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A criminal defendant who may have been subjected to double jeopardy doesn’t get to appeal even once

May 1, 2013 by in General

The defendant sought to appeal his conviction after pleading guilty to aggravating driving under the influence on the basis of double jeopardy because judgment had already been entered upon a bond forfeiture and the Illinois Vehicle Code provides that a bond forfeiture equates to a conviction of the underlying offense.

The defendant failed to timely move to withdraw his guilty plea or for reconsideration of his sentence, as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) as a prerequisite to the appeal of a conviction pursuant to a guilty plea. Therefore, there was no statutory basis for an appeal.

However, the defendant argued that he need not comply with Rule 604(d) because the (second) conviction was a void order that could be attacked at any time. The Second District Appellate Cout disagreed.

A judgment is void only where a court has exceeded its jurisdiction. If the defendant’s conviction exceeded constitutional authority in that it amounted to a second conviction for the same offense, the trial court that entered the judgment was not without jurisdiction. Rather, it had proper jurisdition, but it entered an improper judgment. Such a judgment is voidable, but not void.

Because the trial court had proper personal and subject matter jurisdiction to enter the conviction, the judgment was not void even if it was erroneous and the appellate court could not vacate it.

The court further noted that Rule 604(f) allows a defendant to appeal the denial of a motion to dismiss a criminal proceeding on grounds of former jeopardy. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on grounds of double jeopardy but did not appeal the denial of that motion. Thus, he forfeited the right to appeal the issue pursuant to Rule 604(f).

He instead pleaded guilty, thereby implicating Rule 604(d), with which he failed to comply. Because the appellate court had no jurisdiction, it dismissed the appeal.

People v. Villafuerte-Medrano, 2012 IL App (2d) 110773.

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