Can a Plea Be Vacated If Court Fails to Inform a Defendant the Results of His Guilty Plea ?
In People v. Harris, 359 Ill. App. 3d 931, 835 N.E.2d 902, 296 Ill. Dec. 549 (2005), the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery.
In exchange for his plea, other charges were dismissed, but there was no agreement concerning sentencing. the trial court sentenced the defendant to 22 years' imprisonment and ordered the sentence to be served consecutively to an 18-month prison term in an unrelated case.
The trial court had accepted the defendant's plea without first informing him that he faced the possibility of consecutive sentences.
The Harris court observed that "if the court's failure to properly admonish a defendant results in the denial of 'real justice' or in prejudice to the defendant, the reviewing court should vacate the defendant's guilty plea and allow the defendant to plead anew." Harris, 359 Ill. App. 3d at 936.
However, the Harris court concluded that it was not necessary to determine whether the improper admonition in that case required that the defendant's guilty plea be vacated.
The court observed:
"Defendant does not seek that remedy. Instead, he asks this court for the wrong remedy--namely, that this court amend his sentencing order to reflect that his 22-year prison sentence is to be served concurrently with his 18-month sentence. Harris, 359 Ill. App. 3d at 937.