decision is an appeal. The error, no matter how egregious, cannot be raised in a
(Defendant was represented by Assistant Defender Scott Main, Chicago.)
People v. Donelson, 2011 IL App (1st) 092594 (No. 1-09-2594, 11/9/11)
Where the applicable statutes required consecutive sentences for first degree
murder, home invasion, and aggravated criminal sexual assault, the trial court
entered a void sentence by imposing concurrent sentences of 50, 30, and 30 years,
respectively. Because a void sentence can be corrected at any time, defendant
could raise the issue by a §2-1401 petition filed outside the normal two-year
statute of limitations.
The court rejected defendant’s request to vacate his plea, however, finding
that the plea agreement was not void and that the appropriate remedy was to
vacate the sentences and remand the cause for resentencing. A plea agreement is
void where an essential term of the agreement is unforceable or illegal under the
relevant statutes. Whether a term or aspect of the agreement was essential is
determined by its relative importance in light of the entire agreement.
Here, the essential terms of the plea agreement included that defendant
entered a guilty plea to certain charges in return for a total sentence of 50 years.
The court acknowledged that a plea agreement would be void if the agreed
sentence could not be imposed under the relevant statutes; here, however, a total
of 50 years could be imposed as consecutive sentences under the authorized
sentencing ranges for the offenses. Because the essential terms of the plea
agreement could be satisfied under the applicable statutes, remand for
resentencing was appropriate.
Defendant’s sentences were vacated and the cause remanded for imposition
of consecutive sentences totaling the 50-year sentence contemplated by the plea
(Defendant was represented by Assistant Defender Jessica Pamon, Chicago.)
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