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