Vehicular hijacking is a forcible felony in Illinois. We know that UUW Felon does not require notice under 111-3(c). This defendant tried arguing the notice was required because his prior offense of vehicular hijacking was not a forcible felony. His appeal fell flat.
People v. Wooden, 2014 IL App (1st) 130907 (August).
Defendant was charged with unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon pursuant to section 24-1.1(a) of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 (Criminal Code) (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a)).
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Defendant argued that that vehicular hijacking is not a forcible felony thus special notice of intent to proceed as a class 2 was required.
He said that he was improperly sentenced under the Class 2 form of the UUW Felon offense, because the State failed to give him notice in the charging instrument that it would enhance his sentence based on his prior felony conviction, as required by section 111-3(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/111-3(c)).
Vehicular Hijacking is a Forcible Felony in Illinois
In People v. Thomas, 407 Ill. App. 3d 136 (2011), the court recognized that a forcible felony “involves the threat of physical force or violence if the felon ‘contemplated that violence might be necessary’ to carry out the crime. (Emphasis omitted.)” Thomas, 407 Ill. App. 3d at 140 (quoting People v. Belk, 203 Ill. 2d 187, 194 (2003)).
Notice Under 111-3(c)
The Illinois Supreme Court first observed that section 111-3(c) was enacted to “ensure that a defendant receive notice, before trial, of the offense with which he is charged.” People v. Jameson, 162 Ill. 2d 282, 290 (1994)).
The supreme court then held:
“In construing the language of section 111-3(c), it is clear that the notice provision applies only when the prior conviction that would enhance the sentence is not already an element of the offense. The language of section 111-3(c) states that ‘the fact of such prior conviction and the State’s intention to seek an enhanced sentence are not elements of the offense and may not be disclosed to the jury during trial unless otherwise permitted by issues properly raised during such trial.’ This language necessarily implies that section 111-3(c) applies only when the prior conviction is not an element of the offense.”
People v. Easley, 2014 IL 115581, ¶ 19
The court said that vehicular hijacking falls squarely within the definition of a forcible felony.
Because the court has similarly concluded that vehicular hijacking involves at least the contemplation that violence might be necessary to take the motor vehicle from another person by force or threat of force, we find that vehicular hijacking is a forcible felony. Vehicular hijacking as described in the Illinois Criminal Coder under 720 ILCS 5/18-3 falls under the definition of a forcible felony.
Moreover, because vehicular hijacking is a forcible felony in Illinois notice pursuant to section 111-3(c) is not required for the UUW by a felony offense based on an unenumerated forcible felony. See 720 ILCS 5/2-8.
Applying this reasoning to the present case, the court concluded that defendants’ prior felony offense of vehicular hijacking was an element of the Class 2 version of the UUW by a felon. Thus, notice under 111-3(c) was not required.