People v. Williams, 2016 IL 118375 (January 2016). Episode 133 (Duration 5:07)
The drug enhancement under 720 ILCS 570/408(a) remains “valid” but it doesn’t apply when other sentencing enhancements kick in.
See my review of the lower court’s opinion in this case.
The lower level reviewing court essentially invalidated the drug enhancement under 720 ILCS 570/408(a).
The lower court argued that 730 ILCS 5/5-8-2(a) (the “Extended Term” provision) of the Code provided “the exclusive authority for sentencing an offender to a term of imprisonment greater than the base level prescribed by statute.”
As such, the drug enhancement could never be used to go beyond the normal sentencing range.
Illinois Supreme Court
The Illinois Supreme Court now says that 720 ILCS 570/408(a) is ambiguous and doesn’t clearly articulate exactly when this “double enhancement” would kick in.
Thus, the rule of lenity prevented its application against the defendant in this case.
Defendant was convicted of a drug offense and had priors that made him eligible for mandatory X sentencing under 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b). Because he also had a prior drug conviction he was admonished that his range was 6-60 years (Mandatory X + Drug Enhancement).
The Illinois Supreme Court confirmed this was a mistake.
However, the rule now is that the Drug Enhancement is not dead but cannot be used in conjunction with another sentencing enhancement provision.
Apparently, it would only apply when a defendant has no other sentencing extensions applicable to him and, of course, has a current and a prior drug conviction.