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People v. Todd

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 9, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMES R. TODD, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Whiteside County, Illinois. Circuit No. 07-CF-188, Honorable Trish A. Joyce, Judge, Presiding.

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

          Attorneys for Appellee: Terry A. Costello, State's Attorney, of Morrison (Patrick Delfino and Thomas D. Arado, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          SCHMIDT PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and Lytton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          SCHMIDT PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, James R. Todd, appeals from the Whiteside County circuit court's summary dismissal of his pro se postconviction petition. Defendant argues that the court erred in dismissing his petition because it presented an arguable claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On February 25, 2008, defendant entered an open guilty plea to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 2006)). The factual basis for the plea reported that an undercover officer purchased an ounce of cocaine from defendant for $1000. The court accepted defendant's guilty plea and released defendant on bond.

         ¶ 4 Before the sentencing hearing, the State prepared a presentence investigation report (PSI). The criminal history section of the PSI stated that defendant had five prior felony convictions.

         ¶ 5 On May 27, 2010, defendant appeared with counsel for the sentencing hearing. Before the court pronounced defendant's sentence, the court found, in aggravation, that (1) defendant had a significant history of criminal activity and (2) a prison sentence was necessary to deter others from committing the same crime. The court further said:

"The other factor that I simply can't ignore is the, is the, frankly the significant amount of cocaine that was sold here, and I'm not going to ignore it. That, that tells me that this is something more than just a casual, a casual deal, and especially in light of the history, and you can read into that whatever you feel you need to read into it." The court sentenced defendant to 25 years' imprisonment.

         ¶ 6 On direct appeal, private attorney Demitrus Evans filed a brief on behalf of defendant. Counsel raised four issues: (1) defendant received ineffective assistance of trial counsel where counsel led him to believe that his plea agreement included a 10-year sentencing cap, (2) defendant's guilty plea was not knowingly or voluntarily entered, (3) defendant was denied the benefit of the bargain that he made with the State, and (4) the court violated defendant's right to due process when it denied his motion to vacate a directed finding. People v. Todd, 2012 IL App (3d) 110624-U, ¶ 2. We affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence. Id. ¶ 26.

         ¶ 7 On December 19, 2016, defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition. The petition alleged four claims: (1) posttrial counsel provided ineffective assistance, (2) appellate counsel was ineffective, (3) the court violated defendant's right to due process, and (4) the court deprived defendant of his right to due process when it considered the amount of cocaine as an aggravating factor at sentencing. The court found the claims in defendant's petition to be frivolous ...


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