People v. Smith, 2016 IL 119659 (December). Episode 288 (Duration 8:06)
Defendant is eligible for mandatory x sentencing because he turned 21 by the time the court found him guilty even though he was under 21 at the time he was charged.
Defendant was a prisoner in the Pontiac Correctional Center.
He was mad at the prison guard because he missed his shower.
Defendant through some unknown liquid all over the side of the guard.
When the incident happened defendant was under 21, by sentencing he was over 21.
Defendant was sentenced to 6 years as a Mandatory X offender.
He challenges whether he was class X eligible.
The parties disagree concerning when a defendant must reach the age of 21 in order to be eligible for mandatory Class X sentencing.
Mandatory X Sentencing
730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) begins by saying,
“When a defendant, over the age of 21 years, is convicted of a Class 1 or Class 2 felony, after having twice been convicted…”
This is a straightforward manner of statutory construction.
The Illinois Supreme Court said the language of section 5-4.5-95(b) is clear and unambiguous. If the legislature had intended the statute to read, “when a defendant over the age of 21 years, is charged,” the legislature very well could have written the statute that way but it is not the appellate court’s place to rewrite it.
Because the statute is not ambiguous in the specific manner that defendant suggests, the court could not misconstrue the statute in favor of the accused.
The statute makes no reference to the defendant’s age at the time the offense is committed or the time that the offense is charged.
The statute clearly provides that mandatory Class X sentencing applies when a defendant, over the age of 21, is convicted.
No rule of construction authorizes the court to declare that the legislature did not mean what the plain language of the statute imports, nor may we rewrite a statute to add provisions or limitations the legislature did not include.
Defendant was already 21 when he was found guilty so technically still an open question if conviction means after the finding of guilt or the sentence.
On a Side Note…Custodial Interrogations in Prison
Interestingly, on another note:
With regard to inmates, the United States Supreme Court has held that imprisonment alone is not enough to create a custodial situation within the meaning of Miranda. Howe v. Fields, 132 S. Ct. 1181, 1190 (2012).
There are at least three strong grounds for that conclusion.
First, questioning a person who is already serving a prison term does not generally involve the shock that very often accompanies arrest.
Second, unlike a person who has not been sentenced to a term of incarceration, a prisoner is unlikely to be lured into speaking by a longing for prompt release.
Third, in contrast to a person who has not been convicted and sentenced, a prisoner knows that the law enforcement officers who question him probably lack the authority to affect the duration of his sentence.
Standard conditions of confinement and the associated restrictions on freedom will not necessarily implicate the same interests that the Miranda court sought to protect when it afforded special safeguards to persons subject to custodial interrogation.
Interestingly, this defendant was handcuffed. But that was normal because he was under some kind of restriction and everyone was moved around in handcuffs.
Also, this was questioning related to the battery of an officer so they could have restrained him even more if they wanted to.