People v. JohnsonAnnotate this Case
In 2013, defendant (age 31) was charged with several controlled drug incidents, In a negotiated plea agreement, he agreed to plead guilty to two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a church—a Class 1 felony with a sentencing range of 4-15 years, 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-30(a). The state agreed to dismiss seven remaining charges and to recommend a sentencing cap of 13 years’ imprisonment. After the circuit court delivered Rule 402 admonishments. Defendant acknowledged that he understood he was agreeing to a sentence of no less than 4 years and no more than 13 years. Defendant’s presentence investigation report included prior convictions for resisting a peace officer, criminal trespass to property, four counts of aggravated driving under the influence involving two fatalities and two counts of great bodily harm, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and unlawful restraint. Defendant sought a six-year sentence, noting mitigating factors, including a substantial history with alcohol abuse without meaningful intervention, difficult childhood circumstances, poor education, and defendant’s participation in rehabilitation programs and expressions of remorse. The court expressly stated that the state’s recommendation for a 13-year sentence was justified, then imposed a sentence of 11 years. At the hearing on defendant’s motion to withdraw his plea, defendant argued that his plea was not knowing and voluntary. The Illinois Supreme Court held that a defendant who enters into a negotiated plea agreement may not challenge his sentence on the basis that the court relied on improper statutory sentencing factors. This was an excessive sentence challenge. Under Rule 604(d), defendant’s recourse was to seek to withdraw the plea and return the parties to the status quo before the plea.