Can Difference In Sentences Be Supported by Difference In the Roles of Codefendants In a Crime ?

In People v. Godinez, 91 Ill. 2d 47, 48, 434 N.E.2d 1121, 61 Ill. Dec. 524 (1982), the defendant and his brother, among others, were convicted of armed robbery. Godinez, 91 Ill. 2d at 50. In addition, the defendant was convicted of aggravated kidnaping. The defendant and his brother were sentenced at a joint sentencing hearing. The defendant received a sentence of 24 years for armed robbery and a concurrent 10 years for aggravated kidnaping. The defendant's brother was sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery. On appeal, the appellate court reduced the defendant's 24-year armed-robbery sentence to match his brother's 15-year sentence, finding no basis for any disparity. Godinez, 91 Ill. 2d at 54. However, the supreme court restored the 24-year sentence. The court noted that "an arbitrary and unreasonable disparity between the sentences of codefendants who are similarly situated, of course, cannot be defended." Godinez, 91 Ill. 2d at 55. However, the court found that "the difference in sentences can be supported by the difference in the roles of the defendant and his brother in the crimes." Godinez, 91 Ill. 2d at 55. Thus, according to defendant, the "implicit" holding of Godinez is that two defendants can be similarly situated for the purpose of a disparate-sentence claim even if one defendant is sentenced for additional convictions. Therefore, defendant maintains that we can consider whether his concurrent 25-year sentences for armed robbery and home invasion were disparate to the 15-year sentences imposed on Jones for the same offenses even though Jones was also sentenced for additional offenses.