People v. McFadden

Citation61 N.E.3d 74,406 Ill.Dec. 470
Decision Date16 June 2016
Docket NumberNo. 117424.,117424.
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant, v. Onaffia McFADDEN, Appellee.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

61 N.E.3d 74
406 Ill.Dec.
470

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant,
v.
Onaffia McFADDEN, Appellee.

No. 117424.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

June 16, 2016.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 26, 2016.


61 N.E.3d 76

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Michelle Katz and John E. Nowak, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, and Pamela M. Rubeo, Assistant Appellate Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, of Chicago, for appellee.

OPINION

Justice THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

406 Ill.Dec. 472

¶ 1 This case involves an appeal from a conviction for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (UUW by a felon). 720 ILCS 5/24–1.1(a) (West 2008). The conviction was based on defendant Onaffia McFadden's possession of a firearm at a time when he had been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW). The appellate court vacated the conviction for UUW by a felon based on this court's decision in People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, 377 Ill.Dec. 405, 2 N.E.3d 321, which declared section 24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the AUUW statute unconstitutional and void ab initio. 2014 IL App (1st) 102939, ¶ 43, 380 Ill.Dec. 259, 8 N.E.3d 429. For the following reasons, we reverse that part of the appellate court judgment and reinstate defendant's UUW by a felon conviction.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In December 2002, defendant, then 17 years old, was indicted in Cook County case No. 02CR 30903 on six counts of AUUW for the events that transpired on November 21, 2002, involving two separate firearms. One count alleged that he carried in a vehicle, outside the home, a .38–caliber handgun which was “uncased, loaded and immediately accessible” in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) (West

61 N.E.3d 77

2002); one count alleged that he carried in a vehicle, outside the home, a .38–caliber handgun without a valid FOID card in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) (West

406 Ill.Dec. 473

2002); one count alleged that he carried in a vehicle, outside the home, a .38–caliber handgun while under 21 years of age in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(I) (West 2002); one count alleged that he carried in a vehicle a 9–millimeter handgun which was “uncased, loaded and immediately accessible” in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) (West 2002); one count alleged that he carried in a vehicle a 9–millimeter handgun without a valid FOID card in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) (West 2002); and one count alleged that he carried in a vehicle a 9–millimeter handgun while under 21 years of age in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(I) (West 2002).

¶ 4 Thereafter, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of AUUW in exchange for the dismissal of the other five counts, and he was sentenced to one year of probation. There is no confirmation in the record as to which count of AUUW defendant pleaded guilty or as to the factual basis for the plea. Defendant subsequently violated the terms of his probation, was again sentenced to one year of probation, and was ordered to complete boot camp. His probation was ultimately terminated unsatisfactorily. In 2005, defendant was convicted of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, a felony, and was sentenced to six years in prison.

¶ 5 Subsequently, in March 2008, defendant was charged in separate cases with multiple counts of armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18–2(a)(2) (West 2008)), AUUW (720 ILCS 5/24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A); (a)(2), (a)(3)(A); (a)(1), (a)(3)(C); (a)(2), (a)(3)(C) (West 2008)), and UUW by a felon “having been previously convicted of the felony offense of [AUUW] under case number 02CR–30903” (720 ILCS 5/24–1.1(a) (West 2008)).

¶ 6 The cases were joined and proceeded to a bench trial. The evidence established that defendant robbed three different victims at gunpoint within a 24–hour period. For purposes of the UUW by a felon charges, defendant stipulated that he “has previously been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of [a] weapon under Case No. 02 CR 30903.” The court admonished defendant regarding his understanding that a stipulation is an agreement, and defendant acknowledged that he understood that he was agreeing that he had a prior conviction for AUUW.

¶ 7 The Cook County circuit court found defendant guilty of three counts of armed robbery and two counts of UUW by a felon. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 29 years for each armed robbery conviction, which included 15–year mandatory sentencing enhancements, and a concurrent sentence of 10 years for the UUW by a felon convictions. His motion to reconsider his sentence was denied.

¶ 8 On appeal, defendant's convictions and sentences for armed robbery were affirmed. 2014 IL App (1st) 102939, ¶ 53, 380 Ill.Dec. 259, 8 N.E.3d 429. With respect to the UUW by a felon convictions, the appellate court vacated one of the convictions based on one-act, one-crime principles. Id. ¶ 29. With respect to the remaining conviction, defendant argued that it must be vacated because it was based on his prior 2002 felony conviction of AUUW, which arose from a statute that was held to be facially unconstitutional in People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, 377 Ill.Dec. 405, 2 N.E.3d 321. 2014 IL App (1st) 102939, ¶ 36, 380 Ill.Dec. 259, 8 N.E.3d 429. The appellate court held that it was “bound to apply Aguilar and vacate defendant's remaining

406 Ill.Dec. 474
61 N.E.3d 78

UUW by a felon conviction because the State did not prove an essential element of the offense where it alleged in the charging instrument and proved at trial a predicate offense that has been declared unconstitutional and void ab initio.Id. ¶ 43.

¶ 9 The State subsequently filed a petition for leave to appeal in this court, which we allowed. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2013). Defendant has cross-appealed, contending that he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing on his 29–year prison sentence for armed robbery.

¶ 10 ANALYSIS

¶ 11 1. The Validity of Defendant's UUW by a Felon Conviction

¶ 12 In Aguilar, on appeal from the defendant's conviction for AUUW, this court held that section 24–1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the AUUW statute—which prohibited the carrying outside the home of a firearm which is uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible—was facially unconstitutional under the second amendment of the United States Constitution. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, ¶ 22, 377 Ill.Dec. 405, 2 N.E.3d 321 ; People v. Burns, 2015 IL 117387, ¶ 21, –––Ill.Dec. ––––, ––– N.E.3d ––– – (clarifying our holding in Aguilar ). As a result, we reversed the defendant's conviction for AUUW. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, ¶ 22, 377 Ill.Dec. 405, 2 N.E.3d 321.

¶ 13 Subsequently, courts have been grappling with the legal effect of our decision in Aguilar as it relates to various circumstances. In this appeal, unlike the defendant in Aguilar, defendant is not seeking to vacate his 2002 conviction for AUUW. Rather, defendant contends that the State failed to prove all of the essential elements necessary to sustain his 2008 conviction for the offense of UUW by a felon. 720 ILCS 5/24–1.1(a) (West 2008). Accordingly, defendant contends that his 2008 conviction for UUW by a felon must be vacated.

¶ 14 The UUW by a felon statute makes it unlawful for a person to knowingly possess a firearm “if the person has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this State or any other jurisdiction.” 720 ILCS 5/24–1.1(a) (West 2008). This court has explained that to prove the prior felony conviction, the prosecutor need only establish “the defendant's felon status.” People v. Walker, 211 Ill.2d 317, 337, 285 Ill.Dec. 519, 812 N.E.2d 339 (2004). Our statute “does not require proof of a specific felony conviction.” Id.

¶ 15 In this case, the fact of defendant's prior felony conviction was established when defendant chose to stipulate to his felon status by agreeing that he “ha[d] previously been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of [a] weapon under Case No. 02 CR 30903.” It is well settled that a stipulation is “an agreement between parties or their attorneys with respect to an issue before the court” (People v. Woods, 214 Ill.2d 455, 468, 293 Ill.Dec. 277, 828 N.E.2d 247 (2005) ), and a defendant may, by stipulation, waive the necessity of proof of all or part of the State's case against him (People v. Polk, 19 Ill.2d 310, 315, 167 N.E.2d 185 (1960) ). When made, a stipulation is “ ‘conclusive as to all matters necessarily included in it’ [citation] and ‘[n]o proof of stipulated facts is necessary, since the stipulation is substituted for proof and dispenses with the need for evidence’ [citation].” Woods, 214 Ill.2d at 469, 293 Ill.Dec. 277, 828 N.E.2d 247. Thus, a defendant is generally precluded from attacking or contradicting the stipulation. Id.

¶ 16 Nevertheless, defendant argues that he should be relieved of his stipulation regarding the fact of his felon...

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