Justice System, Police, Courts If this were your case, what would your next move be?

Jurisdiction
Illinois
Good evening,

My husband has recently been sentenced (June 28th, 2024)to 8 years in IDOC for vehicle theft conspiracy. He has no prior history with the law other than a few traffic tickets and an old DUI from 2010. Let me back up a bit for you. January 21st, 2021 A warrant for arrest was issued with origional charge generated and bond set at $100,000 with a motion filed by DA and granted to seal the file until warrant was served. January 22nd, 2021 husband arrested by Clinton County Sheriff's office and I posted a $10,000 bond. February 3rd, 2021 Original warrent returned by Clinton County Sheriff's office. February 8th, 2021 husband requests time to seek counsil. DA's first offer was 8 years . A few failure to appears and quashed warrants with bond forfeitures vacated, attorney waives formal arraignment and preliminary hearing. Husband pleads not guilty with jury demand. Pretrial set for June 16th, 2021. Husband contracted COVID-19, shown proof to court, principal attorney turns case over to partner. November 2021-March 2022 Negotiations ongoing a pre-trials reset. Final negotiations and possible supression motion along with pretrial discovery filed. July 13th, 2022 motion to withdraw by attorney (in his own battle over nude pictures of another client not relevant to this case) jury trial remains on. August 10th, 2022 warrant for arrest failure to appear $10,000 bond set. September 6th, 2022 I posted $1,000 bond for him. September 12th, 2022 husband informs court of new attorney hire and requests time for attorney to review case (granted). September 14th, 2022 Principal attorney files motion for discovery, entry of apperance, plea of not guilty demand for jury trial. September 28th, 2022 partner attorney shows up at court jury trial set, with negotiations ongoing. January 11th, 2023 Judge was recused. By arguement jury trial and final pretrial conference vacated, matter now set for pretrial only.February 23rd, 2023 Limine filed by attorney husband's witness list filed by attorney (husband had no witnesses at this point, was not asked if he had any), husband's motion for witness list filed by attorney information read to husband, rights and penalties given to husband factual basis given, defendant pled guilty in an open plea to count 1 as charged (per attorney's advice. Said husband was sure to lose at a jury trial and had no cap, no other counter offer put in by attorney, husband was up against an open plea of guilty with no cap on an 8 year sentence) sentencing hearing set for April 26th, 2024. Husband went and did interview for probation and probation officer recommended strict probation after assessment was done. NOTE: husband was detained after this at the courthouse where propation assessment occured for a revocation of probation as he had already been convicted of aggravated auto part theft in St.Clair county and received 2 years probation plus restitution.) June 28th, 2024 husband present with attorney no changes to PSI, father sworn in and testifies, wife (me) swron in and testifies, After consideration of factors in aggavation and mitigation, statutory factorsn cost of incarcetation, husband sentenced to 8 years DOC 1 MSR $1,000 fine, costs restitution to be determined at next hearing. person writ to issue appeal rights given.
I was told to write and be ready to give a statement on my husbands character, 2 minutes before the hearing, I was pulled outside of the courtroom and told I would be called to the stand and be ready for cross examination. My husband was arrested at home on a "warrant" (never saw one from either county although I asked several times) from St. Clair county with Clinton County Sheriff's Office following suite 3 months later. That case went to court (St. Clair County) and a guilty plea was given under the assumption that probation would be the outcome, and so it was just that. 2 years probation with 3 month check-in's. Not the case in Clinton County, however. Husband's St. Clair County lawyer refused to take the case in Clinton County stating he would never take a case there again as they are all associated with one another and it is very difficult to win a case out of that county.
What happened for husband to be charged with these crimes? Again, let me go back for you.
My husband's father has been in the scrap metal business for over 40 years, he has owned several scrap yards in multiple locations, several of which my husband ran for him. My husband went over the road to several stops for several years buying scrap metal for his father from New Orlens to California, Florida, Iowa etc... His father and my husband both have bought and sold converters, motors, cars, copper, steel, aluminum, and other metals for 40+ years. I tell you this because it shows my husband did not start buying and selling converters (the auto parts in question) because the price of the metal was up at the time. My husband was licensed through the state to buy, sell, and transport metals. Two men were caught stealing converters from citizens in Clinton County, they had possession of the parts when they were caught. They told the officers who caught them that they were sent to commit the thefts by my husband. NOW.. there have been hundereds of individuals who have messaged my husband about the numbers printed on converters asking if they should buy the car it was on or the converter dependant upon the price being worth it. My husband would say yes or no or give them the price off of an application that you had to be given access to which all scrap yards use to determine the going price of these parts on a daily basis as, i am sure you are aware, just like gold and silver, the price of metal changes often.
In the evidence, several vehicles were specifically named that these converters came off of. Vehicles that were texted to my husband asking if the converters were worth getting or not. So, as per any othe conversation, my husband replied with yes or no . There was no agreement between these men and my husband, for these men to take these parts unlawfully. As for the evidence, the numbers printed on a converter are nothing like a VIN number printed on the dash of a vehicle where it can be located in the door or on the engine of the vehicle as well attaching the VIN to that specific vehicle. The numbers printed on converters are done by year. There is no way, none, unless you physically take the converter and match it percisely to the cut from the muffler under a vehicle, to say that that specific converter came from that specific vehilcle.
My husband pled guilty due to the current counsel telling my husband the only way he may get a lighter sentence is to plead guilty to these charges. He could not and would not win in a jury trial. The counsel never countered with a lighter sentence. I believe that the counsel is in violation of the 6th ammendent of the constitution (The right to adequate representation) and is guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel per the1984 Strickland v. Washington case.
If I am researching right (that is why I am here, I am a medical student, not a law student), conspiracy is when two or more individuals make an AGREEMENT to commit a crime and furtherance occurs when one or more of these individuals commits the crime. As mentioned earlier, my husband never made an agreement with either of these individuals. In fact, one of the individuals written statements on my husband included next to his signature, "they are making me write this against my will." Also, I believe that as with this crime, considered a class 1 felony, that it is to be charged as a class 2 felony, which I believe did not occur.
My question to you: What should be our next move? How can I help my husband? If this case were given to you, what would you do to get him an appeal, over turn of conviction, sentence reduction...on what grounds? is there any hope? Can he be saved?
Thank you all in advance for your valuable time and patience with me. Any information, guidance, or recommendations concerning this matter are welcomed and more than appreciated.
 
Hopefully your husband still has legal representation. It is not clear to me from your post. You should be asking your questions to his attorney and not an online forum. I will not comment on the particulars of his case except to say, in general terms, that an open plea of guilty is never a good idea. A defendant should always plead not guilty at arraignment. Then later, after negotiations with the prosecution, accept the plea agreement. That way the agreement cannot be changed once accepted. There should be no assumptions as to sentencing.
 
Yep, it all comes down to how good of a lawyer your husband has, if he was in the scrap metal business then he should have lots of cash stashed somewhere. This would probably cost somewhere around 25-50 grand to get great legal representation.

Concerns I have are why is your husband text messaging people about what CATs to get and which are valuable? These type of businesses are under a microscope as the metals that come from them are precious and very valuable when extracted. Your husband is in for some serious stuff, you need to spend some money on the best attorney you can find not a deal maker but an actual trial attorney.

They are out there and I am sure you know who they are, it is the only chance your husband has for not to spend at least 3-5 years of his life in prison.

Good Luck.
 
My question to you: What should be our next move? How can I help my husband? If this case were given to you, what would you do to get him an appeal, over turn of conviction, sentence reduction...on what grounds? is there any hope? Can he be saved?

Very few criminal convictions, especially those that result from the defendant VOLUNTARILY pleading GUILTY are reversed on appeal.

You and hubby must steel yourselves for a less than desirable result. Trust me, its coming, sooner or later.

Voluntary guilty pleas are generally bullet proof upon appeal. Why? Because the judge instructs, admonished, and explains the "ins and outs" of pleading guilty in open court, on the record to the defendant, with her/his attorney present.

Your description of events surrounding this case reveal your spouse was on probation from a previous felony conviction. You also indicate he'd been arrested for not complying with his probation as directed the judge.

That said, some of the following might offer information and insight on sentencing outcomes in Illinois:
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"Truth-in-Sentencing"

The term truth-in-sentencing refers to a statute that requires the Department of Corrections to execute a sentence in a manner that is consistent with the term of years handed down by the judge. Basically, the truth-in-sentencing law was enacted to stop early release programs.

Most felony prison sentences are served at 50% of the time indicated by the court on the mittimus (e.g., a sentencing order, which in Cook County, judges call this "the mitt"). When the truth-in-sentencing law was enacted in 1998, defendants who were sentenced for first-degree murder were often serving 50% or less of their sentences.


The statute that increased the amount of time that has to be served comes from the Code of Corrections at 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3. It provides the following rules for prison inmates:

A defendant who is convicted of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1) or terrorism (720 ILCS 5/29D-14.1) does not get early release and must serve 100% of their sentence. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(i).

Crimes with time served mandates

A defendant serving a sentence for any of the following crimes must also serve 85% of his sentence:

  • Attempted terrorism. 720 ILCS 5/8-4 and 29D-14.1.
  • Attempted first degree murder 720 ILCS 5/8-4 and 9-1.
  • Solicitation of murder. 720 ILCS 5/8-1.
  • Solicitation of murder for hire. 720 ILCS 5/8-1.2.
  • Intentional homicide of an unborn child. 720 ILCS 5/9-1.2.
  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. 720 ILCS 5/11-1.40.
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault. 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30.
  • Criminal sexual assault. 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20.
  • Aggravated kidnapping. 720 ILCS 5/10-2.
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), or (e)(4).
  • Heinous battery. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(2).
  • Being an armed habitual criminal. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.7.
  • Aggravated battery to a senior citizen. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(4).
  • Aggravated battery to a child. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(b)(1).
See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(ii).

Prisoners who are incarcerated on a sentence for any of these crimes must also serve 85%:

  • Home invasion.720 ILCS 5/19-6.
  • Armed robbery. 720 ILCS 5/18-2.
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking. 720 ILCS 5/18-4.
  • Aggravated discharge of a firearm. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2.
  • Armed violence with a category I weapon or category II weapon causing great bodily harm. 720 ILCS 5/33A-2.
See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(iii).

Under a newer provision of this truth-in-sentencing law, some offenses are now served at 75% of time:

  • Gunrunning. 720 ILCS 5/24-3A.
  • Narcotics racketeering. 725 ILCS 175/4.
  • Controlled substance trafficking. 720 ILCS 570/401.1.
  • Methamphetamine trafficking. 720 ILCS 646/56.
  • Drug-induced homicide. 720 ILCS 5/9-3.3.
  • Aggravated methamphetamine-related child endangerment. 720 ILCS 646/50(b).
  • Money laundering. 720 ILCS 5/29B-1(c)(4) or (c)(5).
  • Class X felony conviction for delivery of a controlled substance. 720 ILCS 570/401.
  • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver. 720 ILCS 570/401.
  • Calculated criminal drug conspiracy. 720 ILCS 570/405(b).
  • Criminal drug conspiracy. 720 ILCS 570/405.1.
  • Street gang criminal drug conspiracy. 720 ILCS 570/405.2.
  • Participation in methamphetamine manufacturing. 720 ILCS 646/15.
  • Aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacturing. 720 ILCS 646/15(b).
  • Delivery of methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/55.
  • Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/55.
  • Aggravated delivery of methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/55(b).
  • Aggravated possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/55(b).
  • Methamphetamine conspiracy with a weight of 100 grams or more. 720 ILCS 646/65.
See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(v).

A second offense of luring a minor (720 ILCS 5/10-5.1) is served at 85%. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(vi).

A sentence for aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3) is served at 85%. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(vii).

A defendant sentenced to imprisonment for aggravated driving under the influence, 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F), which involves death, or 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(C), which involves great bodily harm, must serve a sentence of 85% time. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2.1) and (2.3) and (2.6).

A sentence of natural life shall be just that, natural life at 100% of time. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2.2). Note that the death penalty was abolished, .

Finally, the legislature added two weapons offenses to the list of crimes served at 85%:

  • Aggravated battery with a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer.
  • Aggravated discharge of a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2-5.

"Good Conduct Credit"

All other sentences are served at 50% of time. Sometimes inmates call this day-for-day, early release, or good-time credit. The statute itself calls the reduction "good conduct credit," which can be revoked by the Department of Corrections for misbehavior.

But the list of crimes that are served at 85% is sure to increase. Each year, lawmakers in Springfield will seek to add additional offenses to the list that are served at 85%.

After January 1, 2020, eligible inmates can earn 45 to 90 days of sentence credit if they can demonstrate completion of certain mandatory programs. These programs can involve substance abuse treatment, correctional industry assignments, education, behavior modification, life skills, or re-entry planning. Though it is vital to note that inmates serving a term of natural life imprisonment are ineligible for these new sentence credits.


 
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