acting Deputy Director, Kelly M. Stacey, Staff Attorney Attorneys for Appellee

          JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Barberis and Justice Chapman concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          GOLDENHERSH JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 This appeal arises from an order of the circuit court of St. Clair County that denied defendant's motion to withdraw plea of guilty to the offense of armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(1) (West 2012)). In his motion, defendant argued his plea was not knowing and voluntary because his plea counsel was ineffective. For the following reasons, we reverse the circuit court's order denying defendant's motion to withdraw plea of guilty, vacate defendant's conviction and sentence, and remand this cause with directions to allow defendant to plead anew.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Defendant, Gabriel Boyd, pled guilty to a single count of armed robbery, a Class X felony, on May 15, 2014, pursuant to a fully negotiated plea agreement in which defendant agreed to a sentence of 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, with 3 years of mandatory supervised release. See 720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(1) (West 2012). In exchange for defendant's guilty plea, the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office (State) dismissed three other counts against him. After admonishing defendant and finding a factual basis for the plea, the court concluded there were no improper promises or inducements that caused defendant to plead guilty and accepted the plea as voluntary.

         ¶ 4 Defendant filed a pro se motion to reconsider sentence on June 2, 2014, alleging that the sentence imposed was excessive and his plea counsel was ineffective. Because defendant's motion alleged ineffective assistance of counsel and defendant had already entered a guilty plea, the trial court construed defendant's motion as a motion to withdraw the guilty plea and appointed the public defender to represent defendant in all postplea proceedings. The appointed public defender filed a motion to withdraw plea of guilty on September 26, 2014, asserting (1) defendant's plea of guilty was not voluntary because defendant's plea counsel was ineffective, (2) defendant did not fully understand the potential sentence he faced, and (3) defendant did not understand the nature of the charges against him. The motion to withdraw plea of guilty further asserted defendant had a defense worthy of consideration.

         ¶ 5 A hearing on defendant's motion was held on October 1, 2014. At the hearing, defendant testified his plea counsel informed him that in exchange for a plea of guilty, defendant may be eligible to enter certain programs in prison which would allow him to receive credit for good time against his sentence. However, after he arrived at the Department of Corrections, defendant testified he discovered he was ineligible to receive any type of good time credit because his case involved a Class X felony. Defendant testified that if he had known he was ineligible to receive good time credit prior to pleading guilty, it would have "changed [his] mind on pleading guilty." On cross-examination, defendant testified the trial judge asked him a number of questions prior to defendant pleading guilty, including whether defendant had been promised anything other than the plea negotiations and whether anyone threatened him. Defendant testified he had not been promised anything and was not threatened.

         ¶ 6 Plea counsel also testified at the hearing. He testified that he and defendant had a number of conversations about the nature of the charges brought against defendant and the State's plea offers. Plea counsel testified he did not promise defendant that he would be eligible for good time credit, meritorious service credit, or credit obtained through programs in the Department of Corrections. He also testified he spoke with defendant about the potential for programs in the Department of Corrections but denied ever telling defendant he would be guaranteed acceptance into those programs or that the programs would reduce defendant's time. He testified that he "absolutely" never made any promises or used threats or coercion to convince defendant to plead guilty and that defendant knew trial was always an option up until the day he pled guilty.

         ¶ 7 On cross-examination, plea counsel testified that when talking to defendant about the amount of time he would have to serve, he told defendant his sentence may be cut in half if he received day for day good time credit. He testified he also discussed that defendant may receive an initial six-month credit. He further testified that he talked to defendant in general regarding educational programs that may result in a reduction of time, but nothing specific as to the amount of time or whether there would actually be a reduction of time. In rebuttal, defendant testified, "It was kind of absolutely a promise that I would be able to get into some programs and I would be able to get some good time if I completed the programs."

         ¶ 8 The court entered an order on October 9, 2014, denying defendant's motion to withdraw plea of guilty. The court noted the crux of the motion related to defendant's claim that his counsel promised him the opportunity to earn additional good time credits against his sentence after transfer to the Department of Corrections. However, based upon the testimony and a transcript of defendant's plea, the court found no improper promises relating to good time credit or ...


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