Defendant is Denied Post-Conviction Relief After Being Charged as Class-X Offender
This case stems from an incident that occurred in August of 2019. According to the case text, the defendant was charged with shooting his wife and then firing a gun into the home of her relatives. The defendant was charged with three counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of aggravated battery with a firearm, one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm, and one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
Prior to that incident, the defendant had been convicted of two drug felonies. These felonies formed the basis of charging the defendant as a Class X offender, which is the most severe form of felony under Illinois law. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, but as a Class X felony and agreed to a sentence of 23 years in state prison. The prosecution voluntarily dropped the rest of the charges against the defendant on the basis that he would plead guilty as a Class X offender to aggravated discharge of a firearm.
The defendant also had a 3-year term of mandatory supervised release added to his sentence. He filed a motion for post-conviction relief on the basis that this punishment was added to the end of his sentence without the benefit of a bargain. According to the defendant, the court had failed to link the mandatory supervised release to the plea agreement.
The defendant’s motion is denied
In this case, the defendant’s own attorney believed that the motion lacked merit and asked to be relieved of his duty to represent the defendant in these proceedings. The attorney was a state-appointed lawyer with the Office of the State Appellate Defender. The defendant alleged that he was denied the benefit of a bargain with the state when the three years of supervised release were appended to his sentence. Both his attorney and the court found that the motion was without merit.
The Post-Conviction Hearing Act
Petitions concerning a conviction are heard under the terms of the Post-Conviction Hearing Act. The Act allows a petitioner to argue that their conviction was the result of substantial Constitutional violations of their rights. The function of the post-conviction hearing is to challenge the sentence, not the nature of the conviction. In this case, the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charges, but claimed that the three years of supervised release was not a part of the plea agreement that he had initially agreed to. The defendant claimed that his Constitutional rights were violated when the three years of supervised release were added onto his sentence.
Petitions can be raised by defendants who are sentenced in a manner that violates their constitutional rights. All pleas must undergo a test to determine whether or not the defendant has agreed to the terms of the plea. However, the appellate court determined that the defendant’s Constitutional rights were not violated and so his post-conviction petition for relief was denied.
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