Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651 (C) - Interpretation

The Court in People v. Sargent, No. 1--03--2096 (September 30, 2004), ruled that failure to comply with Rule 651(c) was harmless where the only claim asserted in the defendant's pro se postconviction petition was that his sentence violated the rule of Apprendi. Retroactive application of Apprendi was foreclosed by People v. De La Paz, 204 Ill. 2d 426, 791 N.E.2d 489, 274 Ill. Dec. 397 (2003)). Therefore, the court noted, no amount of scouring the record, meetings with petitioner, or any amendment of the petition by appointed counsel could have saved the petition from dismissal, and a remand for Rule 651(c) compliance was not warranted. Sargent, No. 1--03--2096.