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People v. Barefield

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

July 30, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL C. BAREFIELD, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois, Circuit No. 11-CF-2287 Honorable Sarah-Marie F. Jones, Judge, Presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Peter A. Carusona, and Jay Wiegman, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Ottawa, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Jasmine D. Morton, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          McDADE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Michael C. Barefield, appeals the dismissal of his petition for relief from judgment filed under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2016)). Defendant argues that his conviction for armed habitual criminal should be vacated because his prior conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW) was void ab initio and could not serve as a predicate offense. Defendant also argues that his two convictions for AUUW under different case numbers should be vacated because they are void ab initio. We reverse the dismissal of defendant's section 2-1401 petition and remand the matter with directions.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Defendant was charged with the offense of armed habitual criminal (720 ILCS 5/24- 1.7(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2010)). The indictment alleged:

"[D]efendant possessed a firearm, to wit: a Hi-Point .45 caliber handgun, after having been twice convicted of the combination of offenses of [AUUW] in Will County under docket number 2006 CF 661 in violation of Section 21-2 of Act 5 of Chapter 720 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, [1] and Aggravated Robbery, a forcible felony, in Will County under docket number 2006 CF 1945 in violation of 18-5 of Act 5 of Chapter 720 of the Illinois Compile[d] Statutes."

         Defendant was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (id. § 24-1.1(a)) in that he possessed a handgun having been previously convicted of AUUW in Will County case No. 06- CF-661.

         ¶ 4 Defendant entered a fully negotiated plea agreement in which he pled guilty to armed habitual criminal in exchange for a sentence of eight years and six months' imprisonment and the dismissal of the charge of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

         ¶ 5 Defendant filed a pro se petition for relief from judgment under section 2-1401 of the Code. In his petition, defendant stated that his conviction for armed habitual criminal was predicated on his convictions in Will County case Nos. 09-CF-2316, 06-CF-1945, and 06-CF-661. Defendant stated that two of the predicate offenses were convictions for AUUW and the AUUW statute had been held to be facially unconstitutional.[2] Defendant requested that the court vacate his conviction for armed habitual criminal because it was predicated on offenses that were void ab initio.

         ¶ 6 The State filed a combined motion to dismiss under sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-615, 2-619 (West 2016)). The motion to dismiss argued that defendant's section 2-1401 petition failed to state a cause of action because it could be rejected based on the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in People v. McFadden, 2016 IL 117424. The State also argued that defendant's section 2-1401 petition was untimely.

         ¶ 7 Defendant filed a motion for leave to amend his section 2-1401 petition. In his proposed amended petition, defendant argued that his convictions for AUUW in Will County case Nos. 09-CF-2316 and 06-CF-661 should be vacated in addition to his conviction for armed habitual criminal in the instant case. Defendant argued that his AUUW convictions were void ab initio and his armed habitual criminal conviction was also void.

         ¶ 8 A hearing was held on the State's motion to dismiss and defendant's motion to amend his section 2-1401 petition. The State argued that if defendant sought to vacate his AUUW convictions, he needed to do so by filing pleadings in those cases. The State also argued that pursuant to the holding in McFadden, defendant's armed habitual criminal conviction was not void even if the predicate offense was void. ...


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