from the Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 16CM1074
Honorable John R. Kennedy, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Paul M. McCarthy,
and Mariah K. Shaver, of State Appellate Defender’s
Office, of Springfield, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Julia Rietz, State’s Attorney,
of Urbana (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Melissa
Schwoerer, of State’s Attorneys Appellate
Prosecutor’s Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE DeARMOND delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In March 2017, defendant, Chaleah Burge, pleaded guilty to
one count of theft, and the trial court sentenced her to
conditional discharge. Later that month, defendant filed a
motion to withdraw her guilty plea and to vacate the
judgment, which the court denied.
2 On appeal, defendant argues the trial court erred in
denying her motion to withdraw her guilty plea. We affirm.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 In November 2016, the State charged defendant by
information with one count of theft, a Class A misdemeanor
(720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(1)(A), (b)(1) (West 2016)), alleging she
knowingly exerted unauthorized control over property of Jane
Bond, namely United States currency having a value not in
excess of $500, intending to permanently deprive her of the
use or benefit of the property.
5 On March 20, 2017, defendant entered a fully negotiated
guilty plea to the charged offense. Prior to accepting her
guilty plea, the trial court admonished defendant pursuant to
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(a) (eff. July 1, 2012).
According to the State's factual basis, Bond had
undergone knee replacement and was receiving home care from
defendant, who worked for Help At Home. On or about September
1, 2016, Bond and defendant ran errands, and Bond cashed a
$280 check. While Bond went into a store, she left her purse
in the vehicle with defendant. After running more errands,
Bond discovered the money was missing.
6 The trial court accepted defendant's guilty plea.
Thereafter, the court sentenced her to 12 months'
conditional discharge, imposed various fines and fees, and
ordered her to complete an online shoplifting education
7 Ten days after pleading guilty, defendant filed a motion to
withdraw her guilty plea and to vacate the judgment, claiming
it was not voluntarily entered. Defendant asserted she was
afraid of losing her job if she continued missing work for
court proceedings and felt pressured to plead guilty to
resolve the case and maintain her employment. She claimed she
was unaware she would lose her job if she pleaded guilty.
Further, she stated the trial court did not inform her of the
collateral consequences of a theft conviction on her ability
to obtain and retain employment as required by section 113-4
of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS
5/113-4 (West 2016)), which was in effect when she pleaded
guilty. As a result of her guilty plea, defendant lost her
8 In May 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on
defendant's motion. Defendant testified she was 23 years
old. She is licensed as a certified nursing assistant and had
been employed at Aging In Place on the day she pleaded
guilty. On March 28, 2017, defendant was informed by her
employer that the State had notified it of her theft
conviction. Defendant was fired because of her conviction and
had been unable to find additional employment in home health
care. She testified she did not realize she would lose her
job by pleading guilty and would not have done so had she
9 In its ruling, the trial judge stated he considered section
113-4 of the Code, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402 (eff July
1, 2012), and various cases. The judge stated, in part, as
"I think that the statute that the defendant cites is
directory. There are no direct, immediate and automatic
consequences under the court's control that deal with
employment. What Rule 402 is about is advising the defendant
of those constitutional rights that she has that are involved
with the criminal process and that she is made aware of and
then is advised giving up through the entry of a plea of
guilty. It's clear that this is done in a voluntary
fashion by- according to the record, that this is done in a
voluntary fashion by [defendant]. She was advised, as she was
supposed to be, by Supreme Court Rule 402 of the nature of
the charge, the range of penalties and those essential
constitutional rights that are in Rule 402. That is the right
to require the presumption of innocence, the right to require
proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the right to confront and
cross [-] examine witnesses, the right to proceed to trial,
trial by jury or trial by judge, the right to present
witnesses and evidence on your behalf, [and] the right to
testify or choose not to testify. Those are the fundamental
constitutional rights that are at issue when someone enters a
plea of guilty and those [defendant] was advised of.
That's what's consistent with Rule 402. So, in
addition to the statute being one that's directory, the
consequences that I believe on the facts [defendant] did
suffer are collateral. ***
The supreme court has decided what's-what a person has to
be advised of when they enter a plea of guilty. That is not
what's in the, the statute. And I, I think it's
correct that the legislature cannot add to what's
constitutionally required by the supreme court rule.
So really the, the question then becomes, because I think the
statute cannot be imposed on the court, it is directory
rather than mandatory and it does deal with collateral
consequences. To say they're collateral doesn't mean
they're not important because these things are important.
Housing, employment, the ability to have an occupational
license or a firearm, driver's license are important.
They're not trivial. These are important things.
That's- I think that's why the statute addresses it.
But they are collateral."
Rule 402 is designed to inform defendants of the
constitutional issues involved in pleading guilty, the judge
believed adding other issues "runs the risk of
essentially watering down the explanation of rights that
someone receives because what they're supposed to be
advised of [are] those constitutional rights that a criminal
defendant has at the time of entry of the plea. And
that's what was done."
10 The trial judge also considered whether a manifest
injustice occurred in defendant's plea of guilty,
i.e., whether there was a misapprehension of facts
or law or where there was doubt as to defendant's guilt
and whether justice would be better served through a trial.
The judge found nothing to indicate defendant misapprehended
the facts or the law of the case or that there was any doubt
as to her guilt. As a result of his findings, the judge
denied defendant's motion. This appeal followed.
11 II. ANALYSIS
12 Defendant argues the trial court erred in denying her
motion to withdraw her guilty plea because the court's
failure to admonish her as required by section 113-4 of the
Code violated a mandatory statutory provision or,
alternatively, because accepting the plea after the
inadequate admonishments resulted in a manifest injustice. We
13 A. Section 113-4(c) of the Code
14 Initially, we question whether section 113-4(c) of the
Code even applies in this case. In effect at the time of
defendant's guilty plea in this case, section 113-4 of
the Code (725 ILCS 5/113-4 (West 2016)) provided, in part, as
"(a) When called upon to plead at arraignment, the
defendant shall be furnished with a copy of the charge and
shall plead guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty.
(b) If the defendant stands mute a plea of not guilty shall
be entered for him and the trial shall proceed on such plea.
(c) If the defendant pleads guilty such plea shall not be
accepted until the court shall have fully explained to the