May Defendant Ask to Reconsider His Sentence Without Withdrawing His Guilty Plea ?

In People v. Williams, 179 Ill. 2d 331, 228 Ill. Dec. 176, 688 N.E.2d 1153 (1997) the defendant and the State entered into an agreement whereby the defendant would plead guilty to the offense of retail theft; in exchange, the State agreed to drop a charge of burglary and recommend a sentencing cap. The trial court accepted the defendant's plea and sentenced him to 3 years' imprisonment, followed by 40 months' probation. The defendant moved the trial court to reconsider the sentence, contending that the trial court violated statutory authority in imposing the sentence. The defendant did not file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Following a hearing on the defendant's motion to reconsider sentence, the trial court reduced the term of probation but denied the remainder of the motion. The appellate court affirmed. See People v. Williams, 284 Ill. App. 3d 681, 220 Ill. Dec. 90, 672 N.E.2d 907 (1996). On review to the supreme court, the State contended that, because the defendant failed to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea he was precluded from challenging the sentence. The Williams court distinguished Evans and noted that, in Evans, the defendants' sentences were within statutory limits and the defendants asserted only that their sentences were excessive. On the contrary, the defendant in Williams did not challenge his sentence as excessive but, rather, challenged the trial court's statutory authority to impose the sentence he received. The Williams court held that Evans was inapplicable and could not serve to bar the defendant's claim on appeal. Williams, 179 Ill. 2d at 332-33.