threatened serious harm. No question, this defendant's conduct in this offense caused the greatest
harm there could be, that is the death of another person."
In light of the foregoing comments, we conclude that the trial court improperly considered
the victim's death as an aggravating factor. The court acted well within its bounds to mention the
victim's death in its discussion concerning defendant's failure to accept sufficient responsibility for
a serious offense and to comply with the conditions of probation. However, the court erred where
it expressly stated that causing the victim's death was an aggravating factor upon which the sentence
In People v. Allan, 231 Ill. App. 3d 447, 454 (1992), the trial court referenced the victim's
death in a context similar to the instant case: "Looking at the statute also, as it talks about
aggravation, it addresses itself to the aspect of causing bodily harm, and there is no question there
was great bodily harm caused here, i.e., the death of a young man." In Allan, this court held that the
trial court's statement evinced that it focused in aggravation upon the death of the victim. Allan, 231
Ill. App. 3d at 459.
The context in which the trial court here made the complained-of statement also bears
similarity to the circumstances in Saldivar, where the supreme court held that the trial court
considered an improper factor in aggravation. Saldivar, 113 Ill. 2d at 272. In Saldivar, at the close
of the sentencing hearing and prior to the pronouncement of the sentence, the State emphasized that
the defendant, who was being tried for voluntary manslaughter, had killed the victim. The
defendant's attorney interjected, stating that, by definition, voluntary manslaughter involves a death.
Nevertheless, the trial court mentioned as an aggravating factor the fact that the defendant caused
terrible harm to the victim, i.e., death. Saldivar, 113 Ill. 2d at 264.
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