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People v. Ramsey

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 30, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DANIEL RAMSEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Hancock County, No. 96-CF-46 Illinois. The Honorable Rodney G. Clark, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Tiffany Boye Green, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Kwame Raoul, Attorney General, of Chicago (David L. Franklin, Solicitor General, and Michael M. Glick and Leah M. Bendik, Assistant Attorneys General, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices O'Brien and Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          McDADE JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Daniel Ramsey, was convicted of numerous criminal offenses for which he received the death penalty. While a postconviction petition was pending, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Ramsey amended his postconviction petition, alleging that Governor Pat Quinn violated his constitutional rights by failing to consider his young age and other mitigating factors. The circuit court granted the State's second-stage motion to dismiss the postconviction petition, ruling, inter alia, that an executive commutation could not be judicially reviewed. On appeal, Ramsey argues that the court erred when it dismissed his postconviction petition at the second stage. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 The facts of this case have been set out by our supreme court in People v. Ramsey, 239 Ill.2d 342 (2010). We repeat only those facts necessary for the disposition of this appeal.

         ¶ 4 Ramsey was convicted by a jury of two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a) (West 1996)), three counts of attempted murder (id. §§ 8-4(a), 9-1(a)), one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault (id. § 12-14(a)), one count of home invasion (id. § 12-11(1)), and one count of residential burglary (id. § 19-3(a)). He was 18 years old at the time he committed his crimes. He received the death penalty in addition to several prison terms.

         ¶ 5 On appeal to the supreme court, his convictions were reversed, and the case was remanded for a new trial. People v. Ramsey, 192 Ill.2d 154 (2000).

         ¶ 6 On remand, Ramsey pled guilty to the intentional and felony murders of two individuals, the attempted murder of three individuals, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and home invasion. At sentencing, he once again received the death penalty in addition to several prison terms. On appeal to the supreme court, his convictions and sentences were affirmed. Ramsey, 239 Ill.2d 342.

         ¶ 7 In February 2011, Ramsey filed a pro se postconviction petition. While that motion was pending, in March 2011, the death penalty was abolished in Illinois. Subsequently, Governor Pat Quinn commuted Ramsey's death sentence to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole.

         ¶ 8 Ramsey amended his postconviction petition and argued, inter alia, that the commutation of his sentence violated his constitutional rights under the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution and the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution in that the new sentence failed to consider his young age and other mitigating factors.

         ¶ 9 Ramsey's petition was advanced to the second stage of postconviction proceedings, in which the State filed a motion to dismiss. The circuit court granted the State's motion, ruling, inter alia, that ...


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