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Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Supervised Release Period Despite Sentencing Omission

Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Supervised Release Period Despite Sentencing Omission

by Derek Gilna

The Illinois Supreme Court has affirmed the imposition of a period of mandatory supervised release (MSR) that was inadvertently omitted from a sentence by the trial court. Billy McChriston was convicted in 2004 of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony that carried a mandatory Class X sentence. Although he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, the trial court did not include any provision for MSR as required by the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections, 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d).

McChriston appealed his conviction but did not raise the lack of MSR at that time. He later filed a post-judgment petition attacking other parts of the proceeding, but again did not raise the MSR issue. Both his appeal and petition were denied, and both denials were affirmed by the appellate court.

Finally, in 2011, McChriston filed a 2-1401 petition to correct his judgment and also to bar the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) from adding a three-year MSR term to his 25-year sentence absent a court order. That petition was also dismissed and the dismissal affirmed on appeal, but this time McChriston appealed to the state Supreme Court.

He raised a separation of powers theory, arguing the DOC had no authority to add the MSR after it was omitted from his original judgment by the trial court. The Supreme Court rejected that argument, however, noting that by statute the MSR attached “by operation of law” and its imposition by the DOC was not unconstitutional, stating, “the MSR term attached automatically as though written into defendant’s sentence.” The Court also rejected McChriston’s due process argument. See: People v. McChriston, 2014 IL 115310, 4 N.E.3d 29 (Ill. 2014), cert. denied.


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Related legal case

People v. McChriston