November 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 in no time.
This criminal case list PDF download is clickable! It features a summary of all the November Illinois criminal cases for 2015. Click through to the actual court decision if you find the case of special interest.
Illinois Supreme Court
Rule 604(d) certificate can be filed after the hearing. In re H.L.
Minor filed a motion to reconsider sentence after trial judge sent him to JIDOC. Illinois Supreme Court said that the rule does not mandate or require that the 604(d) certificate be filed before the hearing on the motion to reconsider sentence. People v. Shirley did not mandate that defense counsel file the certificate prior to or at the hearing on the post plea motion. As the rule plainly states, strict compliance requires that the certificate be filed “with the trial court,” rather than on appeal. This is the only timing requirement set forth by the plain language of Rule 604(d). Go to case.
Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act (Violent Offender Act) (730 ILCS 154/1 et seq. is constitutional. In re M.A.
The minor cut up her brother when she was 13. Upon turning 17 she is required to register as a violent offender. She argued this was more harsh than a juvenile sex offender’s registration because there was no means to petition for removal from the list. The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed that juvenile sex offenders are similarly situated to juvenile violent offenders. The purpose of the Violent Offender Act, then, was to remove nonsexual offenders from the Registration Act, as the legislature concluded that it was a greater stigma to be categorized as a sex offender than a violent offender. The Violent Offender Act was enacted because the legislature determined that violent offenders were precisely not similarly situated to sex offenders. The statutes address separate groups of offenders in a manner unique to each group. Go to case.
Proportionate penalties challenge fails, sections of the AUUW statute criminalizing gun possession without a valid FOID remain constitutional. People v. Williams
The trial court had invalidated AUUW convictions based on 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6 (24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) and (a)(2), (a)(3)(C) of the AUUW statute, which were based on defendant’s lack of having a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. The trial court based its ruling on a proportionate penalties argument and stayed away from Aguilar reasoning. The gist was that the same conduct was punished more harshly under AUUW than it was under the FOID section (430 ILCS 65/2(a)(1)). Illinois Supreme Court said the conduct in the different sections is different so the proportionate penalties section is inapplicable. REMEMBER: In Aguilar, section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the AUUW statute were declared unconstitutional. No other section or subsection was declared unconstitutionality. Go to case.
“Void sentence rule” is abolished; here the judge only applied one 15 year gun add-on to consecutive sentences when he should have applied it twice. People v. Castleberry
The void sentence rule stated that “a sentence which does not conform to a statutory requirement is void.” Void sentences could be attacked collaterally, directly, indirectly or at any time. However, a voidable sentence “is one entered erroneously by a court having jurisdiction and is not subject to collateral attack.” The problem is that the voidness claims were really claiming that a court did not have jurisdiction when they acted outside the law. But circuit courts are granted their jurisdiction from the Illinois Constitution not from any particular statute. Thus, a statutory requirement or prerequisite cannot be jurisdictional, since jurisdiction is conferred on the circuit courts by our state constitution. Because of all this and Rule 604(a), which says the state cannot appeal a sentence, the reviewing court did not have any authority to just add the additional 15 years to defendant’s sentence, like the State wanted it to. Also, rule 615(b)(4) prevents the appellate court from increasing a sentence. The State may, in appropriate circumstances, seek relief from this court via the writ of mandamus. In general, mandamus is an “extraordinary remedy to enforce, as a matter of right, the performance of official duties by a public officer where no exercise of discretion on his part is involved.” Go to case.
Failure of court to admonish defendant of immigration consequences does not necessarily lead to reversal. People v. Guzman
Defendant was a lawful permanent resident and plead guilty to a gun charge without the court first admonishing him pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-8. Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea was denied. Padilla does not change the fact that in Illinois the required court admonishments are merely directory and not mandatory. Thus, when inadequate admonishments are given, the question of whether due process was violated turns on whether the plea was made voluntarily and intelligently. In that analysis only the direct consequences of the plea, not the collateral consequences matter. “Direct consequences” are “those consequences affecting the defendant’s sentence and other punishment that the circuit court may impose,” and “[c]ollateral consequences” have “effects upon the defendant that the circuit court has no authority to impose.” Padilla deals with claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in a situation where deportation was certain. Nonetheless, defendants who did not receive section 113-8 admonishments may also be entitled to withdraw their pleas if they then establish that they have been denied “real justice” or have suffered prejudice. Go to case.
Missing immigration information from trial attorney brought up in this postconviction petition. People v. Unzueta
Defendant said his trial attorney never told him that he would be deported if he plead to a burglary. Said would have never plead if he knew. However, this was not a mistake to dismiss the petition at the second stage because any error that did occur was cured by the court’s admonishments under 725 ILCS 5/113-8. This record belies the allegation that defendant would not have pled guilty had he been adequately advised by his attorney because he was so advised by the trial court. This advisement should be given its fully intended effect. Further, in light of the claimed utmost importance to the defendant that he avoid deportation, the fact that he pled guilty while knowing the risk of deportation existed belies his assertion that his decision would have been different if he had been told that the risk was a certainty. At the very least, the advisement by the court that this risk existed put the defendant on notice that further inquiry was warranted if immigration consequences would have affected his decision to plead guilty. Go to case.
Defendant made a substantial showing of actual innocence, so it was error to dismiss his petition at the second stage. People v. Smith
Defendant gets a postconviction petition hearing. One of the eyewitnesses signed an affidavit saying that when he saw another man on the streets he realized this other man looked a lot like the defendant, and that he had made a mistake in his identification of defendant. The witness’s recantation was newly discovered, material and noncumulative, and provided a substantial showing that a trial would probably result in a different outcome. Defendant did have other alibi witnesses and no physical evidence ever implicated defendant. Go to case.
Defendant says he thought trial counsel filed his notice of appeal. People v. Lamar
The notice of appeal was never filed. Thus, it was improper to dismiss the petition at the second stage. Because the right to appeal is fundamental, in cases where a defendant alleges that counsel was ineffective for failure to file a notice of appeal, it is appropriate at the second stage of proceedings that a defendant need only show “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s deficient representation, the defendant would have appealed.” A defendant’s allegation that counsel failed to file an appeal pursuant to his wishes necessarily demonstrates a substantial violation of defendant’s constitutional right to appeal. Defendant does not have to establish a substantial showing of a constitutional violation. This standard is intended for situations where a defendant is appealing from a guilty plea where the requirements of Rule 604(d) require a defendant who pleads guilty to allege grounds to withdraw his guilty plea before he can appeal his conviction. Such a procedural bar does not apply to a defendant who is convicted following a trial like this defendant was. Of course, this finding does not suggest, that defendant’s allegations are credible or supported by the evidence. Simply stated, defendant’s petition, which contained well-pled allegations that must be taken as true, is legally sufficient and establishes a substantial showing of a constitutional violation based on ineffective assistance of counsel requiring a hearing for resolution. Go to case.
Defendant is denied leave for a successive postconviction petition. People v. Diggins
Clearly, the petitioner was aware that he was eligible for an extended-term sentence, at the latest, by the time he was sentenced, which was five years before he filed his initial pro se postconviction petition. Thus, while he may have been limited in his ability to raise the issue on direct appeal due to facts outside the record, he could have raised the issue in his initial pro se postconviction petition. Thus, the petitioner has failed to allege any facts demonstrating cause. Go to case.
It didn’t matter that the 604(d) was not filed in this motion to withdraw guilty plea because defendant filed the motion to withdraw to late. People v. Liner
Defendant argues that his motion was timely filed under the “mailbox rule,” although, it was received and file-stamped by the circuit clerk more than 30 days after his conviction was entered. He says he put it in the mail before the 30 days. “Under the mailbox rule, pleadings, including post trial motions, are considered timely filed on the day they are placed in the prison mail system by an incarcerated defendant.” But “to rely on the date of mailing as the filing date, a defendant must provide proof of mailing by filing a proof of service that complies with the requirements of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 12(b)(3). The defendant notes, the amended rule now allows pro se petitioners from correctional institutions to enclose a certification pursuant to section 1-109 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/1-109) in lieu of an affidavit. Ill. S. Ct. R. 12(b)(4) (eff. Sept. 19, 2014). Said certification must state “the time and place of deposit and the complete address to which the document was to be delivered.” Here Defendant failed to meet the requirements of the amended rule because his verification did not contain the complete address to which the motion was to be delivered, as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 12(b)(4). The proper date of filing was the date the circuit clerk received the motion, and it was late, thus his motion to withdraw guilty plea was properly denied. Go to case.
Search & Seizure
How does the Aguilar decision affect a probable cause determination justifying a police seizure? People v. Holmes
This officer sees a gun on defendant’s waistband. He is stopped, arrested, and the gun seized. Then the police discover Defendant has no FOID. Defendant argues the stop was unconstitutional because it was based on a crime that itself is unconstitutional and the police did not not know he had no valid FOID. This stop and seizure were unconstitutional because a facially invalid statute that is unconstitutional is void ab initio. The good-faith exception does not apply here because to apply it would run counter to our single subject clause and void ab initio jurisprudence—specifically, that once a statute is declared facially unconstitutional, it is as if it had never been enacted. Court was unwilling to create a grace period for unconstitutional stops. The court recognized a conflict between their decision, the case law and 725 ILCS 4/114-12(b)(2)(i). Yes, this means the same exact conduct could establish probable cause if a case is brought in the federal system but not if it was brought in our state court. Additionally, the recent case of People v. LeFlore, 2015 IL 116799 invalidated judicial precedent and did not invalidate a statute. This is a crucial distinction. Go to case.
Trial court’s discovery sanction preventing the state from admitting anything that would have appeared on police observational recordings is UPHELD. People v. Moravec
Defendant is arrested for DUI and transported to the station. Turns out the police had cameras (3 of them) focused on the spot of the arrest. These are the POD (police observations devices) cameras. Defendant served the CPD with a subpoena for the video 13 days after his arrest. The recordings get wiped after the 15th day. It is undisputed that the State conceded that the POD camera videos existed but were ultimately written over, that defendant made a timely request, and that the State failed to produce the videos. Just as in Kladis, the information provided by the POD camera videos could have potentially been helpful to both the defendant and the State and would have served the truth-seeking function in the trial court. The mere fact that the POD cameras may not have captured 100% of defendant’s arrest (apparently they rotate) does not mean that the videos are not discoverable. Go to case.
Prior inconsistent statement in this DUI huffing case was admitted in error. People v. Blakey
Defendant was charged with blacking out behind the wheel after inhaling chemicals from a computer cleaner spray can. Three teenaged kids in the back die. A fourth passenger survives and tells the police that one of the passengers said, “Morgan, you shouldn’t be doing that.” Then the crash happens. At trial, the witness says he doesn’t remember the statement. But since the witness said he didn’t see the huffing he did not have personal knowledge of the statement, so it was error to admit it as substance evidence under 725 ILCS 5/115-10.1. Additionally, the statement could not be used for impeachment either because a witness’s professed lack of memory, standing alone, does not affirmatively damage a party’s case for the purpose of impeaching one’s own witness. This was all harmless error because defendant confessed to the huffing. 12 years upheld. Go to case.
Autopsy and hearsay evidence sufficient to convict Drew Peterson for murder of 3rd ex-wife. People v. Peterson
The jury heard evidence from Defendant’s fourth ex-wife (who is still missing) that she told a church counselor that Defendant wanted her to lie about his alibi. It was proper to admit her statements under the clergy privilege under 735 ILCS 5/8-803. The privilege applies only to admissions or confessions made in confidence. Because this statement took place in public with at least one other person present it was not confidential. Further, no church rules prohibited the counselor from disclosing what was said to him. The previous appeal affirmed that statements from both of defendant’s murdered wife’s could be admitted under the FBWD doctrine (forfeiture by wrongdoing). See People v. Peterson, 2012 IL App (3d) 100514-B (Peterson II). Also, trial counsel did not enter into a per se conflict of interest when he signed a publicity contract with a media company. Go to case.
Court found no problems in this line-up procedure or eyewitness identification. People v. Moore
Victim was robbed by someone he recognized from the neighborhood. Victim tells the cops where defendant lives. The court refused to apply 725 ILCS 5/107A-2(f)(3)(A), 2(f)(3)(D), 2(j)(1) because it was not in effect at the time of the lineup in this case. The fact that both suspects were included in the lineup did not then make the lineup procedure unduly suggestive. Go to case
The 2012 Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC) report confirms this defendant was tortured to confess. People v. Weathers
Error for trial court to deny defendant leave to file a successive postconviction petition. Defendant’s pro se petition clearly alleged that his confession was physically coerced by Detectives O’Brien and Halloran and that newly discovered evidence corroborated his claims. His petition, while inartful, did allege a due process violation in the use of his allegedly coerced confession. Defendant states that the findings outlined a pattern of misconduct by Detectives Halloran and O’Brien. Significantly, the TIRC entries contain similar allegations of abuse, including being struck by a flashlight as well as having clothing removed, left in a cold room, and denied food, all things he says they did to him as well. Because this newly discovered evidence was not available at the time of defendant’s prior petitions, he has established the requisite cause, in that an objective factor impeded his ability to raise this claim at an earlier time. The per se rule is that use of a defendant’s physically coerced confession as substantive evidence of his guilt is never harmless error. This petition gets to be filed, automatically advances to the second stage, and trial court must appoint counsel for the defendant. Go to case.
Aggravated fleeing and eluding a peace officer conviction is reversed because officer is out of uniform. People v. Williams
Aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, 625 ILCS 5/11-204(a) requires the State prove the pursuing officer was wearing a police uniform. Officer in a marked squad but in plain clothes sees a stop sign violation. Attempts to stop car but driver pulls away. He is arrested when he runs away from the car a little later. The court has previously held that wearing a uniform is an essential element of the offense. Flashing lights and a siren does not undue or replace the uniform requirement. Go to case.
Reporting is different than registering, and Defendant is required to have documentation with his new address in order to register that address. People v. Brock
The sex offender registration act (730 ILCS 150/1 et seq.) imposes two separate requirements. The first imposes a general duty to register on all sex offenders. 730 ILCS 150/3. The second, is the duty to report. 730 ILCS 150/6. The statute also imposes a separate and additional duty on those sex offenders specifically adjudicated “dangerous” or “violent,” and it is clear from the language of the statute that the legislature intended to distinguish a duty to report that does not simply duplicate the registration requirement. Thus, the language of the statute clearly distinguishes “report” and “register” and when it requires one, or both, it does so by expressly stating such requirement. Logically, one can “report” without registering, but may not “register” without reporting, because registration requires the creation of a signed writing. This defendant did report on time but was turned away because he could not pay the registration fee. However, defendant did violate the failure to register a new address provision because he did not have an ID or some type of documentation with the new address as is required. See 730 ILCS 150/3(c)(5). Additionally, the defendant had only two prior felony convictions—one for aggravated criminal sexual assault and a second for indecent liberties with a child. The indictment listed defendant’s prior conviction for aggravated criminal sexual assault as the basis for establishing his duty to comply with the Act. Establishing a defendant’s duty to register under the Act is an element of the offense. This conviction was also necessarily used as one of his two prior felony convictions to mandate Class X sentencing. The sentence was improper. See People v. Hall, 2014 IL App (1st) 122868. Go to case.
What to do when defendant and assigned public defender just don’t agree on the defense? People v. Demus
Defendant wanted his PD to subpoena certain information, subpoena certain witnesses, and to argue that the police witness was lying to the court about when he got to the scene and about what he saw. Defendant was claiming that the testifying officer could not have arrested him in the burglarized van because a codefendant had a report saying the officer got there late. Trial judge held a hearing but did not appoint new counsel for this hearing. The officer testified the report was not his and that the dispatch personnel just marked when they “noted” the officer’s presence, they were not documenting when he actually got there. In any event, defendant sufficiently raised a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel and new counsel should have been appointed for the hearing. On remand, the trial court’s task on remand is to conduct a preliminary Krankel inquiry into the merits of the ineffective assistance claim and, if necessary, appoint new counsel to represent Defendant on that claim. Go to case.
No Batson problem when state struck 4 African American males but accepted one African American female. People v. Williams
Party making the challenge has the burden of raising a prima facie case of discrimination. The trial court looks at 7 factor to determine if a prima facie case has been raised. (1) the racial identity between the party exercising the peremptory challenge and the excluded venirepersons; (2) a pattern of strikes against African-American venirepersons; (3) a disproportionate use of peremptory challenges against African-American venirepersons; (4) the number of African-Americans in the venire as compared to the jury; (5) the prosecutor’s questions and statements during voir dire examination and while exercising peremptory challenges; (6) the shared characteristics of the excluded African-American venirepersons compared to the venirepersons accepted by the prosecution; and (7) the racial makeup of the defendant, victim, and witnesses. “The mere number of black venire members peremptorily challenged, without more, will not establish a prima facie case of discrimination.” Also, a pattern of discrimination does not develop “anytime a party strikes more than one juror of any race or gender.” A prima facie showing of discrimination under Batson requires the defendant to demonstrate that relevant circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor exercised peremptory challenges to remove venirepersons based on their race. Reviewing court did not feel a sufficient record existed for it to find that defendant raised a prima facie case. The exact race of the final jury is unknown as well as how the state used its strikes during the whole jury selection process. Here, counsel’s unsubstantiated assertion was an insufficient basis for the trial judge to find that a prima facie Batson case had been established. Once a Batson claim has been made, the trial court should make a record indicating the race or ethnicity or both of each venireperson to facilitate review. Go to case.
Defendant’s 3 consecutive sentences stand. People v. Johnson
Defendant violated probation with two new crimes of theft and criminal trespass to property. The judge sentenced him to consecutive sentences on the new theft (3 years) and the trespass (4 years). He received 7 years for the offense he was on probation for. Then the court said all the sentences should be consecutive to protect the public. 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(d)(8) says sentences must be mandatory when “a person charged with a felony commits a separate felony while on pretrial release or in pretrial detention in a county jail facility or county detention facility.” The judge was wrong in citing this statute because, although, defendant was on bond when charged with the second new offense it was a misdemeanor bond. He was not charged with a felony when he was arrested for the second one. It’s all harmless error because the judge made a clear finding that consecutive sentences were required for the public good. Go to case.
Defendant was sentenced to a life sentenced for murder when he was 16; it was his second murder conviction. People v. Gray
Defendant brought a civil petition pro se claiming that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over his case because the indictment cited the Illinois Revised Statutes rather than the Illinois Compiled Statutes in reference to the murder charge. On appeal, defendant went back to arguing his sentence was unconstitutional and void under Miller v. Alabama. But jurisdiction or the power to render a particular judgment does not necessarily mean that the judgment rendered must be one that should have been rendered; indeed, the power to decide carries with it the power to decide wrong, as well as right, and a court will not lose jurisdiction merely because it makes a mistake in the law. The principle follows: that which is unconstitutional is not necessarily void. As such, defendant’s sentence is merely voidable if challenged in a timely manner. Therein lies the procedural rub. Defendant did not challenge his conviction under section 2-1401 in a timely manner. Also, defendant has appeared to forfeit his original issue on appeal. The principle does not otherwise permit a defendant to ignore the requirements of procedural mechanisms which brought him to this court in the first place, namely section 2-1401. While the factual record certainly supports a conclusion that defendant was impermissibly subject to a mandatory life sentence for a crime he committed when under 18, this appellate court does not possess the supervisory authority of the supreme court to simply address a voidable issue not properly before it.