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Attempted Solicitation of Murder
Defendant was properly convicted of attempted solicitation of murder even though such a crime was not specifically defined in our inchoate section. Go to case.
Defendant was writing letters soliciting a murder. The letters were intercepted by IDOC and never delivered to intended recipients. Where a letter is employed as the means of solicitation, the letter must actually reach the intended recipient for the crime of solicitation to be complete. However, the court rejected defendant’s contentions that he is guilty of nothing, and that the crime of attempted solicitation does not exist in Illinois. A charge of attempt would be reasonable and proper in this circumstance. Since the solicitation statute does not contain “attempt” language that means we assume our general attempt provision is applicable, absent inherent impossibility. People v. Boyce
Life sentence as an armed habitual offender is upheld after defendant is arrested near the scene of the crime. Go to case.
This stop of Defendant was reasonable even though he was stopped 3 1/2 hours after a home invasion. Defendant’s life sentence is valid notwithstanding the fact that one of his prior class X convictions occurred when he was 17 years old. See 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(a). The second class X conviction was not void just because the mandatory 15 year gun add-on was not included in his sentence for that case. People v. Lawson
Not error for Jennifer Hudson to testify that she never liked defendant and counseled her sister to not marry him. Go to case.
State was allowed to introduce evidence of motive in the case against defendant. A “life and death” witness who is a well-known singer and actress does not disqualify her from testifying about relevant issues in a case involving the death of her family members. Despite the fact that there was no direct physical evidence of Defendant committing this triple murder, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence. The State offered plentiful evidence of this defendant’s role in the murders of all three members of his wife’s family, an act that unfortunately was cruelly presaged in his many threats. Defendant’s life sentences were upheld. People v. Balfour
Search & Seizure
This warrantless pat down to search for guns on a Defendant who was walking down the street is upheld. Go to case.
Officer is responding to a “shots fired” call, Defendant appears to be acting as a “look out”, Police have a “no trespass” agreement with the property, officer taps Defendant on the shoulder to talk to him, asks his name and where he is going, officer has information that Defendant is known to carry a gun, officer sees bulge in his waist, pats him down, gun is recovered. The physical touch of defendant’s shoulder is one of many nonoffensive methods our culture and society accept as a measure of common courtesy to attract another person’s attention. Once the officer knew his name, the pat down was permissible. The gun charges was based on Defendant being under 21 and the fact that the gun had its serial numbers defaced. People v. Lake
Police stop defendant because he matches the description of home invasion suspects and he is near the scene of the crime. Go to case
Police are told the perpetrators are dressed in black, have guns, and drove away in a dark late model car. The car is seen nearby and is seen turning off its lights. The car is stopped. During the pat down duct tape is found in Defendant’s pocket. Dark masks are seen in the car. Guns are later removed from a bag in the back. Reasonable suspicion can be derived, in part, when police observe individuals similar to those believed fleeing from a recent crime scene when the observed individuals are located in the general area where the fleeing suspects would be expected to be, given the time of the crime and the distance from the crime scene. Additionally, shoe print evidence was admitted here. People v. Simpson
Error for the trial court to suppress evidence where the exclusionary rule did not apply to drugs that were not the fruit of the purportedly unconstitutional police search. Go to case.
Police are called to a disturbance by a suicidal young man. Police are let into the house by Defendant’s mother. The suicidal guy tells police that he was going to kill himself by taking pills. Police go looking for the pills. Police are told by Defendant’s little sister that big sister (Defendant) just took some pills into the bathroom. Defendant is arrested when she is found with ecstasy in the bathroom. While in the squad car, Defendant removed the handcuffs, grabbed the bottle, and swallowed all of the pills. The obstruction charge was a subsequent crime aimed at the police. The exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence of a defendant’s actions directed against the police, regardless of the illegality of the police conduct. This is the the “distinct-crime exception” to the fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree doctrine. The evidence related to her swallowing the pills should not have been excluded. The exclusionary rule must not be used to countenance and encourage a defendant’s unlawful and retaliatory response to perceived police misconduct. People v. Bernard
This canine sniff of Defendant’s front door to his apartment is unconstitutional; the subsequent warrant is invalid. Go to case.
The Supreme Court held in Jardines that a warrantless canine sniff within the curtilage of a house, which enjoys the same constitutional protection as the house itself, violates the fourth amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is true that that the exclusionary rule does not bar evidence obtained by a police officer who reasonably relies, in objective good faith, on a search warrant issued by a neutral and detached magistrate but that is later found to be unsupported by probable cause. See People v. Stewart, 104 Ill. 2d 463, 477 (1984), and 725 ILCS 5/114-12(b)(1). However, no binding appellate precedent authorized the officers’ conduct and, therefore, the good-faith exception did not apply. See People v. Burns, 2015 IL App (4th) 140006, ¶¶ 56-57, 60. People v. Brown.
Defendant’s conviction in the instant case was reversed in light of the fact that his previous conviction admitted as propensity evidence in this cause had been reversed. Go to case.
Defendant was convicted of sex crimes against his minor step daughter. In his trial, the State admitted as propensity evidence a prior conviction for predatory criminal sexual assault of a different minor. Later, that prior conviction was reversed because defense counsel labored under a per se conflict of interest (he formerly represented the victim). The reversal of an underlying prior conviction admitted to show propensity does not result in automatic reversal. Only structural error justifies automatic reversal. In this case, however, the admission of the underlying conviction played such a significant role in defendant’s trial, in light of the lack of direct evidence, that any confidence in defendant’s conviction in the instant case is undermined upon the subsequent reversal of the underlying conviction. People v. Fields
Other crimes evidence of two other victims were admitted in the trial against Defendant for sex crimes against two different unrelated minor children. Go to case.
The other crimes victims were in their early twenties at the time of trial and testified to about abuse when they were under 12 years old. These witnesses were not allowed to go into all the abuse they suffered but were only allowed to describe the acts Defendant did to them that were similar to the charged acts. Defendant argued the court improperly placed too much weight on the factual similarities between the charged conduct and the prior sexual abuse and did not place enough weight on the lapse of time or the fact the other-crimes evidence consisted of mere allegations, not convictions. But the court held that the similarities did show defendant’s fascination with viewing and touching the clothed or unclothed vaginas of young girls. It was unreasonable, fanciful, or arbitrary for the court to place considerable weight on this factor in determining whether the probative value of the evidence was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect. People v. Smith
Gang murder and attempted murder stand because the other crimes evidence was properly admitted. Go to case.
In this gang related drive-by shooting, the jury heard evidence that Defendant committed a very similar shooting subsequent to the shooting charged in this case. The State had to prove that Defendant was in the SUV and that, for purposes of accountability, he shared in his brother’s intent to commit first degree and attempted murder. Accordingly, the subsequent crime, reflecting that Defendant was responsible for shooting a rival gang member later that same evening, was relevant to the State’s theory that, at the time of the charged shooting, Defendant was hunting for rival gang members. People v. Cavazos
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
In a case that depended on the credibility of the witnesses defense counsel was not ineffective for not being more aggressive with the victim. Go to case.
Defendant’s argument overlooks the fact that a claim of ineffectiveness must be evaluated based on the entire record, and defense counsel did a thorough job of exposing the weaknesses and contradictions in the State’s case through cross examination. It was unclear why two character witnesses were not called, and when the basis of defendant’s ineffectiveness claim relies on matters not of record, the claim is better brought in a collateral proceeding. See People v. Minniefield, 2014 IL App (1st) 130535. People v. Kirklin
In this postconviction petition Defendant alleges that trial counsel did not tell him about a substantially lower offer from the State. Go to Case.
Defendant also alleged in his postconviction petition that his trial counsel was ineffective, in part, because he did not call a defense witness and did not notify Defendant of the extended term that would be applicable if he lost the trial. It didn’t help Defendant that the trial judge remembered that Defendant was told the offer and was told of the extended term. The additional witnesses that are identified in the petition are not properly supported by affidavits as required. None of the evidence was exculpatory. Additionally, Defendant failed to allege in his petition or state in his affidavit that he would have accepted the State’s offer, and the record refutes any suggestion he would have been willing to plead guilty while on federal parole. People v. Brown
Padilla does not apply retroactively, so although the court may find in the future that inaccurate information on sentencing credit is ineffective, it won’t help this defendant in his successive postconviction petition in such an old murder case. Go to case.
Defendant’s attorney told him that he could not get a life sentence if he plead to murder because there were not any exceptionally brutal or heinous conduct factors in the case. Attorney also never told told him he would have been eligible for “day for day” credit cutting the 40 year offer into 20 actual years. (Credit was available for murder back then.) Defendant got a life sentence. Defendant said he would have taken the deal if his attorney had not been ineffective in his advice. Despite, the appearance of the abandonment of the collateral-direct distinction in plea consequences. For now, the pre-Padilla rule that the availability of day-for-day good conduct credit under section 3-6-3(a) of the Code is a collateral consequence of a guilty plea and that a defendant’s attorney thus is not ineffective merely for failing to inform his client about it still stands. Court refused to apply any new Padilla standards to such an old case. Additionally, this attorney did not misread the law. Instead, he provided an opinion that proved to be overconfident and wrong but not manifestly erroneous. People v. LaPointe
20 year sentence for delivery of more than 900 grams of cocaine was proper; there was no improper consideration of a factor inherent in the charge (namely the total weight of the drugs). Go to case.
Defendant plead guilty to the delivery with an agreement that the State would not seek more than 20 years. The applicable range here was 15 to 60 years. Cops took over 3 kilos off Defendant in the raid as well as 5,000 grams of weed. They also found $73,000 is cash and gun. The State recommended 20 years in prison due to defendant’s prior drug-related record and the fact he was running a large-scale drug business out of his home and his parents’ home with “astounding” amounts of cocaine and cannabis, large amounts of cash, and a loaded weapon. The trial court found Defendant was a substantial drug dealer and the deterrent factor rung loud and clear. But it has also long been held the fact a defendant possessed a quantity of drugs in excess of the minimum for that sentencing range is a factor the trial court may consider when determining the appropriate sentence. People v. Palmer-Smith
Officer committed error when she testified it was her belief that Defendant was lying to her at the scene of the one car accident and that he was showing deception. Go to case.
However, this DUI case was not so closely balanced requiring reversal. Defendant was the registered owner of the vehicle. He admits he drove his car to the bar, became intoxicated, then let a strange man drive him home. Yet, this man, after crashing the vehicle, conveniently and immediately disappeared and was never found. Combined with his inconsistencies and the fact that the photos of the crash are consistent with only one person being in the car, this was not a close case despite the error in the “human lie detector” testimony. People v. O’Donnell
Burglary conviction is reversed, state did not prove Defendant knew the items he pawned were stolen when he walked into a pawn shop to sell them. Go to case.
Defendant was charged with burglary not for entering the home where the camera and game system were stolen from, but for entering a pawn shop with intent to commit a theft (sell the stuff). The State’s theory was that defendant committed theft by obtaining control over stolen property and then pawning the property at Pawn King. The element of the theft occurred prior to defendant’s entry into Pawn King and incontrovertibly not inside or upon entry into the pawnshop. Accordingly, defendant did not enter Pawn King with the intent to commit therein a theft, as required under the burglary statute. In short, the pawnshop was not burglarized. People v. Murphy
Shooting a gun into the ground at a new year’s eve party was not a reckless discharge. Go to case.
Police, gun experts they said, testified that it is dangerous to fire a gun into the ground because rocks, concrete, metal, steel or clay can ricochet in any direction. Defendant said he shot into the ground because he knew it was unsafe to shoot up in the air. He did not shoot at anyone; no kids outside when defendant fired the gun. The appellate court thought otherwise in concluding that the defendant’s shots into the ground were not per se reckless. Nor was the court convinced that anyone was in actual danger. People v. Moreno
Public Defender Fee
Sentenced to 11 years IDOC for burglary and ordered to pay $750 in public defender fees, fee vacated. Go to case.
The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/113- 3.1(a) authorizes the trial court to order a criminal defendant for whom counsel has been appointed to pay a reasonable amount to reimburse the county or the state. However, prior to ordering reimbursement, the trial court must conduct a hearing, within 90 days of sentencing, regarding the defendant’s financial resources. ¶ 25 The hearing requires notice and Defendant has a chance to present evidence why he can’t pay. No hearing here so fee must be vacated. People v. Daniels
There has to be a hearing for public defender fees with notice. Go to case.
Defendant ordered to pay over $2000 in public defender fees after being sentenced to 7 years for delivery of a controlled substance. 725 ILCS 5/113-3.1 provides the necessary procedural framework for the reimbursement hearing. See People v. Somers, 2013 IL 114054. Here, the court did not comply with the requirements of section 113-3.1(a) because defendant was not given notice of the hearing and was not afforded an opportunity to present evidence regarding his ability to pay. Case was remanded for a proper hearing. People v. McClinton
Batson procedure and Interstate Agreement on Detainers discussed here. Go to case.
No violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (730 ILCS 5/3-8-9) occurred here because Defendant could not establish when he tendered his request for final disposition to the clerk’s office. Striking an African American women was not a Batson violation even though the State couldn’t remember exactly why they struck her. She did have a criminal record, though. Go to case. People v. Payne
Withdrawal of Guilty Plea
Defendant gets 10 years for escape after turning himself in 1 week late, case is going back because it looks like defense counsel just filed a “form” 604(d) certificate. Go to case.
Defendant’s motion to withdraw guilty plea was summarily denied. However, defense counsel admitted that he did not actually make any amendments to Defendant’s pro se motion to vacate guilty plea. First, counsel did not include an issue it later be requested orally. Second, The pleadings should have been amended to reflect that defendant was confused and did not knowingly plead guilty. Court was left with grave concerns as to whether defense counsel considered all the relevant bases for defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. People v. Willis
Defendant was charged with armed robbery but convicted of robbery after the court sua sponte instructed the jury on this lesser included. Go to case.
Defendant asked for theft instructions; the judge gave him that and also something he did not order. In People v. Garcia, 188 Ill. 2d 265, 282 (1999), the Illinois Supreme Court held that, “under appropriate circumstances, a trial court possesses the discretion to instruct a jury sua sponte on lesser-included offenses, even where the State does not request such instruction and the defense objects.” Also, there is no instruction nor recommendation for a definition of “force.” Case does a good job summarizing the “snatch” cases (purse snatches and such). People v. Hicks
There was sufficient evidence to establish that Defendant made and delivered a false document that was capable of defrauding another. Go to case.
Defendant wrote her own letter of diminished capacity purportedly written by a psychologist in order to transfer assets from her father’s trust to her mother. The father suffered from strokes and was going down hill fast. It appears Defendant was trying to get all the financial matters in her mother’s name before father died. So she wrote out a letter on a memo pad from the nursing home that her father was incapacitated and signed it as his doctor. The letter was rejected by the compliance department of the financial company. Shortly later, a valid diminished-capacity letter was presented. But a document’s capacity to defraud another need be only apparent, not actual. Here, there was sufficient evidence that a reasonable person might be deceived into accepting the document as genuine. It was presented with the name of a person who had evaluated the patient and it was on letterhead from the facility where he received care. A There has to be a hearing for public defender fees with notice. People v. McClinton
Resisting arrest convictions is upheld even though the officer unlawfully arrested the defendant on alleged domestic violence concerns. Go to case.
Officer only knew that things got loud any maybe broken. Alleged victim had no visible injury nor did she complain of any violence towards her. Officer arrested Defendant when he told the officer to leave the house. Obstruction is overturned because the arrest was unlawful. However, Defendant had no right to resist a false arrest so the five years for that crime is going to stick. People v. Jones
Defendant cannot rely on his own improper service of his petition to win a remand; dismissal was appropriate. Go to case.
Defendant has filed numerous pleadings after his 45 year sentence for murder in 1997. The 30-day period does not provide a sword for a petitioner to wield once a court—as in this case—does not find in his favor, especially given that, under defendant’s interpretation, the basis of his claim on appeal is his failure to comply with Rule 105. A defendant should not be able to serve a party incorrectly and then rely on the incorrect service to seek reversal of the trial court’s decision. People v. Donley
16 year old defendant loses his postconviction petition when he failed to establish that his counsel was ineffective for not bringing in an expert witness during his suppression hearing. Go to case.
Kind of a weird case. The dissent is around 50+ pages and begins with “This is wrong.” This 16 year old defendant brutally beat and killed his 11 month old child. Defendant was mildly mentally retarded and the petition was claimin trial counsel did not use the expert they had in the hearing to suppress his confession. Defendant was actually struck in the eye by jail guards before his interrogation. In the end, the holding was that Defendant did not show that the expert would have changed the results of the suppression hearing. Court had a strong belief that the Defendant’s own expert had evidence not supporting their case. Focus on the dissent if you’re looking for a detailed indictment on the postconviction system. People v. Richardson
No error here when defendant was resentenced to a total of 45 years, as he originally bargained for. Go to case.
Defendant’s case was remanded for resentencing consistent with the terms of his plea after he plead guilty to concurrent terms for Murder and robbery. The law required consecutive terms. Thus, on resentencing he was sentenced to 39 years for murder and 6 years for the robbery. Defendant is wrong in his belief that the trial judge had authority to sentence him to something less than a total of 45 years. People v. Golen
Proper to deny defendant leave to file a successive postconviction petition was proper because he was contesting the same issues. Go to case.
Review of these issues is barred by res judicata. The failure to swear the grand jury does not divest the trial court of subject-matter jurisdiction to enter a criminal conviction. Even though Defendant was sentenced to an extended term due to a finding of exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty that was never submitted to a jury. Apprendi is not applied retroactively. People v. Johnson
Despite the law rewrite allowing for supervision after a finding of delinquency, a minor still cannot appeal when there is an order of supervision. Go to case
The minor was placed on supervision for theft. The new law allows a trial court to “enter an order of continuance under supervision” even after “a finding of delinquency.” Section 5-6-3.1 governs supervision in adult cases, and it specifically provides: “A disposition of supervision is a final order for the purposes of appeal.” 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(h). Juvenile supervision may be terminated at any time, quite unlike an adult case. See 705 ILCS 405/5-615(4). Additionally, although both 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(h) and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(b) both indicate that appellate courts have jurisdiction to review adult supervision orders, those provisions apply only to adult supervision orders. Rule 660 provides jurisdiction to review only “final” judgments in juvenile cases. Finally, this case is not one of the exceptions listed under Rule 662. In re Micahel D.
Gang murder and attempted murder convictions against the shooter will stand even though the witnesses were all convicted felons who agreed to implicate him only after they were arrested for other offenses and threatened with murder charges. Go to case.
The witnesses’ criminal histories, their agreements with the State, and their general motivations to curry favor with the State were thoroughly exposed at trial. The fact that a witness has been promised leniency in exchange for testimony does not automatically raise doubt as to the defendant’s guilt. The court also held that anytime the subject of an attempted murder is not the subject of another charge, juror confusion is “probable” and the pattern instruction must be modified. The application to juveniles of mandatory firearm enhancements (730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(d)), mandatory consecutive sentencing (730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(d)), and “truth in sentencing” provisions (730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(i), (ii)) are constitutional because these are not sentencing statutes as described in Roper, Graham, and Miller. Accordingly, section 5-120 nor 5-130 of the juvenile court act merely determines where a juvenile is to be tried, thus, it is not subject to and does not violate the eighth amendment or the proportionate-penalties clause. People v. Cavazos
Murder conviction reversed where at trial prosecution crossed the line of permissible argument and vouched for it’s witnesses. Go to case.
This was a gang related drive-by shooting. The state’s witness testified that defendant was the shooter. Defendant testified that he was sleeping and that the witness was the shooter. In closing, the prosecutor argued that the witness was believable because his office “checked it out”. Prosecutors are not permitted to vouch for the credibility of a government witness nor are they permitted to use the credibility of the state’s attorney’s office to bolster a witness’s testimony. A prosecutor’s vouching for the credibility of witnesses is a problem because such comments can convey the impression that evidence not presented to the jury, but known to the prosecutor, supports the charges against the defendant and the prosecutor’s opinion carries with it the imprimatur of the Government and may induce the jury to trust the Government’s judgment rather than its own view of the evidence. Credibility was the key to the case. The State improperly tipped the scales in favor of their witness. People v. Williams
Murder conviction reversed where expert opinion testimony appeared to be founded on very little beyond just “trust me.” Go to case.
An expert in firearm/toolmarks identified the bullet found by the victim as being fired from Defendant’s gun. However, it was error to admit this testimony because the expert’s testimony lacked an adequate foundation where the expert testified that he found “sufficient agreement” but did not testify to any facts that formed the bases or reasons for this ultimate opinion that the bullet matched defendant’s gun. In making the comparison, the expert looked for striations, or scratch markings, on the bullet. As to the methodology itself, Illinois has long recognized the admissibility of firearm/toolmark comparison and identification. Nevertheless, the fact that the methodology of firearm/toolmark identification is generally accepted, and that Barr testified to how he followed the methodology, does not remove the further requirement of laying a proper foundation for the expert opinion. The proponent must ” ‘lay an adequate foundation establishing that the information upon which the expert bases his opinion is reliable.’ ” The expert did not point to any information upon which he based his opinion that the recovered bullet matched defendant’s gun. The witness did not testify to even a single individual characteristic or striation or marking as a point of comparison on the bullet recovered to the test bullets fired from Defendant’s gun. People v. Jones