People v. Lucious, 2016 IL App (1st) 141127 (September). Episode 233 (Duration 7:07)
Codefendant’s statement was inappropriately used against this defendant.
Defendant hit the victim in her face and stomach. Then Defendant and codefendant threw her to the ground, took her backpacks, and fled.
Victim said that Defendant pressed a gun to her right temple while she was on the ground.
The trial judge only found defendant guilty of aggravated robbery (indicating your armed) and acquitted him of the armed robbery.
No firearm was recovered after the boys were picked up.
In defendant’s confession, he said he didn’t have a gun only a cell phone.
In the codefendant’s confession he made a statement to the effect that…
“he told the victim, don’t make him shoot you.”
The codefendant also said they did not actually have a gun.
Illinois Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(D)
The trial judge said defendant was accountable for the codefendant’s words and found that Defendant alluded that he had a gun. No Doubt, the court was thinking of Illinois Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(D) which says:
“A statement is not hearsay if [made] by a coconspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
This statement about “don’t make him shoot you” came from the codefendant in his interrogation and not the victim.
That difference is crucial, because that statement came in form a cop and not the victim nor the codefendant.
In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 127-28 (1968), the United States Supreme Court held that the admission of a codefendant’s statement inculpating defendant during a joint jury trial violates the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment.
Subsequently, in Lee v. Illinois, 476 U.S. 530, 543 (1986), the Court held that the confrontation clause is violated when the trial court presiding over a joint bench trial “expressly *** relie[s]” on a codefendant’s confession as evidence of the defendant’s guilt. Indeed, the trial court erred in relying on codefendant’s statement to find that the State proved an essential element of its case against defendant.
The record shows that the trial court did not consider codefendant’s statement solely as to codefendant’s guilt. To the contrary, the trial court’s findings demonstrate that it expressly considered codefendant’s statement as evidence of defendant’s guilt.
Counsel was ineffective for allowing this testimony to be used against his client.
Reversed and remanded.