August 2015 Illinois Criminal Case List is now available. Accelerate your legal learning with fast and convenient summaries of recent Illinois criminal court cases. Stay smart & informed the smart way.
This case list PDF download is clickable! It features a summary of all the August Illinois criminal cases for 2015. Click through to the actual court decision if the case is of special interest to you.
No error here when the trial judge accepted calibration records of the breathalyzer as a business record and no error when the court disregarded the defense expert’s testimony. People v. Torruella
Defendant was arguing that rules 803(6) & 902(11) were not followed because the accuracy check records were not made at the time of the breath test but were generated two years later. 20 Ill. Adm. Code 1286.230 requires accuracy checks every 62 days. Further, the accuracy check results “shall be recorded in the instrument’s logbook or internal memory, or in the central repository.” That the “IntoxNet MIS Report” listing the accuracy check records was generated two years after the records were created did not render the records inadmissible as business records. Go to case.
DUI from a two car accident is reversed here because State failed to establish that the machine was properly certified within the 62 day window required by the regulations. People v. Smith
The state’s only witness for the breath result was the administering officer. He said the machine was regularly tested for accuracy but that he did not mention the results. Apparently, the tests are no longer done in person but are done electronically on the first of the month. The electronic certification of the breathalyzer was admitted. The State must establish that the Breathalyzer test was performed in accordance with section 11-501.2(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a), and the regulations promulgated by the Illinois Department of State Police. “Thus, the plain and ordinary language of section 1286.230 indicates that a [Breathalyzer] machine must be checked at least once every 62 days or it will not be considered accurate.” The State need not present evidence at trial showing the actual accuracy test results; rather, the State needs only to show that the Breathalyzer machine was inspected and certified as accurate within the time prescribed in the regulations and that the machine does not exhibit any malfunction at the time of defendant’s test. The problem here was that the electronic certification did not state that the Breathalyzer machine passed the accuracy tests, performed within the accuracy tolerance, and was, in fact, accurate. The State provided no evidence at trial, and makes no argument on appeal, regarding the meaning of the numbers in the electronic certification. The electronic certification admitted into evidence contains only raw data from the accuracy tests conducted electronically by the Illinois State Police and it provides no interpretation of that data, without which the court was unable to discern whether the Breathalyzer test performed within the accuracy tolerance and was certified as accurate for those dates. The Illinois State Police who conducted the accuracy testing electronically, and who could have testified as to whether the Breathalyzer machine was certified as accurate on those dates, were not called to testify at trial. The Keeper of Records who provided the electronic certification to the trial court was not called to testify. Go to case.
In this DUI, trial court’s decision to grant a discovery sanction is reversed because there was no discovery violation when officer did not record the FST. People v. Moises
The video recording showed Shaughnessy directing defendant to an off-camera area in front of defendant’s vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. The audio was captured. No matter how you choose to characterize what happened here, it simply was not a “discovery violation.” Kladis does not hold that the police must videotape everything they do. Defendant asked for the videotape; the State produced it. People v. Olsen, 2015 IL App (2d) is cited and followed (remember the whole directory v. mandatory thing). Here too, no discovery violation occurred because the State neither destroyed nor withheld the squad car video from defendant, but rather turned it over to defendant. Go to case.
Search & Seizure
State’s motion to suppress 900 grams of heroin was granted by the trial judge, the appellate court reversed that decision. People v. Reedy
The car is seen crossing the solid line, twice, while on the entrance ramp to the highway. One was for 4 to 5 seconds. Defendants get a warning but not before a drug dog responds to the scene and alerts. Appellate court said that even if Defendant did not violate the improper lane usage statute, which is applicable only to roadways “divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes for traffic.” 625 ILCS 5/11-709; then he violated the statute prohibiting driving on the shoulder driving on the shoulder. 625 ILCS 5/11-709.1(a). The reviewing court noted that the dog got there almost immediately after the stop. Further, the officer was in the process of writing a warning ticket when the dog alerted. No evidence exists that the drug questioning in any way extended the time of the stop. The entire traffic stop here lasted less than 10 minutes, and this was not a case where the officers stalled in order for a narcotics canine to arrive or to otherwise develop probable cause. Go to case.
Defendant argued that his plea to DWLS should have been treated as misdemeanor because the prior only involved a bond forfeiture and not a conviction; appellate court disagreed. People v. Borowski
The state charged it as class 4 because it was a second violation related to a DUI. However, the “prior” offense was listed on his abstract as bond forfeiture. Upon ordering the file from the clerk’s office it was discovered that the file was actually nolle prossed after the bond forfeiture remained in effect. Several provisions of the Code define “conviction” to include a bond-forfeiture judgment. (625 ILCS 5/6-100(b), 6-204(c), 6-500, 6-700(c)). The court held that “under the *** Code, a conviction that stems from a bond forfeiture is equivalent to any other conviction” and that “[a] conviction is necessarily a violation.” Even though an updated abstract did not show the bond forfeiture. It was clearly contradicted by the certified copy of the actual order denying the petition to vacate the bond forfeiture and confirming that “[b]ond remains forfeited for failure to appear.” Go to case.
Defendant inappropriately plead guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI in violation of one act one crime principles. People v. Stutzman
Defendant and victim were off duty corrections officer’s. Defendant drove victim’s jeep because she was to drunk to drive. It had no doors and she fell out when he took a sharp left. She died of her injuries. Because causing the death of another was an indispensable element of defendant’s convictions for aggravated DUI and reckless homicide, both offenses were completed at the exact same moment in time—namely, when the victim died. No abuse of discretion in trial judge’s refusal to find extraordinary circumstances. 3 years IDOC remain ineffect. Go to case.
12 year sentence for aggravated battery is reversed and remanded for new sentencing hearing where the trial court inaccurately evaluated Defendant’s prior California conviction. People v. Bailey
The criminal code permits the trial court to impose an extended-term sentence when the defendant has been convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction within the past ten years if the prior conviction is for “the same or similar class felony or greater class felony.” 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(b)(1). The issue revolved around the correct way to consider the out of state conviction. Should the court only compare the elements of the out of state crime to the appropriate Illinois crime or should the court also consider how the out of state crime is “classified”? The code in other places does limit an analysis to a simple comparison of the elements. See 730 ILCS 5-4.5-95(b) and 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3(c)(2)(F). The court said the legislative intent was to consider both the sentencing range and the elements in determining whether a conviction in another jurisdiction is of “the same or similar class felony.” Go to case.
It was error for the trial judge to stay 26 days of confinement when the minor had more than enough home confinement credit to make up for it. In re Montrell S.
Defendant was on home confinement for 41 before being placed on probation. Is home arrest “custody” under 705 ILCS 405/5-101. Juvenile Court Act governs here. It says in Section 5-710(1)(a)(v) of that: “The minor shall be given credit on the sentencing order of detention for time spent in detention under [section] *** 5-710 *** of this Article as a result of the offense for which the sentencing order was imposed.” 705 ILCS 405/5-710(1)(a)(v). “[E]lectronic home detention” is one of the forms of detention in section 5-710 (705 ILCS 405/5-710(1)(a)(x) (West 2014)), for which the minor “shall be given credit” (705 ILCS 405/5-710(1)(a)(v)). Also, under section 5-710(b), “[t]he time during which a minor is in custody before being released upon the request of a parent, guardian[,] or legal custodian shall be considered as time spent in detention.” 705 ILCS 405/5-710(b). Court said custody is custody. Go to case.
Defendant’s restitution fee must be vacated because after his sentence revocation and resentence the trial court did not give a restitution order. People v. Jones
Defendant’s restitution fee must be vacated because after his sentence revocation and resentence the trial court did not give a restitution order. Go to case.
60 year sentence for this 17 year old convicted of the murder of a 15 year old stands, regardless of his challenges to the constitutionality of automatic transfer. People v. Glazier
60 year sentence for this 17 year old convicted of the murder of a 15 year old stands, regardless of his challenges to the constitutionality of automatic transfer. Go to case.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
This is a case of first impression, which involves the recording of a crime and the accountability of the person doing the recording.the battery of the victim who died of his injuries. People v. Malcolm
Defendant was holding a cell phone and recording the robbing and murder of the victim; he was guilty by accountability.Victim was a 61 year old family man who was beat in the face and robbed; he later died of his injuries. The video of him being punched in the face surfaced on facebook. The defendant says this was just a spontaneous event, that he did not know the codefendant was going to punch the man and take his money. He claims he had no prior knowledge of the robbery before it happened. Evidence suggested otherwise. The codefendant’s announced what they what they were going to do prior to doing it and the defendant still took the cellular telephone and stayed with them to record the incident. This is not a spontaneous event. The defendant had every opportunity to leave or not take the cellular telephone, but he chose to do neither. In fact, the evidence suggests that the defendant voluntarily took the cellular telephone to record the incident since the codefendant holding the phone suggested that he would be “next.” The recording shows that the video function on the cellular telephone was turned on, CoD1 then announced that he was going to hit the victim, handed the phone to CoD2, who then also announced that he wanted to hit the guy next, and then the defendant took the phone. However, the defendant said “just give it to me” which suggests that he voluntarily took the phone, thereby agreeing to record. While the defendant himself did not do the act of attacking the victim, he was clearly part of the plan to do so and actively took part in this plan by recording the incident. Go to case.
Second degree murder conviction is reversed and conviction for involuntary manslaughter is entered. People v. Lengyel
22 year old defendant was living with his 55 year old diabetic and unhealthy father. They argued a lot. In the last fight, Dad grabbed Defendant’s shirt so Defendant punched him four to five times. Dad is hospitalized and died of a stroke due to an increase in blood pressure caused by stress from injuries. He had prior injuries from unknown origins. The reviewing court flat out said that a self defense strategy was ill-conceived. Defense counsel should not have pursued this strategy at the expense of an involuntary manslaughter instruction. The evidence did not establish an intentional or knowing killing. Defendant acted recklessly by disregarding the risk that the punches could lead to a spike in blood pressure, which eventually led to a stroke. Go to case.
Defendant’s UUW conviction is reversed because the state failed to prove that the length of the guns was shorter than required by law. People v. Shreffler
State charged defendant with violating section 24-1(a)(7)(ii) in that he possessed two shotgun each with an overall length of less than 26 inches. State also charged defendant with violating that same statute in that he possessed a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches in length. The rifle had a flash suppressor screwed on the end that was not used in the measurement. The shotguns were measured along a line parallel to the bore rather than measuring tip to tip. The code refers to an “overall length”, thus the State measured these guns incorrectly. Federal standards not applicable in a state prosecution. Go to case.
60 year sentence for this 17 year old convicted of the murder of a 15 year old stands, regardless of his challenges to the constitutionality of automatic transfer. People v. Dye
Dispute between Defendant and his public defender ends with him being escorted out of the office and him saying, “I’m gonna get you.” However, the threat was ambiguous as to whether the intended retribution was violent or nonviolent in nature. Nothing about the context of the threat could reasonably resolve the ambiguity. The mental state is intentional not just knowingly. Go to case.
Conviction for trespass to state supported property is reversed because there was no proof Defendant interfered with anyones use of the school property. People v. Quiroga
Defendant had an outburst at a PTA-like meeting. He was subsequently banned from entering on school property unless he has permission. When he was seen near school property approaching other parents to sign a petition he was arrested. The State had to prove, in part, that after receiving notice, he interfered with another person’s use or enjoyment of the land. 720 ILCS 5/21-5(a). The court found the State failed to meet its burden that Quiroga caused any interference with official or public access to the grounds or that other personnel were delayed or interfered with in the performance of their duties through his activity outside the school that day. Go to case.
Armed habitual conviction is reversed because one of the predicted UUWs was invalid per Aguilar. People v. Faulkner
Two cases have already addressed this issue. People v. Fields, 2014 IL App (1st) 130209 and People v. McFadden, 2014 IL App (1st) 102939. Because the defendant’s prior conviction for AUUW was based on a statute that was found to be unconstitutional and void ab initio in Aguilar, it could not be allowed to stand as a predicate offense for defendant’s armed habitual criminal conviction in the instant case. The UUW convictions stand even though the facts were very close. Gun found in an attic in a home where Defendant lived, but other family member had access. His statements didn’t help either: “the hood’s crazy, we’re at war with these GDs out there…I’m not worried about that, and my lawyer will handle this.” Go to case.
Aggravated battery to a child conviction is reversed when judge allowed the state to present a different definition to the term “knowingly”. People v. Willett
This was a shaken baby injury case. Defendant wanted the knowing instruction. State objected. Judge did not give it the jury. Defense counsel asked the court to reconsider its ruling, arguing that a person acts “knowingly” in the context of aggravated battery only if he is “consciously aware that his conduct is practically certain to cause great bodily harm.” In response, the State contended that the “knowingly” element applies to the actions the defendant performs, not the bodily harm resulting from those actions. In closing, the state told the jury, “We do not have to prove that when he committed these acts, that he knew the extent of what her injuries would be.” Defense had it right and it was error to allow the State to argue an erroneous definition of “knowingly” during closing arguments. Additionally, Defendant should have been granted the lesser included instruction on reckless conduct. Great discussion on the standard for giving a lesser included. Go to case.
No error in closing when prosecutor argued that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a burden that is met across courtrooms every day. People v. Thompson
The court ruled that the defense invited error when it argued that the State’s burden was not that defendant may have done it or probably did it. The court cited to cases holding that statements like the following are not error: ““[i]t’s not beyond all doubt or any doubt, but beyond a reasonable doubt, a doubt that has reason behind it. That’s not some mythical, unattainable standard that can’t be met. That standard is met every day in courtrooms ***.” But there are cases going the other way with this. Additionally, it was error for the prosecutor to argue that Defendant was trying to evade responsibility, but there was no prejudice. Go to case.
One attempt murder conviction is reversed because defendant was not accountable for the injuries sustained by the victim; however murder conviction stands. People v. Ivy
Apparently, Defendant began a shooting spree. Defendant began by shooting one victim in the face and shooting the murdered victim multiple times at close range. It is not enough that defendant initiated the shooting spree that set in motion the chain of events that resulted in the injury of a bystander. Instead, the State was required to prove that the bystander was shot in furtherance of the common criminal design which defendant shared with his accomplices. In other words, while the State did not need to prove which accomplice shot the bystander, it had to prove that an accomplice shot him. Great discussion here distinguishing a felony murder. Accomplice liability cannot lie unless there is evidence that someone with whom defendant shared a common criminal design committed the act for which defendant is being held accountable. While the felony-murder doctrine may render defendant liable for any death that proximately results from events he initiated, the accountability doctrine does not. It was never established who shot this injured victim. In fact, other than the victim being found at the scene, his name did not come up at the trial. Go to case.
Defendant’s conviction for criminal sexual assault must be vacated after improper jury trial admonishments before the plea/bench trial. People v. Cambell
Defendant agreed to a stipulated bench trial for 15 years. He had previously plead guilty and executed a jury waiver. However, he withdrew his guilty plea before proceeding with the stipulated bench trial. Where a stipulated bench trial is tantamount to a guilty plea, the trial court must admonish the defendant pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(a). A stipulated bench trial is tantamount to a guilty plea when the entirety of the State’s case is presented by stipulation and the defendant does not present or preserve a defense, or when the stipulation includes a statement that the evidence is sufficient to convict. It is because Campbell had previously waived his jury trial right that it was critical the trial court inform him the right was reinstated after his plea was withdrawn and that his prior waiver was of no effect. The court could not assume that Defendant was aware that his right to a jury trial was again available after he withdrew his plea. Although the record indicates Campbell was aware he could change his mind regarding his plea, the court extended the rule that a jury waiver is “expended” when the waiver was part of a plea that was subsequently withdrawn. Compare to People v. Hollahan 2015 IL App (3d) 130525 (05/06/2015) where the previously entered jury waiver was not part of a guilty plea so when the guilty plea was vacated the waiver was still valid. Go to case.
A photograph of the parking lot where the car burglary took place featured a “no trespassing” sign, this did not infer other crimes nor prejudice the defense. People v. Burton
Defendant said the sign inferred that he committed the crime of trespassing in addition to the car burglary that was charged. Defendant read too much into the significance of the sign. No evidence or testimony suggests Defendant committed any crime other than the burglary. The State showed the jury the photo because the photograph accurately depicted the plant parking lot where the car was burglarized. Go to case.
Defendant was not prevented from presenting his defense when he was not allowed to fully impeach the minor victim; counsel never laid proper foundations for his impeachment. People v. Burgess
As usual, in this sex case involving a minor victim the defense attempted to impeach the minor. Defendant was not allowed to impeach the witness with the testimony from an uncle who would say the minor told him he did not want to lie anymore. And Defendant was not allowed to impeach the minor with evidence that his father filed a civil suit against Defendant. Counsel never asked the minor about the statement to the uncle so the impeachment foundation was never established. In regards to the civil case, defendant has still not cited any case law showing that a trial court abuses its discretion when it bars referencing a civil case stemming from a separate criminal case when, at that time, no evidence had been provided that a civil case had occurred, that the civil case was brought by the minor or his family, or that it was legally permissible to reference a civil case that was the result of a separate and distinct criminal case. A suit was filed by the father and settled with Defendant’s employer; there is no evidence that the minor was involved or even knew about it. Go to case.
Trial counsel not ineffective for telling his client he needed to consult an immigration attorney to determine how it would affect his immigration case. People v. Carranza-Lamas
This postconviction went to a full hearing at the third stage where defendant alleged that trial counsel was ineffective for misinforming Defendant about the effects of a drug diversion on his immigration status. Defendant accepted 410 probation on a class 4. Trial judge admonished correctly on a “conviction” but trial counsel told defendant he would not have a conviction. Immigration still deported (stayed based on postconviction results) because it treated 410 as a conviction. Trial attorney testified and he said he mainly advised defendant to talk to his immigration attorney. Trial court there was no counsel error here. Defendant was already in deportation proceedings when this case began. Whereas the defendants in Padilla and Guzman-Ruiz were allegedly unaware that they could be deported, defendant here was already quite aware of the possibility of deportation based on his illegal presence. The Supreme Court further stated that where “the law is not succinct and straightforward (as it is in many of the scenarios posited by Justice ALITO), a criminal defense attorney need do no more than advise a noncitizen client that pending criminal charges may carry a risk of adverse immigration consequences.” That is what happened here. First, the conviction affected a waiver application which is itself a big discretionary mess. Second, this involved a state non-conviction that the feds don’t recognize, who knew? Go to case.
Trial judge’s denial of this successive postconviction petition was manifestly erroneous where it denied leave to file a successive postconviction petition when Defendant more than established his confession was coerced. People v. Whirl
Defendant pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery in 1990; he received 60 years. In 2012, the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission issued a disposition on Defendant’s claim that his confession was coerced. Defendant’s initial petition was denied and so was his leave to file another one. The Commission found that “by a preponderance of the evidence, there is sufficient evidence of torture to conclude [Whirl’s] Claim is credible and merits judicial review for appropriate relief.” Trial judge didn’t budge though because defendant never claimed of being tortured on appeal. Yet, there was plenty of corroborating witnesses. Also, it was known that detective Pienta, was a subordinate of Detective Burge. Also, without the confession, the State’s case against Defendant was weak. There were no eyewitnesses, the murder weapon was never recovered, and the only forensic evidence was a fingerprint found on the front passenger door of the cab. The Commission found that the statement contained internal anomalies and there were inconsistencies between the statement and other evidence in the case. Notably, Defendant, who had no criminal record, was employed as a computer operator and was living at his mother’s address so he had no need for rent money, the purported motive for the robbery according to the statement. The central issue at the evidentiary hearing, i.e., whether the new evidence of a pattern and practice of abusive tactics employed by Pienta, had it been presented at the suppression hearing, would likely have produced a different outcome. It was not up to the trial judge to make any credibility determinations on whether the defendant was to be believed that he was tortured. Defendant is entitled to a new suppression hearing. Go to case.
Murder conviction (defendant put a knife through his mom’s chest) is reversed because trial judge didn’t follow Rule 401(a) when advising defendant of going pro se. People v. Seal
Defendant appeared to be a complicated client. He made unreasonable demands on appointed counsel and filed various pro se motions complaining about them. Eventually, judge allows him to go pro se but reads his admonishments from case law rather the rule. None of the required pro se admonishments were given. “The language of Rule 401(a) could not be clearer: a trial court ‘shall not permit a waiver of counsel by a person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment without first *** informing him of and determining that he understands *** that he has a right to counsel and, if he is indigent, to have counsel appointed for him by the court.'” Go to case.
It was reversal error for the trial court to deny defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea when the state does not object to the motion. People v. McClendon
Defendant plead guilty and quickly hired a new attorney. His motion alleged he was forced into the plea by the prior attorney. The State acknowledged the details of the motion and told the judge they didn’t object to the granting of his motion. The GP was for a felony mob action and domestic battery. The court held that based on this unique record, the trial court acted unreasonably by refusing to allow the timely and unopposed motions to withdraw the guilty pleas. Respectfully, judicial discretion should not be exercised to override prosecutorial discretion in the absence of compelling reasons for the trial court to do so. After careful review, we cannot discern any compelling reasons for the trial judge’s decision in this case. Its the prosecution’s case, they probably had a good reason to not oppose the motion. Go to case.
Proper to dismiss postconviction petition at the second stage where Defendant failed to make a claim of constitutional violation. People v. Hughes
Defendant’s main claim was that his trial counsel should have filed a motion to suppress his statement because an ASA continued to interrogate him after he asked for an attorney. First, Defendant never said if he ever told his trial counsel of the violation. Second, defendant’s accompanying documentation, consisting solely of his own affidavit that his Miranda rights were violated, did not make a substantial showing of a constitutional violation. A ‘gist’ of a meritorious constitutional claim must be supported by documents. The only supporting document provided by defendant is his own affidavit stating that the ASA violated his Miranda rights. This is not enough to support the “gist” of a meritorious constitutional claim, let alone a substantial showing of a constitutional violation, as required in the second stage. Go to case.
State Appellate Defender’s motion to withdraw is denied without prejudice. People v. Kruger
The trial court made a sua sponte denial of the petition on the merits. Since OSAD’s motion to withdraw as counsel focused solely on the court’s dismissal finding and did not address the court’s denial of the petition on the merits, we deny OSAD’s motion without prejudice. If OSAD finds no colorable claim of error can be made as to the trial court’s ruling on the merits, then OSAD may file a new motion to withdraw on that basis. Go to case.
Defendant’s postconviction petition was correctly denied when he had the denial of a previous petition pending in the appellate court. People v. Minniefield
While defendant’s denial of an initial postconviction petition was being reviewed by the appellate court, defendant filed another petition to entitled, “Motion to Vacate Conviction/Sentence as Void.” Trial judge had no duty to construe the petition as a successive petition. Had the court done so, it would have affected substantive rights of Defendant. Go to case.
Post Trial Trial / Appeal
Trial counsel’s 604 certificate was inadequate, so case is remanded. People v. Mason
Defendant plead guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Appointed counsel then filed an amended motion with a 604(d) certificate. Counsel is required to certify that he has consulted with the defendant ‘to ascertain defendant’s contentions of error in the sentence AND the entry of the plea of guilty. This court (4th Dist.) agrees with the Third District in People v. Scarbrough, 2015 IL App (3d) 130426 that a Rule 604(d) certificate, which uses Rule 604(d)’s verbatim language with the “or,” does not precisely show compliance with Rule 604(d) as explained by our supreme court in People v. Tousignant, 2014 IL 115329. Remand for strict compliance with Tousignant is appropriate. Go to case.
This case was remanded back to the trial court a fourth time; this time the trial court acted when they didn’t have jurisdiction. People v. Evans
Defendant appealed his sentence for home invasion. Due to numerous violations concerning the 604(d) certificate the case went back and forth from trial court to appellate court. This time when the trial court denied the motion to reconsider sentence the trial court had not filed the mandate received from this court. Thus, the trial court had not yet been revested with jurisdiction over the case. Apparently, the trial court is required to file the mandate before taking action on it. Go to case.