Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed February 22, 2013
People v. Evans, 2013 IL 113471
Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 100391-U.
JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Garman, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Burke dissented, with opinion.
In 2005, this Cook County defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm and was sentenced to a 12-year term. The appellate court affirmed. In 2008, he filed, pro se, his first postconviction petition. It was summarily dismissed, and the appellate court affirmed.
In 2009, again acting pro se, he filed the pleading which is at issue here, seeking leave to file a successive postconviction petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act. Evans alleged that he had just discovered that, after serving his 12-year sentence, he will be subject to an additional three-year term of mandatory supervised release (MSR). This MSR had not been mentioned when he was originally sentenced by the trial court, and this was asserted to deny due process. The Criminal Code does provide, however, that for the offense of which Evans was convicted, the three-year MSR term shall, by operation of law, be included in the sentence “as though written therein.” This was the first time Evans had raised this question. It had not been asserted in his initial direct appeal or in his first postconviction petition. The request for leave to file a successive postconviction petition was denied by the circuit court, and the appellate court affirmed. In this decision, the supreme court also affirmed because the request for leave to file is facially deficient.
The Post-Conviction Hearing Act states that a petitioner must show “cause” for failure to raise his claim earlier. However, the supreme court said here that the defect claimed by Evans here is something which, as a matter of law, can never be “cause” because the petitioner is presumptively charged with knowledge of mandatory supervised release as a matter of law.
However, the supreme court spoke to issues concerning the Post-Conviction Hearing Act that can be expected to arise again, although they are not necessary to the result here. The court recommended that the legislature address more specifically how one seeking leave to file a successive postconviction petition meets the statutory requirements of showing cause and prejudice.