Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed May 24, 2012

People ex rel. Glasgow v. Kinney, 2012 IL 113197

Original action for mandamus.


      CHIEF JUSTICE KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.


      This original action in the Illinois Supreme Court for mandamus comes from Will County, where Michael W. Drew pled guilty to DUI in 2009. Although the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Unified Code of Corrections provide that a fourth DUI conviction is a nonprobational Class 2 felony, Drew, who had three prior DUIs, was sentenced to only probation, in the amount of 48 months. The State’s Attorney objected and sought mandamus for sentencing in accordance with these codes.

      This driver had argued that as to one of his earlier offenses, in Bureau County in 2000, he had pled guilty without legal counsel and, therefore, this prior conviction should not be considered for sentence-enhancement purposes. Relying on earlier decisional authority from the appellate court (which was currently questioned but had never been expressly overruled), the circuit court agreed with this, rejecting the arguments to the contrary raised by the state’s attorney.

      In the opinion filed today, the Illinois Supreme Court overruled People v. Finley, 209 Ill. App. 3d 968 (1991), upon which the circuit court had relied in making a disposition of probation as it did. This result is based on the more recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in Nichols v. United States, 511 U.S. 738 (1994), which compels the conclusion that a valid uncounseled misdemeanor conviction is also valid when used to enhance punishment as to a subsequent conviction.

      A judgment of mandamus was entered by the Supreme Court directing the trial judge to sentence defendant in accordance with statute.