Cases Pending Highlights Criminal Cases In Illinois Supreme Court's September Term

September 10, 2020 5:33 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

The Illinois Supreme Court's September Term begins Monday, September 14, 2020.  Oral arguments are scheduled for September 15, 16, 17, 22 and 23, 2020.  A total of 17 cases will be heard -- 12 civil and 5 criminal.  The following criminal cases are scheduled for argument this Term:

September 25, 2020

People v. Alejandro Reveles-Cordova, No. 124797 

People v. Demario Reed, No. 124940

People v. Justin Knapp, No. 124922

People v. Shawn Marlon Brown, No. 125203

September 23, 2020

In re J.M.A., No. 125680

Below is a summary for one of those cases, People v. Alejandro Reveles-Cordova.  Summaries for this case and others pending in the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, available to ALA members on the ALA’s website

People v. Alejandro Reveles-Cordova, No. 124797

The one-act, one-crime rule provides that a defendant cannot have multiple convictions stemming from a single act and that a defendant cannot be convicted of a greater offense and a lesser-included offense when there are multiple acts.  The abstract elements test is used to determine whether a charged offense is a lesser-included offense of another charged offense.  Here, the Court is asked to determine how the abstract elements test should apply: should the Court analyze only the elements of the offense for which the defendant is charged and convicted, or should the court analyze all ways in which the offense can possibly be committed to determine if it is theoretically possible to commit the second offense without committing the first.  Here, defendant was convicted of criminal sexual assault and home invasion predicated on criminal sexual assault.  The Court must decide whether, under the facts here, the criminal sexual assault is a lesser included offense of the home invasion.

According to defendant, a split in appellate court authority has developed, reflecting the two approaches to applying the abstract elements test described above.  Defendant asserts that the Court should endorse comparison of the offenses only as charged.  Defendant claims this interpretation is more in line with how the Court has "historically" applied the abstract elements test and the one-act, one-crime rule, with apparent legislative acquiescence to case law holding that there can be no conviction for a greater offense and its predicate without expressed intent to do so, and with the goal underlying he one-act, one-crime rule: to prohibit multiple punishments for a single act.

The State argues in support of the other interpretation, that the abstract elements test should examine all ways that an offense can be committed to determine whether it is theoretically possible to commit the second offense without committing the first.  The State disputes defendant's characterization of the Court's relevant precedent, noting that a 2010 case, Miller, adopted use of the abstract elements approach for determining lesser-included offenses so that older precedent is less helpful.  The State emphasized that here there are indisputably multiple acts involved because home invasion involves (1) entering the victim's home, and (2) committing criminal sexual assault therein.  And when the one-act, one-crime doctrine applies, to multiple act cases, there can be multiple convictions, even given interrelated acts, so long as one offense is not a lesser-included offense.

Appellate Court Decision:  2019 IL App (3d) 160418.  Schmidt, P.J., with Carter, J., and O'Brien, J., concurring

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