People ex rel. Glasgow v. Carlson, 2016 IL 120544 (December). Episode 382 (Duration 10:20)
Mandamus awarded to force trial court to sentence defendant as a class X offender.
Petitioner, James W. Glasgow, State’s Attorney of Will County, seeks mandamus pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 381 against respondent, the Honorable David M. Carlson, judge of the circuit court of Will County.
Defendant had some priors in his background: Defendant’s record included a 1989 Class 2 felony conviction, a 1981 Class X felony conviction, and a 1980 Class 2 felony conviction.
What is Mandamus?
Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy used to compel a public official to perform a purely ministerial duty where no exercise of discretion is involved.
This court awards mandamus relief only when “the petitioner establishes a clear right to the relief requested, a clear duty of the public official to act, and clear authority in the public official to comply. Only matters of law are ever appropriate in a mandamus.
Apparently, the judge had some bench book memo saying this section was inconsistent and some lenity should be applied.
The judge ignored the cases that were cited to him.
What They Want
Petitioner asks this court to compel respondent to
(1) vacate its sentencing order,
(2) classify as a Class 2 felony a third violation of Illinois’s driving while under the influence (DUI) statute of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501 et seq.), and
(3) resentence defendant as a Class X offender pursuant to section 5-4.5-95(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b)).
Class 4 or Class 2
Defendant was charged by indictment with Class 2 felony aggravated DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2)).
The indictment alleged he had 2 prior DUI convictions. The State acknowledged that a separate provision, subsection (d)(2)(A), generally classified aggravated DUI as a Class 4 felony.
Nonetheless, the State argued that because defendant was charged under subsection (d)(2)(B), that provision’s express classification of the offense as a Class 2 felony must control.
For support, the State cited to the appellate court’s decision in People v. Mischke, 2014 IL App (2d) 130318, that reached the same conclusion. In turn, the State argued that defendant was subject to a mandatory Class X sentence on his third DUI conviction based on his prior criminal record.
What Trial Court Did
The circuit court, however, continued to express doubt that defendant’s third DUI conviction should be classified as a Class 2 felony.
The court repeatedly asked the State to explain when a third DUI conviction would ever be classified as a Class 4 felony.
The court also suggested that the State was asking the court to ignore subsection (d)(2)(A), that generally defined aggravated DUI as a Class 4 felony.
The court then sentenced defendant as a Class 4 offender to 24 months of probation.
(d)(2)(A) v. (d)(2)(B)
First of all, subsection (d)(1)(A) provides that a person is guilty of aggravated DUI if that person commits a DUI offense
for the third or subsequent time.
The sentencing parameters for aggravated DUI, including the applicable felony classes, are contained in subsection (d)(2) of section 11-501.
Initially, that provision in subsection (d)(2)(A) provides the baseline felony class for aggravated DUI:
Except as provided otherwise, a person convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol *** is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
The next nine subsections, (d)(2)(B) to (d)(2)(J), detail factors that can elevate aggravated DUI to higher class felonies and, in some instances, impose mandatory and minimum sentences.
Particularly relevant here, subsection (d)(2)(B) provides that
[a] third violation of this Section or a similar provision is a Class 2 felony.
For each successive violation of section 11-501, the potential penalty is enhanced by either eliminating the possibility of probation or elevating the corresponding felony class.
- fourth violation is a nonprobationable Class 2 felony (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(C)
- a fifth violation is a nonprobationable Class 1 felony (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(D)
- a sixth or successive violation is a Class X felony (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(E)).
Reviewing the plain meaning of section 11-501, it is clear that the legislature meticulously prescribed unambiguous sentencing requirements and classifications for aggravated DUI, going from a baseline Class 4 felony classification (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(A)) to a Class X felony classification for a sixth or successive DUI conviction (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(E)).
As this court has explained, “[s]ection 11-501 therefore operates just as any other statute which initially sets forth the elements of the offense, and then, in a separate section, provides sentencing classifications based on other factors.”
Applying section 11-501 to defendant’s case, we necessarily conclude that defendant’s third DUI conviction constitutes aggravated DUI and is a Class 2 felony, as charged in the indictment.
Without question, subsection (d)(2)(B) demonstrates unambiguous legislative intent to classify a third DUI conviction as a Class 2 felony.
The unambiguous legislative intent was to classify aggravated DUI as a Class 4 felony only if no other provision in section 11-501 is applicable.
It is neither inconsistent nor illogical to conclude that a third DUI conviction is subject to a higher felony classification when section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code is viewed in its entirety.
A benchbook is to be used only as a practical legal reference guide. Thus, a benchbook should not be viewed or treated as authoritative precedent. No precedential value, is not intended to be cited by courts or litigants as authority in pleadings, rulings or otherwise, and is not a substitute for reading the statutes and cases cited.
Mandamus is awarded in this case.
Here, the law says a third or higher violation of section 11-501, is considered aggravated DUI and subjects the offender to stiffer as a mandatory x offender.
Judgment of mandamus awarded.
The circuit court was ordered to
(1) vacate it’s sentencing order,
(2) classify defendant’s third violation of section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code as a Class 2 felony, and
(3) resentence defendant as a Class X offender based on his prior criminal history.