Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed November 29, 2012



People ex rel. Senko v. Meersman, 2012 IL 114163

Original petition for writ of mandamus.


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

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


      This sex offender emerged from the circuit court of Rock Island County with concurrent sentences for his three convictions. This was challenged by the State’s Attorney, who claimed that consecutive sentences were required by law. He sought a writ of mandamus from the Illinois Supreme Court, asking it to direct imposition of consecutive terms.

      In December of 2010, defendant pled guilty before the respondent judge to failure to register as a sex offender, and, in August of 2011, he pled guilty to failure to register a change of address. Sentencing on these matters was continued. In November of 2011, before a different judge, he pled guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault, for which a 12-year term was imposed by that judge.

      When the matter was returned to the respondent judge for sentencing on the two registration offenses, he imposed terms of three and two years to run concurrently with the 12-year term already imposed, opining that the facts of each offense were different. The State’s Attorney argued that the sentence for criminal sexual assault was statutorily required to be served first.

      In this decision, the supreme court agreed with the State’s Attorney, construing the section 5-8-4(d)(2) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(d)(2)) and finding that criminal sexual assault is a “triggering” event for purposes of consecutive sentencing. Although the two registration offenses may themselves be the subject of concurrent sentences, the term for criminal sexual assault must be served first.

      The writ of mandamus was awarded and the respondent judge was ordered to resentence the defendant.