Supreme Court Summaries


Opinions filed March 21, 2013


People v. Blair, 2013 IL 114122

Appellate citation: 2012 IL App (3d) 100743-U.

 

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

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

 

      A Henry County jury convicted this defendant of armed robbery for taking $965 from Julie Kelly in 2009 by threatening the use of force while armed with a firearm. The circuit court imposed a 23-year term, which included a 15-year firearm enhancement. Blair complained that this statutory enhancement was unconstitutional and appealed.

      In People v. Hauschild, 226 Ill. 2d 63 (2007), the Illinois Supreme Court held that this firearm enhancement was unconstitutional as in violation of the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, based on a comparison to the armed violence statute. Less than five months later, Public Act 95-688 (eff. Oct. 23, 2007) amended the armed violence statute to provide that robbery cannot serve as a predicate offense for armed violence. Thus, with this change, these two offenses no longer have identical elements which could support a proportionate penalties challenge. The State contended that the former 15-year sentence enhancement for armed robbery with a firearm was, thus, revived by the General Assembly, while Blair argued that it was not because the statute had been declared void ab initio by the court. The appellate court agreed with the defendant and remanded for resentencing.

      In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and held that the sentence imposed by the circuit court could stand. As a result of the Court’s decision in Hauschild, the firearm enhancement had merely been declared unenforceable. By amending the armed violence statute, to which the armed robbery provision had been compared, the legislature revived the firearm enhancement for armed robbery with a firearm because there was no longer any issue as to identical offense elements.

      The circuit court’s sentence was upheld.