The People Of The State Of Ill. v. Morris

Citation236 Ill.2d 345,338 Ill.Dec. 863,925 N.E.2d 1069
Decision Date22 March 2010
Docket Number106592.,No. 105989,105989
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,v.James MORRIS, Appellant.The People of the State of Illinois, Appellee,v.Jesse Holborow, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Patricia Unsinn, Deputy Defender, and Rebecca I. Levy, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, for appellant in No. 105989.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, Chicago (James E. Fitzgerald, Alan J. Spellberg and Sarah L. Simpson, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People in No. 105989.

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Gary R. Peterson, Deputy Defender, and Michael Delcomyn, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Springfield, for appellant in No. 106592.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, Chicago (Michael A. Scodro, Solicitor General, and Michael M. Glick, Erica Seyburn, Assistant Attorneys General, Chicago, of counsel), for the People in No. 106592.

OPINION

Chief Justice FITZGERALD delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

In this consolidated appeal, defendants, James Morris and Jesse Holborow, contest the first-stage dismissals of their respective postconviction petitions. Defendant Morris entered a negotiated plea of guilty in the circuit court of Cook County to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault in exchange for concurrent sentences of 30 years. Defendant Holborow entered a negotiated plea of guilty in the circuit court of Livingston County to home invasion with great bodily harm to the victim, theft, and criminal trespass to a vehicle in exchange for the dismissal of four other charges and a 16-year term of imprisonment with concurrent terms of 3 years and 364 days. In their pro se postconviction petitions, defendants each asserted that they were not informed that they would be required to serve terms of mandatory supervised release (MSR) in addition to their sentences and, therefore, did not receive the benefit of their negotiated plea agreements.

The appellate court affirmed in both matters, finding that defendants' postconviction claims were frivolous and patently without merit, as the records showed that defendants received admonishments that substantially complied with Supreme Court Rule 402 (177 Ill.2d R. 402) and otherwise satisfied due process. Morris, No. 1-06-2036 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23); People v. Holborow, 382 Ill.App.3d 852, 322 Ill.Dec. 754, 892 N.E.2d 1. We granted leave to appeal and consolidated defendants' cases. 210 Ill.2d R. 315. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court with respect to both defendants.

BACKGROUND
James Morris

Following a negotiated guilty plea, Morris was convicted of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault against two different victims, S.B. and C.M. The State's evidence demonstrated that Morris lived in the same apartment building as the victims and was acquainted with each of their husbands. By virtue of that acquaintance, Morris tricked the women into opening their front doors, and then forced his way into their apartments. While inside, he dragged, struck, and sexually assaulted the victims. Morris opted to plead guilty pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement rather than proceed to trial.

At the May 7, 1998, plea hearing, the trial court was advised that an agreement had been reached between the parties. Defense counsel outlined the agreement, stating, “Just so we are clear, * * * [w]e enter pleas of guilty pursuant to the plea agreement. Pursuant to that agreement all counts on each of those indictments will be nolled. Those pleas are entered with the understanding the sentence would be thirty years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.” The trial court then admonished Morris as follows:

“These are Class X felony charges in the State of Illinois. And Class X felonies in the State of Illinois carry with it possible punishment of six to thirty years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, plus three years of mandatory supervised release. There is no provision for periodic imprisonment. There is no provision for periodic probation or conditional discharge. You could be fined up to $10,000 on each of these matters. Do you understand the possible punishment?”

Morris responded, “Yes.” After further admonishments, the trial court asked, “Knowing the nature of the charges against you and the possible penalties, the legal rights that you have, do you still wish to plead guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault in both of these indictments?” Morris answered, “Yes.” The trial court accepted Morris' plea and proceeded to sentencing. The trial court did not mention MSR during sentencing, and there was no mention of MSR in the sentencing order. Morris did not file a motion to withdraw his plea and did not file a direct appeal.

In May 2006, Morris filed a pro se postconviction petition alleging that his constitutional rights were substantially violated because he contracted with the State to receive a 30-year sentence in exchange for his guilty plea, he was not advised that he would be required to serve three years of MSR in addition to his 30-year sentence, and, therefore, he was not receiving the benefit of his bargain.

The trial court dismissed Morris' postconviction petition, finding that it was frivolous and patently without merit. The trial court found that Morris' claim was belied by the record, which demonstrated that Morris was sufficiently admonished of his MSR obligations. Morris filed a motion to reconsider, which was denied, and then appealed. The appellate court affirmed in an unpublished order, finding that the admonishments given to Morris prior to his guilty plea advised him of the penalty range for the offense, including MSR, and therefore substantially complied with Rule 402 and this court's precedent. Morris, No. 1-06-2036 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). Morris now appeals.

Jesse Holborow

Holborow entered a plea of guilty to home invasion with great bodily harm to the victim, theft, and criminal trespass to a vehicle. The State's evidence showed that Holborow and two codefendants unlawfully entered the home of the victim, 70-year-old Bernard Harris, and proceeded to beat him and stab him before taking his beer and his van without permission. As a result of this attack, the victim became wheelchair bound and cognitively deficient and was no longer able to care for himself.

At the commencement of the plea hearing, the trial court stated:

“Mr. Holborow, I have a written plea agreement before me indicating that you don't want a jury trial. It indicates you are going to plead guilty to seven counts against you. And you are going to receive on Count 1, home invasion, a 16-year-sentence. * * * There would be a finding of great bodily harm to the victim, meaning that you would have to serve 85 percent of your sentence. * * * Sixteen times 85 percent is 13.6 years. So that is what you are going to have to serve. You will get credit for whatever time you have been in jail. Now, there would be some court costs to pay. $200 DNA fee. There would be restitution of $5,643.59. * * * And you have to make yourself available and provide truthful
testimony in the case of each co-defendant. * * * Is that what you want to do, Mr. Holborow?”

Defendant responded, “Yes.”

The trial court continued:

“Now, it is important that you understand with respect to Count 1, the home invasion, that is a Class X felony. And the law says that if this were handled by other than a plea agreement, you could get anywhere from six to 30 years in prison, plus three years mandatory supervised release. You are not eligible for probation, periodic imprisonment, or conditional discharge. If you were found guilty, you would have to get a minimum of six years, and you could get as much as 30. And with great bodily harm, you have to serve 85 percent of your time. So do you understand what the possibilities there are, if this were handled by other than a plea agreement?”

Holborow confirmed that he understood, and the trial court continued:

“Now, Count 2, aggravated battery of a senior citizen; * * * Count 2 is a Class 2 felony. * * * That is the one where you are charged with knowingly causing great bodily harm to Bernard Harris, in that he was a senior citizen, an individual 60 years of age or older. * * * And you are eligible there for an extended term. Since that is a Class 2, an extended term is seven to fourteen years. So if this were handled by other than a plea agreement, the law provides you could get anywhere from three to 14 years in prison, plus two years mandatory supervised release. Other possibilities include probation or conditional discharge not to exceed four years, periodic imprisonment of 18 to 30 months. And you could be fined up to $25,000. So those are the possibilities there. Do you have any question about that, Mr. Holborow?”

Defendant had no questions. The court then stated:

“Now, * * * Count 3, 4, Count 5, are aggravated battery counts. Those are Class 3 felonies. You are eligible for an extended prison term of up to ten years there. So if this were handled by other than a plea agreement as to those three counts, you could get anywhere from two to ten years in prison, plus two years mandatory supervised release.”

Addressing the next count, the court stated,

“Count 6 is a theft count as a subsequent offense. That is a Class 4 felony. And there, you could get prison of anywhere from one to three years, plus one year mandatory supervised release.”

The court then described the potential penalties attached to the remaining misdemeanor count.

Before accepting Holborow's plea, the trial court reiterated the plea agreement, but...

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