To appeal sentence Defendant did not have to vacate his guilty plea. Defendant plead guilty to a class 1 in exchange to dismissal of a some class X’s. This cold plea is not a negotiated plea for appeal purposes. Defendant could challenge his 12 year sentence, but the court approved it.
Defendant challenged his 12 year sentence for criminal sexual assault as excessive. Also,was Defendant required to withdraw his guilty plea before he could appeal the sentence?
Defendant plead guilty to Illinois Compiled Statutes Criminal Code crime of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-3) of his daughter.
The abuse spanned an 8 year period beginning when the child was 5 years of age. Defendant cold plead to the class 1 and the state nolled all the other counts including multiple predatory criminal sexual assault of a child charges. These are class X’s.
Case law here says that –
“where it is claimed that the punishment imposed is excessive, although within the limitations prescribed by the legislature, that sentence should not be disturbed unless it is greatly at variance with the purpose and spirit of the law or manifestly in excess of the proscriptions of section 11 of article II of the Illinois constitution which requires that all penalties should be proportioned to the nature of the offense. The trial court is normally in a superior position during the trial and the hearing in aggravation and mitigation to make a sound determination as to the punishment to be imposed than are courts of review.”
People v. Fox, 48 Ill. 2d 239, 251-52, 269 N.E.2d 720, 728 (1971).
If the circuit court's sentence is within the statutory limits, there is a rebuttable presumption that the sentence is appropriate. See People v. Chambers, 258 Ill. App. 3d 73, 92, 629 N.E.2d 606, 620 (1994).
Where the record is clear that no agreement existed between the parties as to defendant's sentence, a defendant is not required to withdraw his guilty plea before challenging his sentence. See People v. Diaz, 192 Ill. 2d 211, 221, 735 N.E.2d 605, 612 (2000). When an agreement is silent as to defendant's sentence, the sentence does not go hand in hand with the plea because the State has failed to include any aspect of sentencing as an element of the plea agreement.
Considering that defendant was sentenced within statutory limits and that defendant's plea agreement with the State dropped the two additional charges that would have been required consecutive sentencing, the circuit court's sentence was appropriate.
Defendant plead to a single instant of criminal conduct, but the court could take into account the 8 years of abuse the victim experienced.
Moreover, by agreeing to drop a charge the State only makes a concession of relinquishing its right to prove defendant's guilt of that charge. A concession of charges against defendant in a plea agreement should not be characterized as negotiated, as it does not directly speak to the sentence imposed.
Since, charges are dropped the defendant is not proved guilty of them and is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The only thing the State gives up is a the chance to prove him guilty at trial. It is not wise or prudent to consider this a sentencing concession.
Defendant plead to the class 1 without any promises of any kind.
12 year sentence was within the discretion of the trial court.