Is Failure to Advise Length of Mandatory Parole Harmless Error ?
In Craig v. People, the supreme court rejected the claim that the parties intended the stipulated Department of Corrections sentence to limit the defendant's total sentence, including the mandatory parole term, to the period specified.
The court concluded that a reasonable person would understand a stipulated Department of Corrections sentence as referring to the imprisonment component of the sentence only, not the defendant's "overall exposure." Craig v. People, supra, 986 P.2d at 961-62.
a proper advisement must inform the defendant of the maximum length of the mandatory parole period, and must indicate that the parole term "occurs after, in addition to, or distinct from" the period of imprisonment imposed. Craig v. People, supra, 986 P.2d at 963.
The failure to advise the defendant of the length of mandatory parole may be harmless error. As the Craig court concluded:
Here, defendant was advised by the court that the maximum sentence applicable to the offense to which he was pleading guilty was 16 years. the court then sentenced defendant to 12 years imprisonment under the terms of the plea agreement. the three-year period of parole required under 18-1-105(1)(a)(V)(A) combined with the 12-year term of imprisonment imposed by the court is less than the 16 years that defendant was advised that he was at risk of receiving for the charged offense.
Thus, because the total of defendant's sentence to imprisonment plus the term of mandatory parole, 15 years, is less than the sentence he was at risk of receiving, the court's failure to advise him of the length of such parole is harmless error. See Craig v. People, supra.