May 2015 Illinois Criminal Case List – Fast and convenient summary of recent Illinois criminal court cases created just for you.
Search & Seizure
Reasonable mistakes of law can support a seizure by police. People v. Gayton
Illinois Supreme Court adopts the principle of “reasonable mistake of law” set out by the SCOTUS in Heien v. North Carolina. Court held that the officer did not violate the fourth amendment when he stopped the car defendant was riding in for having a hitch that obstructed the license plate. The traffic law in question was ambiguous and therefore no traffic law was being violated. However, because the officer’s mistake in law was reasonable the constitution was not offended. Go to case.
Police attached a GPS to defendant’s car without a warrant, however, suppression of evidence is not warranted because the exclusionary rule is not applicable when the police reasonably relied in good faith on preexisting law. People v. LeFlore
During the pendency of this appeal. The SCOTUS ruled that GPS devices constitute searches and warrants are required when they are used by law enforcement. This decision came in in 2012 in United States v. Jones. The good faith exception to the exclusionary rule is applicable in this case. In 2009, police acted reasonably in relying on what was, at that time, binding precedent which clearly authorized their conduct in installing and monitoring the GPS device without a warrant. Go to case.
Trial court’s finding that the saving clause in the exclusive jurisdiction provision of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 violated the equal protection rights of defendant as applied to him was reversed. People v. Richardson
Defendant committed his crimes before the effective date raising the age of minor tried in juvenile court to 18. Trial court found he was similarly situated to other 17 year olds tried as minors after the effective date of the change. Neither the fourteenth amendment nor the Illinois Constitution prevents statutes and statutory changes from having a beginning, nor does either prohibit reasonable distinctions between rights as of an earlier time and rights as they may be determined at a later time. Go to case.
Appointed counsel in this second stage postconviction petition failed to established exactly why the petitioner’s claims were frivolous or patently without merit. People v. Kuehner
Case is going back to the second stage so newly appointed counsel can make a claim for dismissal if it is warranted. The case was already advanced to the second stage because the court found merit in the claims of ineffective assistance. Postconviction counsel, in seeking to withdraw, did not address, analyze, or even mention any of the claims raised by Defendant. Go to case.
Error to dismiss this postconviction petition at the first stage when Defendant presented possible “other evidence” that another man actually committed the murder. People v. Allen
Defendant had an un notarized statement from another imprisoned man saying that he committed the murder alone and that Defendant had no involvement. This petition gets to move on the second stage where the affidavit must then be obtained by Defendant. The statement qualifies as other evidence because it shows that the allegations are capable of corroboration and identifies the sources, character and availability of evidence to support the petition’s allegations. Go to case.
Trial court erred in denying the minor’s motion to suppress statement when the police used deception, subterfuge and promises against an unfit 9 year old. In re D.L.H., Jr.
Discharge hearing results in a finding of “not not guilty” of murder against this unfit minor. A 14 month old infant was killed. The minor was borderline retarded with an IQ of 78. Even the minor was not in custody at the time of the interrogation, his second statement was, nonetheless, involuntary. Go to case.
It was harmless error to not ask for a special jury instruction on gun possession. People v. Walker
The 15 year gun add-on requires a special jury instruction and proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a murder trial. That was not done here. The Defendant objected and the judge imposed the 15 years anyway. Although, this was a constitutional error under Apprendi, it was not a structural error. Extra 15 years stands. Go to case.
Adjudication for criminal sexual abuse for engaging in consensual sexual activity with another close-in-age minor is not cruel and unusual punishment. In re Maurice D.
Defendant was 17 years old and the victim was 15. The court said that 12-15(c) of the Code, now section 11-1.50(c), bears a rational relationship to the legitimate state interest of protecting children 13 to 16 years of age from premature sexual experiences. The closeness in age did not override the legislature’s purpose in enacting the statute regardless of the partner’s’ age. The criminal sexual abuse statute at issue in this case—under which respondent was charged, convicted, and sentenced—is rationally related to the legislative purpose of protecting 13 to 16 year olds from premature sexual experiences. Go to case.so
Appellate court finds that the automatic transfer provision is unconstitutional under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, as applied to defendant, in that his sentence shocks the moral sense of the community and orders the trial court to not impose the statutorily mandated firearm enhancements. People v. Gibson
The court held that Defendant’s penalty in this case is so wholly disproportionate that it shocks the moral sense of the community. Additionally, the court found it unsettling that in sentencing a juvenile, the trial court’s discretion was frustrated by the legislature’s decision to impose a mandatory firearm enhancement more than three times the length of defendant’s attempted murder sentence. The court said that while the legislature’s discretion to prescribe penalties includes the power to prescribe mandatory sentences that restrict the judiciary’s own discretion the legislature’s discretion is limited by our constitution. Under these specific circumstances, defendant’s sentence shocks the conscience and cannot pass constitutional muster. Court reversed and remanded in part because of problems with the trial court’s fitness determination. Trial court was ordered to impose, on both attempted murder counts, any appropriate Class X sentence under the Unified Code, without regard to the mandatory enhancement. Go to case.
This extended term based on a prior adjudication of delinquency was consistent with Apprendi. People v. Jones
The question of whether an adjudication of delinquency falls under Apprendi’s prior conviction exception—and whether the State may in turn forego proving the adjudication to a jury before it may be used for sentence enhancement— remains unsettled in Illinois. This court sided with the majority of jurisdictions contemplating the issue. An adjudication of juvenile delinquency, with all constitutionally required procedural safeguards in place, is a no less reliable basis for the enhancement of a sentence than is a standard adult criminal conviction. Further, a presentence report is generally a reliable source for the purpose of inquiring into a defendant’s criminal history. Go to case.
Defendant was not eligible for court supervision on this DWLR; trial court committed no error in sentencing Defendant to 30 days & RCD. People v. Scarbrough
730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(j) says no court supervision if his prior was within 10 years. Defendant argued the time was measured to the date of the new conviction; State argued it was measured to the date of the offense. the court ruled that the operative date for the current offense was the date of the charge—not the date of a conviction. The court also reiterated “that section 4.5 of 5-5-3 requires a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 days. It is clear that the defendant was not eligible for court supervision. Go to case.
Automatic transfer statute of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 is constitutional; 97 years for murder and 2 counts of attempted murder sustained. People v. Reyes
Defendant was 16 years old at the time of the crimes. The adult sentences and sentence enhancements, such as the mandatory firearm enhancements, mandatory consecutive sentencing, and the “truth in sentencing” provisions, apply to juveniles who are prosecuted as adults. The defendant contends that the automatic transfer statute and the adult sentencing requirements do not take into account the inherent differences between juveniles and adults, specifically the attendant circumstances of youth. However, the court noted that the purpose of the automatic transfer statute was not to punish a defendant; its purpose was to establish the relevant forum for the prosecution of a juvenile charged with one of five serious crimes. Thus, all of Defendant’s constitutional claims failed. Additionally, Defendant had an accumulation of sentences. The court noted that there is an evolving trend to treat juvenile offenders differently from adult offenders. But they left this task in Illinois to legislatures. Go to case.
Conviction for second degree murder stands for now, but case was remanded for a new Krankel hearing. People v. Flemming
People v. Jolly made clear that, when the State questions a defendant’s trial counsel “extensively in a manner contrary to defendant’s pro se allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel and *** solicit[s] testimony from his trial counsel that rebut[s] defendant’s allegations,” that participation is not de minimus. The State’s questions to defense counsel and responses received to those questions rebutted defendant’s pro se allegations, specifically his allegations that his counsel misinformed him regarding the number of stab wounds victim received and his counsel should have made a the victim’s prior history of aggression part of the record. By the State’s questions and defense counsel’s responses, they “effectively argued against defendant at a proceeding when he appeared pro se,” which “is contrary to the intent of a preliminary Krankel inquiry.” Go to case.
Search & Seizure
These furtive movements by Defendant cannot support the subsequent police search of his car. People v. Smith
Car is curbed for running a stop sign. Cop sees Defendant lean towards the passenger’s seat for 3 to 4 seconds. Occupants are removed. Car searched right away. Gun found underneath front passenger seat. Although furtive movements may be considered justification for performing a warrantless search when coupled with other circumstances tending to show probable cause, looks, gestures, and movements taken alone are insufficient to constitute probable cause to search since they may be innocent. To constitute probable cause for an arrest or search, a “furtive gesture” such as a motorist’s act of bending over inside his car must be invested with guilty significance either by specific information known to the officer or by additional suspicious circumstances observed by him. UUWF was reversed because trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. Go to case.
Trial court committed error in concluding that the warrant did not have a sufficient nexus between the “shots fired” call and Defendant’s apartment. People v. Pettis
Police obtained a search warrant for defendant’s home and car after a witness told police she saw Defendant shoot a gun in the air while in his car. There was a substantial basis here for the judge to find the warrant was supported by probable cause. Officers advised he may have been inside his apartment prior to their arrival. Approximately nine minutes later defendant was “located” in the common area of his apartment and landlord confirmed he lived there. Shell casings were located outside the apartment where witness said she saw him firing. Drawing reasonable inferences from the information contained in both affidavits, one could reasonably believe defendant (1) committed the offense; (2) left the scene; (3) drove to his apartment; (4) parked the vehicle; (5) secreted the weapon in his apartment; (6) was then “located” in the common area of his apartment building; and (7) was subsequently apprehended by officers who made contact with him approximately one block from his apartment building. In viewing the affidavits in a commonsense, non hypertechnical manner, probable cause was established. Go to case.
Defendant was properly seized 10 minutes after the home invasion because his description matched what the victim’s said, but home invasion with a deadly weapon conviction is reversed. People v. Booker
The detention was reasonable. The officers observed defendant “within 10 to 15 minutes of the offense,” three blocks from the scene of the crime, and that his appearance matched the description of the offender, who “had fled southbound into the alley”—a “male black wearing a white t-shirt with tattoos on his neck. Also, the allegation that defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon other than a firearm cannot be reasonably inferred from the allegation that defendant was armed with a firearm, because the latter necessarily excludes the former. Because the information charging defendant with home invasion “while armed with a firearm” did not state a “broad foundation” or “main outline” of home invasion while armed with a dangerous weapon other than a firearm, we find that the trial court erred when it convicted defendant of the uncharged offense of home invasion with a dangerous weapon other than a firearm. Home invasion conviction is reversed. Go to case.
Motion to Dismiss
Appellate court rejects trial court’s credibility determination and reverses trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss. People v. Marion
Defendant gave the police information on some guns in exchange for no charges being filed in this case. Charges were filed anyway and Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. An officer said they never promised to not arrest him only that they would talk to the prosecutor. Trial judge said the officer was credible. However, where the State’s evidence is improbable, unconvincing and contrary to human experience, an appellate court will not hesitated to reverse the trial court’s judgments of conviction. Here, the officer’s testimony makes Defendant’s behavior improbable, incomprehensible, and contrary to human nature. The reviewing court found that the State failed to present credible evidence to explain Defendant’s decision to give the police information leading to the discovery of three guns without hearing from the police anything that led him to expect favorable treatment in exchange for the information. The trial court’s finding that Defendant initiated a conversation with police, spontaneously offering to produce rifles, and agreeing to exchange the rifles for a good word from police, when he could not produce rifles, is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Defendant’s credible testimony shows that an officer promised that police would not pursue charges against him if he gave them information that led them to some guns and helped get the guns off the street. Finally, an officer can agree not to arrest a suspect – not to initiate the process of bringing a criminal charge – in exchange for the suspect’s cooperation in the investigation or prevention of crime. Appellate court found the officer’s agreement with Defendant enforceable. The officer had a duty not to arrest him and not to start the process that led to the charges filed against him. Go to case.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
Conviction for possession with intent to deliver reversed because the State did not meets its burden of proof. People v. Chatha
AM-2201 is a lab-manufactured substance that mimics the effects of ingesting cannabis. Recent Illinois law prohibits the sell of this stuff. This is an aromatherapy product and are for fragrance purposes only (incense). Some people smoke it. Defendant, a gas station owner, had pulled other products off the shelves when the law changed but was told this item was “legal.” At the time defendant received the shipment of Bulldog Potpourri, the chemical compound known as “4-iodo-2, 5-dimethoxy-N- ((2-methoxy phenyl) methyl) benzeneethanamine” was perfectly legal in Illinois. The average lay person would have no way of knowing what such a substance looked or smelled like, or how it was packaged, marketed, sold, or ingested. From defendant’s perspective, based upon his inquiry to the manufacturer, Bulldog Potpourri probably contained some legal chemical substance that his customers enjoyed smoking for its intoxicating effects. The issue of whether defendant—as the store owner—knew that the commercially packaged plant material he stocked and sold contained the addition of a nonorganic controlled substance defined by its molecular composition is distinctly more complicated and difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt than an analysis concerning the typical street-corner exchange of money for cannabis in which the controlled substance organically derives from the plant material at issue. Go to case.
Defendant’s conviction for unlawful sale or delivery of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-3(A)(g)) is reversed because state did not prove that Defendant and purchaser reached an agreement as contemplated by the code. People v. Deleon
Section Section 24-3(A)(g) defines “application” as “when the buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.” The crime under this statute is not selling a gun or even delivering a gun; it is delivering a gun to the buyer, incidental to a sale, less than 72 hours after the “agreement to purchase a firearm” was made. Thus, among other things, the State must prove that an “agreement to purchase” the gun took place between defendant’s friend and defendant, and that it took place within 72 hours of the delivery of the gun to the buyer. The State, in other words, sees two “sales” of the firearm in this case: first, when the gun store sold the gun to defendant, contingent on defendant passing the background check; and second, when defendant re-sold the gun to his friend. Court saw it differently. It found that defendant and his friend reached an agreement whereby defendant would provide his services as a straw purchaser to obtain the gun for the friend. Because an agreement to provide services is not an “agreement to purchase” a good, the transfer of the weapon from defendant to the friend for the sum of $200 on did not trigger any waiting period at all. Defendant’s conviction must be reversed. State should have charged the offense of unlawful purchase of a firearm which prohibits an individual from knowingly purchasing a firearm “with the intent to deliver that firearm to another person who is prohibited by federal or State law from possessing a firearm.” 720 ILCS 5/24-3.5(b). Go to case.
Attempted first degree murder conviction is reversed because the facts of the case did not justify an inference that Defendant intended to kill the victim. People v. Brown
Defendant stabbed his live in girlfriend in the back four times. The doctor opined that it was possible that the wounds could have resulted in her death. However, the cuts were superficial and not life threatening. However, not every assault involving serious bodily injury will necessarily support an inference that the assailant intended to kill the victim. Go to case.
Consensual blood draw case, and no abuse of discretion in sentencing defendant to 13 years for aggravated DUI. People v. Harris
Defendant had 4 prior DUI’s and his BAC was .3 in this case. Interestingly, cops don’t take him to the station for the warnings but take him to the hospital where he submits to a blood draw. McNeely only addressed the very narrow question of whether a nonconsensual, warrantless blood test is categorically reasonable under the fourth amendment because the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream presents a per se exigency. This blood draw was consensual. Consent to a chemical test is not coerced and is not rendered involuntary merely by a law-enforcement officer’s reading of the warning to motorist that accurately informs defendant of the consequences for refusing the test. Go to case.
Right to Counsel
Armed robbery conviction reversed because defendant’s waiver of his right to counsel was unknowing and involuntary. People v. Wright
The trial court failed to comply with Rule 401(a). Trial judge gave various responses the maximum sentence. At one point judge said he faced concurrent sentences then said consecutive. The trial court’s incorrect admonishments regarding defendant’s maximum sentence compels the conclusion that defendant did not make a knowing and voluntary waiver of his right to counsel. An unknowing waiver of the right to counsel is such a serious error due to the right involved that prejudice will be presumed. Good discussion on Rule 804(b)(3) involving coconspirator statements as statement against interest. Go to case.
VOOP is reversed due to inadequate admonishments on waiving right to counsel. People v. Brzowski
Defendant represented himself in two trials for VOOP. A defendant may engage in self representation only if he voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waives his right to counsel. In order to waive the right to counsel Substantial compliance with Rule 401 is required. Thus, the admonitions of the rule are not required where standby counsel is present “at all times during the course of the trial.” None of the required admonishments were given here. Also, before the second trial started judge should not have told defendant he was not entitled to a public defender. Go to case.
Right to Jury
Defendant’s jury waiver prior to his guilty plea remained in effect after the trial court withdrew his guilty plea. People v. Hollahan
Defendant argues that his jury waivers were no longer effective after the trial court allowed withdrawal of his guilty plea and vacated the conviction entered as a result of his guilty plea. The well-established rule is that a waiver of a jury on one trial, is expended by that trial. This rule has not been extended to situations where, as here, a defendant waives his right to a jury trial and pleads guilty, and the trial court subsequently allows withdrawal of the defendant’s guilty plea and tries the defendant without a jury. Court refused to extend said rule. Go to case.
Not error to admit 20 year old other crimes evidence in this sex case. People v. Brady
State had disclosed the prior in a paragraph in a DCFS report. Defendant was 11 or 12 years old at the time. State “notified” the defense one day before trial that they intended to call his sister to testify about the other crimes. Counsel could not have been surprised because The nature and substance of the testimony was evident from the DCFS summary disclosed over a year before trial. Disclosure does not require citing to section 115-7.3. Go to case.
It was not error for the trial court to admit evidence of prior beatings this domestic violence victim sustained from Defendant. People v. Torres
Torres argues that the trial court permitted the State to present extensive and unnecessary detail to the jury in the proof of other crimes. The victim’s testimony not only established the basis on which her relationship with Torres rested, the earlier events also mirrored the circumstances of the charged offenses. Therefore, the trial court properly allowed the evidence of the prior acts (proximity in time, same victim, factual similarity—beating with fists on face, legs; choking; name-calling); the relevance and probative value of this evidence does not outweigh the risk of undue prejudice. Also, the summary of the statement provided by the State in discovery was sufficient because “summary” need not contain all that is required by an offer of proof; a lesser amount of detail and particularity suffices. Go to case.
Counsel’s failure to advise client of immigration consequences was not cured by the judge’s admonishments. People v. Valdez
Denial of motion to vacate guilty plea is reversed. Although determining whether a crime is a CIMT can be a difficult exercise, in the present case it was clear that a conviction for burglary predicated upon theft was a CIMT. An answer was clear from a minimal investigation of the case law. Counsel therefore had a duty to advise defendant that, by pleading guilty, deportation was “presumptively mandatory.” Go to case.
Statute of Limitation
Reckless driving supervision must be reversed because State violated the statute of limitations. People v. Lutter
A misdemeanor must be prosecuted within six months unless a prosecutor for the same conduct is pending. 720 ILCS 5/3-5(b) and 720 ILCS 5/3-7(c).“Where an indictment on its face shows that an offense was not committed within the applicable limitation period, it becomes an element of the State’s case to allege and prove the existence of facts which invoke an exception to the limitation period.” People v. Morris, 135 Ill. 2d 540, 546 (1990). Here, although the information vaguely alleged facts that would arguably toll the limitations period, the State offered no evidence whatsoever of those facts during the trial. Thus, defendant’s motion for acquittal was well taken and should have been granted. Go to case.
No ineffective assistance of counsel merits reversal here. People v. Lewis
It was a strategic decision to show the jury a booking photo of a prior traffic offense. The defense attorney was pointing out how the victim’s description was inaccurate. The State’s comments during closing argument were not objectionable and therefore defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to object. Defendant concedes that this court has held that evidence demonstrating a defendant’s refusal to participate in a lineup is admissible evidence (People v. Shanklin, 367 Ill. App. 3d 569, 578 (2006)), but argues that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the State’s overemphasis of defendant’s refusal to participate. Over emphasis is not a valid objection point. Finally, defendant was not prejudiced by counsel’s comparison of “reasonable doubt” to the “red zone” on a football field. Go to case.
Was defense counsel ineffective because he failed to secure the testimony of an eyewitness through section 3 of the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Within or Without a State in Criminal Proceedings (Witness Attendance Act) (725 ILCS 220/3)? People v. McLaurin
Defense counsel informed the court that he obtained the witness’s mobile number and had “several” conversations with him. The witness never disclosed his location. The State also informed the court that the State’s investigator was unsuccessful in locating the witness. The trial court noted that it was mindful of the Witness Attendance Act, but that the statute’s requirements could not be complied with where neither the State nor defense counsel knew of the whereabouts of the witness. Thus, defense counsel could not have been deficient in failing to secure his presence or testimony. Also, the Zeher admonishments were fumbled here, but it was not plain error. Go to case.
Bad stipulation by the State leads to reversal of AUUW conviction. People v. Irby
Defense counsel and the State stipulated that the police found a black, steel handgun under the right, rear passenger seat of the vehicle. The stipulation made no mention of a case. Assuming the gun was uncased, the prosecution needed to either include that fact in the stipulation or offer evidence of the fact if no stipulated agreement could be reached. Court did not infer that the gun was uncased based on defendant’s decision not to present evidence that the gun was cased. Conviction reversed. Go to case.
This 17 year old’s confession was not coerced. People v. Edwards
The trial court thoroughly and methodically considered the factors of defendant’s age, intelligence, background, experience, mental capacity, education and physical condition at the time of questioning. Defendant was no wide-eyed, 17-year-old that appeared immature. Quite the opposite, defendant responded appropriately to questioning and was articulate, both during the interview and in his testimony during the suppression hearing. The fact he was not allowed to see his mother does not change that defendant’s statements were voluntary. Raising a bona fide doubt to fitness is also discussed. Miller also discussed. Go to case.
Dismissal of postconviction petition in the first stage is reversed. People v. Ross
Defendant raised a freestanding claim of actual innocence based on newly-discovered evidence. Defendant argued that his son was unavailable at trial because he was hospitalized in a coma due to being shot in the face. Since then, he had awoken and provided an affidavit admitting to placing the gun in the vehicle. The affidavit, if believed, that is of such conclusive character that it would probably change the result on retrial. This needs to go back to a second stage postconviction petition. Go to case.
Defendant was not given “double credit” for consecutive sentences, alleged this violated his “plea”. People v. Grant
Defendant in this case was clearly aware of the consequences of his plea. He explained in open court he would not receive the full 384 days of credit because DOC treats consecutive sentences as one sentence. Since defendant persisted in his plea of guilty, the record contains evidence which clearly shows he knew he would not receive double sentencing credit by accepting the State’s offer. Defendant’s decision to agree to consecutive sentencing amounted to him agreeing to credit for actual time served, not double credit. Go to case.