People v. Jackson, 2016 IL App (1st) 133823 (October). Episode 254 (Duration 4:16)
One hijacked car means one aggravated vehicular hijacking even though there were two victims.
This Never Happens
The codefendant actually testified at defendant’s trial that this defendant did not know about the carjacking.
He did not plan it and was only there when the codefendant decided to do it. Further, he said he intimidated and yelled at the defendant to get in the car and drive it away.
The victims said defendant was way more involved.
He fought with the passengers when they tried to get away. Insinuated he had a gun, and put his hands in a passenger’s pockets to take their belongings.
No Compulsion Instruction
Nonetheless, a compulsion instruction under 720 ILCS 5/7-11(a) was not warranted.
To establish compulsion, the defendant must show that he was under an impending, imminent threat of great bodily harm together with a demand that the person perform the specific criminal act for which he is eventually charged. The codefendant did not say that he threatened the defendant only that he yelled at him.
Absent any contemporaneous threat of death or great bodily harm, defendant could not assert a compulsion defense. Defendant was just doing what he was told.
Two Victims Two Convictions
But the two convictions for vehicular hijacking cannot stand.
The act of vehicular hijacking occurs when the offender takes a vehicle from “another.” See 720 ILCS 5/18-3(a).
The reference to the victim as “another” is significant because it is a defined term.
The Criminal Code defines “another” as “a person or persons as defined in this Code other than the offender.” (Emphasis added.) 720 ILCS 5/2-3.
So “another” can mean more than one person.
Contrary to the State’s position, the fact that multiple victims were present during the hijacking of a single vehicle does not convert a single criminal act into multiple criminal acts; if only one vehicle is hijacked, only one crime is committed, regardless of the number of victims present during that act.
The case law says the same thing for an armed robbery.
“A person commits robbery when he or she knowingly takes property, except a motor vehicle covered by Section 18-3 or 18-4, from the person or presence of another by the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force.” 720 IlCS 5/18-1.
In light of the similarities between the armed robbery statute and the aggravated vehicular hijacking statute, it would be incongruous to hold that, under one statute, a defendant who commits one taking in the presence of multiple victims may only be convicted of one offense, but under the other statute, a defendant may be convicted of as many offenses as there are victims.
The statutes are essentially the same, differing only in the type of property taken by the defendant.
Thus, a defendant may not be convicted of multiple counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking where he takes only one vehicle, even if multiple individuals are present. One of defendant’s convictions for aggravated vehicular hijacking must be vacated.
However, People v. Pryor, 372 Ill. App. 3d 422 (2007) went the other way with this issue.
Finally, the firearm add-on the judge ordered on one of the attempt armed robbery conviction must be vacated.
At the time defendant committed his offenses, July 28, 2007, the firearm-sentencing enhancement for aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery had been declared unconstitutional in People v. Andrews, 364 Ill. App. 3d 253, 275 (2006), and People v. Hauschild, 226 Ill. 2d 63, 86-87 (2007), respectively, as violating the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 11).
Subsequently, the General Assembly enacted curative legislation to the problems articulated in both cases. See Pub. Act 95- 688 (eff. Oct. 23, 2007) (amending 720 ILCS 5/33A-2, 33A-3); People v. Williams, 2012 IL App (1st) 100126, ¶ 52. Thus, as of October 23, 2007, the constitutional infirmities in the statutes for aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery disappeared. But defendant’s offenses occurred prior to the curative legislation, meaning that his enhanced sentences are unconstitutional. People v. Taylor, 2015 IL 117267, ¶ 17.