Supreme Court Summaries
Opinion filed May 24, 2007
No. 102096 People v. Johnson
Appellate citation: 363 Ill. App. 3d 356.
JUSTICE FITZGERALD delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Garman and Karmeier concurred in the judgment and
Justice Burke dissented, with opinion, joined by Justices Freeman and Kilbride.
This Cook County defendant was indicted for several offenses allegedly committed in 1999.
He entered an open guilty plea to the armed robbery of a woman and the aggravated kidnapping
of her 20-month-old granddaughter. The sentencing court also required Johnson to register as a
sex offender pursuant to the 1996 statute which had expanded the sex offender registry to include
nonparents who commit enumerated nonsexual offenses against children. Although the woman’s
clothing was removed at one point, no allegations of sexual misconduct had been involved in the
In the appellate court, it was determined that the certificate which appointed counsel was
required by Supreme Court Rule 605(b) to file in connection with the guilty plea had not been
filed, and that the cause should be remanded for that purpose. That remand is not at issue here.
The appellate court also considered the defendant’s argument that being required to register as a
sex offender denied due process as to him. The appellate court agreed with this claim and held
that, because it found that the misconduct at issue was not sexually motivated, the statute denied
due process as applied to the defendant.
In this decision, the supreme court upheld the challenged statute and rejected the appellate
court’s reasoning, finding instead that, because the commission of certain crimes against children
often leads to sexual exploitation, the legislature could reasonably require such offenders to
register. The supreme court vacated the appellate court’s conclusion as to lack of sexual
In 2006, a new type of registry came into effect for violent nonsexual offenses by nonparents
against children. However, this defendant could not obtain the relief he sought pursuant to that
statute and, thus, the supreme court was not precluded from reaching the constitutional issue
which it did here.
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