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People v. Sanchez

Illinois Appellate Court, Second District
Feb 1, 2022
2022 Ill. App. 2d 200659 (Ill. App. Ct. 2022)




THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANTONIO SANCHEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23(b) and is not precedent except in the limited circumstances allowed under Rule 23(e)(1).

Appeal from the Circuit Court of De Kalb County. Nos. 15-CF-132 17-CF-53119-CF-130 19-CF-138 19-CF-15119-CF-161 Honorable Marcy L. Buick, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court. Justices Hudson and Birkett concurred in the judgment.



¶ 1 Held: Aggregate 10-year prison sentence for defendant's multiple convictions of stalking, harassment, and violating an order of protection was not an abuse of discretion where defendant engaged in a years-long campaign of threats of violence against his ex-girlfriend, her family, and her associates, demonstrating his lack of rehabilitative potential and the need to protect the public.

¶ 2 Defendant, Antonio Sanchez, appeals from a cumulative sentence of 10 years' imprisonment imposed in five cases: Nos. 15-CF-132, 17-CF-531, 19-CF-130, 19-CF-138, 19-CF-151, and 19-CF-161. 1 Each of these cases related to defendant's harassing behavior directed towards his ex-girlfriend, L.G., her family, or her associates. Defendant argues that, for multiple reasons relating primarily to his rehabilitative potential, the cumulative sentence-particularly, the discretionary consecutive seven-year sentence in No. 19-CF-161-is an abuse of discretion. We affirm, finding no abuse of discretion in the trial court's conclusion that the cumulative sentence was necessary to protect L.G., her family, and her associates.


¶ 4 Defendant challenges an aggregate sentence comprised of sentences in six cases: four original sentences and two entered upon revocation of probation.

¶ 5 In 2015, defendant pled guilty in No. 15-CF-132 to stalking (720 ILCS5/1-7.3(a)(1) (West 2012)). The record does not contain the State's factual basis for that conviction, but the information alleges that, on or about February 26, 2015, defendant contacted L.G. by phone or social media more than 20 times and left "numerous" and "threatening" voicemails for her-all on the same day. The court sentenced defendant to 30 months' probation. That case also resulted in an order of protection that barred defendant from contacting L.G. until 2020.

¶ 6 In 2017, pled guilty in No. 17-CF-531 to violating the order of protection related to No. 15- CF-132. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(a) (West 2014). He admitted that, on or about June 9, 2017, he left five voicemails for L.G. The court sentenced him to 24 months' probation.

¶ 7 In 2019, defendant was indicted in Nos. 19-CF-130, 19-CF-138, 19-CF-151, and 19-CF- 161.

¶ 8 In No. 19-CF-130, defendant was indicted on a single count of violating the order of protection related to No. 15-CF-132. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(a)(1)(i) (West 2014). This 2 indictment alleged that, on or about November 18, 2018, defendant sent L.G. numerous Facebook messages.

¶ 9 In No. 19-CF-138, defendant was indicted on a single count of violating the order of protection related to No. 15-CF-132. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(a)(1)(i) (West 2014). This indictment alleged that, on or about March 13, 2019, defendant sent L.G. messages on social media.

¶ 10 In No. 19-CF-151, a grand jury indicted defendant on a single count of violating the order of protection related to No. 15-CF-132. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(a)(1)(i) (West 2014). This indictment alleged that, on or about March 25, 2019, defendant sent L.G. messages through Facebook Messenger.

¶ 11 In No. 19-CF-161 defendant was indicted on four counts. Count I charged harassment of a witness, a Class 2 felony (720 ILCS 5/32-4a(a) (West 2018)), : the State alleged that, on or about March 29, 2019, defendant, knowing that L.G. was likely to be a witness in another case, "engaged in a course of conduct directed at [L.G.], which caused [L.G.] to suffer mental anguish or emotional distress, in that *** defendant *** communicated directly with [L.G.] threats of harm to herself."

¶ 12 Count II charged aggravated stalking, a class 3 felony (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3(a)(1), 7.4(a)(3), (b) (West 2018)), in that on or about March 29, 2019, "defendant knowingly engage[d] in a course of conduct directed at [L.G.] which *** defendant should have known would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety, in that *** defendant sent her numerous messages on social media threatening to harm her" when an order of protection was in place.

¶ 13 Count III charged defendant with aggravated stalking, a Class 3 felony (720 ILCS 5/12- 7.3(a)(2), 7.4(a)(3), (b) (West 2018)), in that on or about March 29, 2019, "defendant knowingly engage[d] in a course of conduct directed at [L.G.] which *** defendant knew would cause a 3 reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, in that *** defendant continuously sent her messages on social media of a threatening nature" when an order of protection was in place.

¶ 14 Count IV charged defendant with stalking (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3(a)(2), (b) (West 2018)) (charged as a Class 3 felony based on defendant's previous stalking conviction), in that on or about March 29, 2019, "defendant knowingly engage[d] in a course of conduct directed at [L.G.] which *** defendant knew would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, in that *** defendant continuously sent her messages on social media of a threatening nature."

¶ 15 In addition to the indictments in Nos. 19-CF-130, 19-CF-138, 19-CF-151, and 19-CF-161, the State filed petitions to revoke defendant's probation in Nos. 15-CF-132 and 17-CF-531.

¶ 16 The trial court ruled that defendant was statutorily ineligible for mental health court based on the charges. Defense counsel sought to have defendant sentenced to Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) probation, but the State indicated that it would not support such sentencing despite a report from the probation department finding that defendant was an acceptable candidate for that program. The court, over the State's objection, allowed defendant a furlough to receive extended inpatient substance abuse treatment. Defendant then spent five months in an inpatient substance abuse treatment program.

SCF probation is a De Kalb County initiative under which an offender receives immediate prespecified sanctions for specific violations.

¶ 17 On May 15, 2020, defendant entered a blind guilty plea to all charges in Nos. 19-CF-130, 19-CF-138, 19-CF-151, and 19-CF-161. He also admitted to probation violations in Nos. 15-CF-132 and 17-CF-531. As part of its factual basis for the pleas, the State recited that an order of protection against defendant and in favor of L.G. was in place during the relevant periods. 4

¶ 18 In No. 19-CF-130 (violating an order of protection), the State presented the following factual basis. On November 17, 2018, L.G. encountered defendant at a bar in De Kalb, and he tried to stop her to talk to her. After that encounter, defendant sent her several messages through Facebook using the name "Tony Sanchez"; "she received several messages on November 17th, November 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th of 2018 from *** defendant." Defendant also tried to get her to participate in a video chat.

¶ 19 In No. 19-CF-138 (violating an order of protection), the State stated that the evidence would show that, between March 13 and March 17, 2019, he sent L.G. a series of messages stating that he wished that he and L.G. were still friends and commenting that sending her messages was worth going to jail.

¶ 20 In No. 19-CF-151 (violating an order of protection), the State represented that L.G. would testify that she had blocked defendant on Facebook but, on March 25, 2019, she received messages from "Facebook user"-identifiable to her as defendant-in which he said that he was upset that she had reported his prior messages to the police and complained that she was ruining his life. Further, he stated that he did not care about the order of protection; he sent her screenshots of his earlier messages and told her that she could give them to the police. "Additionally[, L.G.] received a message from an account with her name on it and a picture of where she works[, ] *** the DeKalb County Health Department."

¶ 21 In No. 19-CF-161 (harassment of a witness, aggravated stalking, and stalking), the State represented that the evidence would show that, on March 26, 2019, L.G. received a message from "Facebook user"-again identifiable to her as defendant-in which he stated:" 'Make no mistake. You started a war and if I catch you in the street I'm going to treat you like some rivals.'" He further threatened to "stomp on the victim's father's head and pass her mother for seconds." These 5 messages also included an image of L.G.'s workplace. L.G. received a Facebook message from "Tone K T" that "listed her birthday in the account." These stated:

" 'You better pray the police get me before I get you. You sent me to prison for the last time. Don't go to work tomorrow. You're going to feel six years' worth of anger.' "

¶ 22 L.G. also supplied voice messages from defendant in which he stated:

" 'You don't know what it means to have time taken away from you. I am looking at the Daily Chronicle and Antonio Sanchez, 25, charged with violating an order of protection. I don't care about a restraining order. Make sure you play this for them. I would have killed for you. You continuously take my freedom from me. I'm raging right now. I'm going to prison because I miss you.' "

¶ 23 Police officers interviewed defendant on March 30, 2019; he admitted that he was the source of all these messages.

¶ 24 At the sentencing hearing, the State introduced multiple police reports, some of which further detailed the messages defendant sent L.G. On June 13, 2017, a police officer listened to voicemails defendant had sent to L.G. on "Friday"-presumably, June 9, 2017:

"The voice mails are somewhat hard to understand but state that he wants to be friends. The last voice mail states something about murdering anyone in the way."

¶ 25 On October 26, 2016, defendant sent L.G. messages via Facebook messenger:

"In the [messages, defendant] threatens to 'tie ur mom up' and "slaughter u', while calling [L.G.] offensive names, including 'hoe', 'slut', and a 'disloyal disgrace'. [Defendant] also texts that he 'know where u stay', provided a picture of a pistol, and mentions the order of protection by texting, 'fuk a restraining order.' "

¶ 26 On November 18 through 23, 2018, defendant sent L.G. a series of messages saying that he missed her and pleading with her not to go to the police. On November 24, 2018, defendant sent her multiple messages, including the following:

"Idgaf about ur bullshit restraining order u and I both know that was a move to get me locked up and out ur life *** I'm not scared of sum papers when I'm already goin. To prison niggga leavw me the fuk alone bcuz I dont play around wit this drama steady sayin."

¶ 27 L.G. also showed the police a series of messages that defendant sent to the man he had seen L.G. with at the bar in De Kalb on November 17, 2018. On November 26, 2018, that person received messages including the following:

" 'U better hope I go to jail first fat boy. Fan boy that's what u r. A little fan boy bitch. U were a fan of mine back in da day. When is tony getting out. On Tony's cock no Tony's on ur ass and I'm coming hard lil fat boyy [illegible.]'"

¶ 28 On March 17, 2019, L.G. showed the police numerous messages that defendant sent her via Facebook; in most of these, defendant stated that he wanted to be back together with her. He said that sending her messages was worth going to jail. L.G. also showed the police screen shots of messages that defendant left for a female friend of hers on Facebook. The officer characterized these as "threatening."

¶ 29 On March 26, 2019, a family member of L.G.'s friend Valente Barragan received messages purporting to be from Barragan but using a photo of a recently deceased cousin of L.G's. These messages included threats of rape and murder toward family members of Barragan.

"[L.G.] stated she then checked her [F]acebook and saw that she was now receiving messages from 'Valente Baragan' with the same profile picture of her deceased cousin. The thread started today 3/29/2019 at 5:20 pm. The first picuture [sic] in the thread is of
hanging dead rats and then the next picture sent is of her friend Valente. Another picture is sent that is of [L.G.] and the next picture sent is the full picture of Claudia, [L.G.'s] deceased cousin. There are several texts sent after the pictures, some of them state the following, 'Be at Molly's tonight baby bitch come join...tell mommy u said sorry....'Antonio posted a picture of [L.G.'s] mother holding her as a baby and wrote, 'this is my favorite one you mama was fine wtf happened...smh..are u ready to get ur face smacked off?? Let the games begin pop out tonight shortty dont come across me mr bobby barragannn!!!"

¶ 30 There were also voice messages in the thread:

"During the two recordings [defendant] makes comments such as, 'I promise you I'm going to beat the mother fucking shit out of you...drop location when you get don't want to drop location you wanna flee. you wanna act like a pussy I'm fittin to get at your parents then...this is one on on...its not one on one because you brought the Police in this...Im gonn fuck you up dog your gonna feel exactly six years of anger, I am going to break your face and put you down and put a bad beating on you and everyone your with bitch...I know where you work so haha."

¶ 31 Screenshots of some of the messages indicate that L.G. did respond to several of the messages. For instance, in the conversation with "Valente Baragan," she repeatedly asks defendant to send his location. To one of defendant's insults, she responds, "So do something then stop barking fucking chihuahua."

¶ 32 The exhibits at sentencing also included the SCF probation record of defendant's brother, whose name was listed in the captions as Manuel Sanchez Jr. (Manuel); defendant indicated that he intended to live with his brother should he be sentenced to probation. Manuel was sentenced 8 to 24 months' SCF probation for convictions of unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and criminal damage to property. Manuel was repeatedly sanctioned for use of alcohol and testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol and was occasionally sanctioned for missing or being late to testing. According to the State's representation to the court:

"The only purpose of [this record's] introduction in this proceeding is because this defendant indicated in his presentence investigative report that if he were to be released from custody in DeKalb County, it is his desire and his plan to live with his brother Emanuel [sic] Sanchez in order to be on [SCF] probation."

¶ 33 L.G. made a statement describing how orders of protection had repeatedly failed her and how defendant's threats had affected all aspects of her life, including leading to disruptions at her workplace.

¶ 34 The presentencing investigation report (PSI) noted that defendant had a significant criminal history including convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting a peace officer, aggravated stalking, and battery. He also had a juvenile adjudication of aggravated battery and mob action. The PSI noted that defendant was undergoing inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment and was showing a positive attitude in jail and during treatment. The PSI recommended a sentence of SCF probation.

¶ 35 Defendant introduced a letter from his counselor for his inpatient treatment. The counselor described defendant as a leader, as helpful to other patients, and as displaying a good attitude towards recovery. Russ Josh, a former De Kalb County juvenile intensive probation officer who had supervised defendant, testified on defendant's behalf. He believed that the structure of intensive probation had helped defendant by supplying the guidance that was otherwise absent from his life. In his view, defendant had only the probation office on his side. 9

¶ 36 The State stressed that L.G. had done everything right-ending her relationship with defendant, reporting his harassment to the police, and seeking orders of protection-only to have her efforts prove ineffectual. The State asked for consecutive sentencing, for an aggregate sentence of 16 years' imprisonment. The State did not believe that defendant had the potential for rehabilitation:

"The State does acknowledge that in prison he's not going to get any treatment unless he volunteers himself into one of the programs allowed at prison, but this sentence is no longer about rehabilitation. We have tried everything. Every form of treatment, every type of monitoring, psychological treatment, substance abuse treatment, Partner Abuse Intervention Program [(PAIP)] for the last five years and even more so he's completed several terms of that treatment. The actual treatment itself specifically for domestic violence he has completed, yet we are still dealing with domestic violence behavior."

¶ 37 The trial court found that no statutory factors in mitigation were applicable and specifically found that "there [was] no question that [L.G. had] suffered severe long-term psychological harm." The court noted that L.G. had been seeking to break off contact with defendant since 2013 and had had an order of protection in place since 2015. Further, the court did not believe that defendant had come to terms with the end of his relationship with L.G.:

"[Defendant] is still speaking of his issues with [L.G.] in the present tense. Therefore, the Court is not convinced at this time that [defendant] appreciates what his actions have done nor does he have a sufficient ability at this time to maintain control over his actions."

¶ 38 It stated that defendant had not reformed himself when given probation and treatment: 10

"In the last ten years he has been given opportunities for rehabilitation through sentences of probation. As a juvenile he was monitored through intensive probation services. His juvenile probation was ultimately revoked, and on December 12, 2012, when he was 19 years old he was sentenced to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice *** [for] an aggravated battery adjudication.
As an adult he has been sentenced to probation in two separate felony cases, both here for resentencing after [he] has admitted he violated the terms of his probation.
[He] has *** in the past completed a [PAIP]. He has completed substance abuse treatment while on adult probation. He continued to re-offend committing new crimes. Most disturbing to the Court in these cases is that the defendant's criminal conduct is directed at one person[, L.G.] The evidence submitted by the State is replete with [L.G.'s] pleas and efforts to protect herself from unwanted contact by the defendant.
* * *
As [L.G.] stated in court during the sentencing hearing, [defendant's] actions have caused her untold psychological harm, have injected constant fear into her life in spite of her maintaining a valid order of protection since March of 2015. [Defendant] simply ignored the order. She feels she will never be safe. She sees no way to be safe, and [defendant] has so far demonstrated no understanding that, No. 1, [L.G.] is a person, not an object he can control; No. 2, that she is a person with free will; No. 3, that she is a person that has decided she does not want his presence in her life; and No. 4, that he, [defendant], must respect all of the above.
* * *
The Court has considered [defendant's] statements that drugs and alcohol use are a problem for him and that when he is intoxicated he is much more likely to lose control of his behavior and violate the order of protection. The Court cannot disagree with his beliefs. However, given his years on probation along with his prior substance abuse treatment and completion of the [PAIP] he still was not able to overcome those issues.
* * *
The Court does not believe that probation is appropriate. The public, especially [L.G.], needs to be protected from the defendant's criminal conduct. A sentence of probation would deprecate the seriousness of [defendant's] offenses and would be inconsistent with the ends of justice."

¶ 39 Although the court stated that none of the statutory factors in mitigation were applicable to defendant, it nevertheless considered in mitigation defendant's good performance in jail and inpatient treatment:

"The Court recognizes that [defendant] has successfully completed his inpatient treatment at Abraxas and that he has been recognized for his leadership ability while there and while he has been incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail.
These reports of good things that you have done *** have served as mitigation for the Court's ultimate sentence and also in that regard [defendant] should have hope for his future."

¶ 40 In Nos. 15-CF-132 and 17-CF-531-the revocation-of-probation cases-the court sentenced defendant to two concurrent three-year terms of imprisonment. In the three 2019 violation-of-an-order-of-protection cases, Nos. 19-CF-130, 19-CF-138, and 19-CF-151, it imposed three concurrent three-year sentences of imprisonment, those terms to be concurrent with 12 the terms in the revocation-of-probation cases. In No. 19-CF-161, the court imposed a sentence of seven years' imprisonment on the harassment count, ruling that the remaining counts merged into that one. At the State's request, the court exercised its discretion to make that sentence consecutive to the other sentences, finding it necessary to protect the public.

¶ 41 Defendant filed a timely motion to withdraw his guilty pleas or, alternatively, to reconsider his sentences. He argued that, when he pled guilty, he "did not appreciate the severity of the consequences of the potential for permissive consecutive sentencing." Alternatively, he argued that his aggregate sentence was excessive given (1) "the lack of any allegation in any of [the] charges that [he] attempted to cause any physical harm to anyone," (2) his "lack of any prior adult [Department of Corrections] sentence," and (3) his rehabilitative potential. He also argued that the trial erred in failing to consider the following mitigating factors: (1) his "criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened serious physical harm to another"; (2) he "did not contemplate that his criminal conduct would cause or threaten serious physical harm to another"; (3) he "acted under a strong provocation," i.e., "substance abuse and abandonment issues"; and (4) his "criminal conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur." Finally, defendant asserted that, because no physical injury was involved, the court erred in imposing a permissive consecutive sentence.

¶ 42 The trial court denied the motion, stating that it had explained its reasoning in detail. Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal.


¶ 44 On appeal, defendant argues that his 10-year aggregate sentence was an abuse of discretion. He raises five points: 13

(1) The court incorrectly ruled that no statutory factors in mitigation applied, thus failing to consider that (a) the crimes at issue "were the result of substance abuse [and] circumstances that are unlikely to recur," (b) his "conduct never caused any physical harm," and (c) he was likely to comply with the terms of a probation sentence.
(2) His 10-year sentence "does not protect the public from future harm," but instead "merely prevents [him] from receiving continued substance abuse treatment at a key moment in his reformation towards useful citizenship."
(3) "The [trial] court was *** under the misapprehension that [he] had received similar opportunities for rehabilitation in the past with little success," when in fact "[h]is only prior treatment came in 2016, when he completed a course of treatment in the [PAIP] and briefly entered outpatient substance abuse treatment."
(4) The consecutive sentences ignored his "significant progress in his recovery from substance abuse, which included changed attitudes about his own life and his relationships with others."
(5) The court "may have been influenced by the State's improper admission of evidence regarding the probation record of [Manuel]."

Defendant suggests that this case is akin to People v. Gray, 121 Ill.App.3d 867 (1984), where the reviewing court modified the trial court's sentence to make the defendant's sentences concurrent because there was no reason to believe that the defendant would repeat his crimes.

¶ 45 The State responds that defendant's "continuous terrorization of the victim *** and her friends and family" made a sentence focused on rehabilitation inappropriate: "Despite having been repeatedly given treatment and probation, defendant continued to reoffend and direct those offenses at one singular victim." The State also challenges defendant's claim that the trial court 14 failed to recognize any factors in mitigation; the State points to the court's recognition of defendant's successes in substance abuse treatment. The State further asserts that defendant's history of repeatedly violating the terms of his probation made it unlikely that defendant would comply with the terms of any new probation-and L.G. would inevitably bear the brunt of defendant's noncompliance. The State additionally argues that defendant forfeited his claim that the court improperly relied on evidence of Manuel's noncompliance with the terms of his probation. It points out that defendant never objected to the admission of that evidence and has not argued for plain-error review of the issue.

¶ 46 In reply, defendant insists that he is committed to addressing his substance abuse issues, which he claims have driven his criminal behavior, and he claims that his lengthy sentence stands in the way of his efforts. He next argues that the trial court's consideration of Manuel's record was plain error. He objects to the State's characterization of his acts as "terrorization"-which he equates with "acts of terror"-on the basis that he did not inflict any physical harm.

¶ 47 Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 615(b)(4) (eff. Jan. 1, 1967), reviewing courts have the power to reduce sentences on appeal. "That power *** should be exercised cautiously and sparingly," and a reviewing court "may not alter a defendant's sentence absent an abuse of discretion by the trial court." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) People v. Alexander, 239 Ill.2d 205, 212 (2010). "A sentence will be deemed an abuse of discretion where the sentence is 'greatly at variance with the spirit and purpose of the law, or manifestly disproportionate to the nature of the offense.'" Alexander, 239 Ill.2d at 212 (quoting People v. Stacey, 193 Ill.2d 203, 210 (2000)).

"The trial court has broad discretionary powers in imposing a sentence, and its sentencing decisions are entitled to great deference. A reviewing court gives great deference to the trial court's judgment regarding sentencing because the trial judge, having
observed the defendant and the proceedings, has a far better opportunity to consider these factors than the reviewing court, which must rely on the 'cold' record. The trial judge has the opportunity to weigh such factors as the defendant's credibility, demeanor, general moral character, mentality, social environment, habits, and age. Consequently, the reviewing court must not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court merely because it would have weighed these factors differently." (Internal quotation marks and citations omitted.) Alexander, 239 Ill.2d at 212-13.

¶ 48 A reviewing court will uphold discretionary consecutive sentences where such sentences were "necessary to protect the public." People v. Buckner, 2013 IL App (2d) 130083, ¶ 36.

"If the record does not reflect that the trial court took mitigating factors into account, including a defendant's potential for rehabilitation, and the record does not support the trial court's determination that consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public, an abuse of discretion has occurred." Buckner, 2013 IL App (2d) 130083, ¶ 36.

¶ 49 Defendant first contends that the court neglected to consider the following three statutory factors in mitigation, which he claims weighed in favor of a probation sentence: (1) "[t]he defendant's criminal conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur," (2) "[t]he character and attitudes of the defendant indicate that he is unlikely to commit another crime," and (3) "[t]he defendant is particularly likely to comply with the terms of a period of probation." 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1(a)(8), (a)(9), (a)(10) (West 2018).

¶ 50 It requires considerable audacity to claim that these factors were applicable. Defendant admitted to a pattern of offenses against a single victim that lasted years. He admitted two probation violations in this case. His juvenile probation had also been revoked. This is not the kind of history in which we expect to see a trial court apply any of these factors. 16

¶ 51 Defendant contends that he has changed. He argues that the trial court failed to recognize that, after his successful inpatient substance abuse treatment, his attitude had improved, making it less likely that the circumstances that led to his offense would recur.

¶ 52 The trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting that suggestion. The court recognized that defendant had done well in his recent treatment and agreed with defendant that intoxication was a major factor in his losses of control over his behavior. However, it also concluded that defendant had failed to make any progress in recognizing why his behavior was wrong: he still did not acknowledge L.G.'s right to live a life free from him. Defendant provides no basis for us to reject the court's conclusion. Further, although defendant points out that he displayed good behavior while in treatment and while incarcerated in De Kalb County, that did not require the court to conclude that his behavior would remain good in the less controlled setting of probation.

¶ 53 Defendant states in passing that his "conduct never caused any physical harm to L.G."; "[t]he case concerned only statements and messages to his ex-girlfriend, not physical contact." Defendant seems to be suggesting the applicability of the first statutory factor in mitigation: "[t]he defendant's criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened serious physical harm to another." 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1(a)(1) (West 2018). Defendant does not develop the argument, but, even if he did, we would reject it. Repeated threats of physical harm that keep people in a high state of alert are likely to create dangerous situations. It takes little inventiveness to see that fear of defendant might lead to injury to others.

¶ 54 Because we do not agree with defendant that he was unlikely to commit another crime, we also necessarily reject his contention that the sentence was unnecessary to protect the public. Defendant had a history of repeatedly ignoring the conditions of his probation and of flouting the 17 order of protection-he never displayed any inclination to abide by such restrictions. It was thus logical for the trial court to conclude that only defendant's incarceration would protect L.G. and her family, friends, and associates.

¶ 55 Defendant contends that the trial court was incorrect in its belief that he "had received similar opportunities for rehabilitation in the past with little success," when in fact "[h]is only prior treatment came in 2016, when he completed a course of treatment in the [PAIP] and briefly entered outpatient substance abuse treatment." We disagree. Consistent with defendant's argument, the record shows that he was admitted to an outpatient substance abuse treatment program in April 2016 and completed the PAIP the same month. We do not see any misapprehension on the court's part. It merely stated that defendant had had treatment before, not that he had had treatment equivalent to the inpatient treatment he received in 2019 as a result of these proceedings. Defendant obviously would have had the trial court believe that the inpatient treatment was an entirely new opportunity that resulted in a breakthrough for him. The court, although recognizing that intoxication had a role in defendant's offenses, was more concerned that he had not changed his attitudes about L.G. We see nothing arbitrary or unreasonable in the court's reasoning.

¶ 56 For the reasons already stated, we reject defendant's contention that the consecutive sentences ignored his "significant progress in his recovery from substance abuse, which included changed attitudes about his own life and his relationships with others." The court was not required to credit his claim that he had permanently changed. Indeed, the court explained why it found this claim implausible.

¶ 57 The same reasoning also requires us to reject defendant's contention that Gray is controlling here. In Gray, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences for involuntary manslaughter and concealment of a homicidal death on the defendant despite his lack of a prior 18 criminal history. Gray, 121 Ill.App.3d at 868, 871, 873. The reviewing court concluded that no basis existed to find that consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public-in essence, it suggested that the defendant's crimes were the result of circumstances unlikely to recur. Gray, 121 Ill.App.3d at 873. Defendant here had a history of multiple recurring offenses and thus was nothing like the defendant in Gray. Thus, the trial court here, unlike the trial court in Gray, had a strong basis for concluding that consecutive sentences were necessary for the public's protection.

¶ 58 Finally, defendant argues that the court "may have been influenced by the State's improper admission of evidence regarding the probation record of [defendant's] brother Emmanuel [sic] Sanchez." The State argues that defendant forfeited the claim by failing to make a contemporaneous objection and raise the matter in a postjudgment motion. See People v. Woods, 214 Ill.2d 455, 470 (2005) (stating the rule for errors at trial). Defendant failed to do either. However, defendant argues in his reply brief that the claimed error amounted to plain error. Raising a claim of plain error in a reply brief is sufficient to allow us to engage in plain-error review. People v. Rodriguez-Palomino, 2019 IL App (2d) 160361-B, ¶ 27. The claim is nevertheless meritless on its face, as defendant needed to show that the court was improperly influenced by the evidence, not speculate that it was. A reviewing court must presume that the trial court knew and followed the law unless the record demonstrates otherwise. People v. Jordan, 218 Ill.2d 255, 269 (2006). The State asked the trial court to consider Manuel's probation record solely to show that defendant's intended residence with Manuel would not provide defendant with a suitable environment. Defendant argues that this evidence "was a transparent effort to mark [him as] guilty by association, rather than focusing on his own conduct and rehabilitative potential," and implies that the court might have been swayed by it. However, nothing in the record indicates 19 that the court gave the evidence any weight at all, let alone considered it for the improper purpose that defendant suggests.


¶ 60 As none of defendant's arguments that the court abused its sentencing discretion are persuasive, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of De Kalb County.

¶ 61 Affirmed. 20

Summaries of

People v. Sanchez

Illinois Appellate Court, Second District
Feb 1, 2022
2022 Ill. App. 2d 200659 (Ill. App. Ct. 2022)
Case details for

People v. Sanchez

Case Details

Full title:THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANTONIO…

Court:Illinois Appellate Court, Second District

Date published: Feb 1, 2022


2022 Ill. App. 2d 200659 (Ill. App. Ct. 2022)