Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed December 1, 2011

People v. Snyder, 2011 IL 111382

Appellate citation: 403 Ill. App. 3d 637.

JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

This Peoria County case arose from incidents which occurred at an apartment complex in 2008. This defendant, who was pregnant with the child of a man she had been dating, went to his parking lot and, finding there the car of a different woman he had also been dating, slashed its tires and convertible top with a knife. She also subsequently yelled and swung the knife at the couple when they confronted her.

The crimes with which Snyder was originally charged included the serious offenses of armed violence, attempted murder, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. However, after plea negotiations, the State agreed to dismiss these charges in return for the defendant's plea of guilty to intimidation and criminal damage to property. There was no agreement as to sentencing.

The trial court imposed concurrent extended-term sentences of 10 years for intimidation and six years for criminal damage to property, to be consecutive to a term of mandatory supervised release previously imposed in a different, unrelated matter. The appellate court reduced the extended-term portion of the sentence for criminal damage to property to three years. It otherwise upheld the trial court's choice as to the length of sentences and their consecutiveness to the prior mandatory supervised release term from a different case. All these results were affirmed by the supreme court in this decision. However, the supreme court did not agree with what the appellate court had done in vacating a restitution order.

As part of sentencing, restitution for the damage to the car was ordered. However, Snyder had never been admonished as to this possibility when her plea was accepted. Although never seeking to withdraw her plea, she complained about this on appeal as a violation of the command of Supreme Court Rule 402(a)(2) that there must be advice as to the minimum and maximum penalties available. There is no dispute as to the trial court's failure in this regard. The dispute is as to the remedy. The appellate court responded by vacating the restitution order.

The supreme court noted that, because no agreement was ever made as to sentencing, this is not a case in which the defendant was denied the benefit of her bargain. The decision here holds that, where a defendant has entered a partially negotiated plea which makes no reference to sentencing and the trial court fails to admonish as to the possibility of being ordered to pay restitution, the appropriate remedy is to allow the accused the opportunity to withdraw the plea. This remedy adequately protects an accused's rights. However, here, defense counsel made it clear to the supreme court that the defendant is not seeking plea withdrawal. In arguing for vacation of the restitution order, she seeks a remedy to which she is not entitled. The appellate court was reversed on this issue