October 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 October Illinois criminal cases for 2015. Click through to the actual court decision if you find the case of special interest.
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Illinois Supreme Court
Drug charges dismissed; Supreme Court orders that the deal defendant made with the police be enforced. People v. Stapniski
Defendant agreed to cooperate deliver his supplier. He did that but was subsequently charged when he could not deliver other drug dealers. State argued they were not a part of that deal and anyway the court can just suppress his statement. Defendant argues this is bigger than procedural due process and argues substantive due process is implicated here. He says he did much more than just admit to the crimes. He was promised he would not be charged if he cooperated and, in reliance on that promise, he did everything asked of him. Defendant argued his performance under the agreement included more than making incriminatory statements and, therefore, suppression of statements would not return him to his pre cooperation position. The Supreme Court agreed with the defense and noted that the bargaining positions are not equal. The government has the upper hand. For this reason, extensive state and federal legal authority requires that governmental agencies deal fairly with a defendant in offers of immunity. Further, since the essence of due process is “fundamental fairness,” due process essentially requires “fairness, integrity, and honor in the operation of the criminal justice system, and in its treatment of the citizen’s cardinal constitutional protections. Whether or not the cooperation agreement was “valid” in the sense that it was approved by the State’s Attorney, is not important. An unauthorized promise may be enforced on due process grounds if a defendant’s reliance on the promise has constitutional consequences. The IL Supreme court said the governmental conduct here “shocks the conscience” and violates the “decencies of civilized conduct.” Go to case.
The victim’s body was discovered in Indiana in a burning garage. He was kidnapped, however, in Chicago. So the attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping was charged first and the state later filed the murder charge. The State said they did not have the requisite knowledge that the acts that caused the death occurred in Illinois at the time of the first indictment and whether the murder charges fell within the jurisdiction of a single court. They thought that because there was a jurisdictional issue that joinder did not require that they charge him with the murder right away. But, under the compulsory joinder rule, multiple charges against a defendant must be joined in a single prosecution if the following three conditions are satisfied: (1) the multiple charges are known to the prosecutor when the prosecution begins; (2) the charges are within the jurisdiction of a single court; and (3) the charges are based upon the same act. However, the reviewing court said it was obvious that the State had ample knowledge to charge defendant with first degree murder, when the initial indictment was filed. See 720 ILCS 5/1-5(a)(1)(Illinois has jurisdiction over a crime that occurred “wholly or partly within the State”); see also 720 ILCS 5/1-5(b) (An offense is committed partly in Illinois if either the conduct or a result that constitutes an element of the offense occurs within Illinois.). Reasonable doubt definition is discussed again. Go to case & Go to case.
Battery conviction reversed because trial counsel failed to impeach the witness with his prior conviction. In re Alonzo O.
This case turned entirely on the credibility of the victim. The victim gets hit in the head with a bat. He says he was at defendant’s door to talk. Defendant says victim was aggressive and hit him first. Turns out the victim had a prior felony domestic battery that could have come in under Montgomery and as Lynch material. Because this is a juvenile case it was remanded for an evidentiary hearing to see if counsel had a strategic reason for not impeaching the witness (don’t really think there is one). Go to case.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
Kid agrees to be choked for fun; can he consent to his own battery? People v. Ford
Looks like a bunch of kids were getting high and bored. The victim agreed to be choked on tape for fun and for some cigarettes. This was, of course, recorded on video. It was agreed that defendant would release him when he tapped out. Defendant failed to do this and caused a seizure and a bloody nose. But it doesn’t matter. Defendant acknowledges that consent is not a recognized defense to aggravated battery in Illinois. “[A] criminal offense is a wrong affecting the general public, at least indirectly, and consequently cannot be licensed by the individual directly harmed.” However, in the context of a battery charge, consent is a defense to “what otherwise would be a minor sort of offensive touching,” medical procedures, and batteries that are incident to participating in certain sporting events. “Other things being equal, consent is more effective for offensive touchings and insignificant bodily injuries than for hard blows and more serious injuries.” Strangulation is not on this list. Unlike rape cases, lawmakers have not crafted a consent defense for batteries. Go to case.
Judge challenged his conviction for threatening a public official because he made a threat about a judge and not to a judge. People v. Garcia
Defendant made a gender specific comment to the judge. He was held in contempt of court and back in the lock up he said: “[w]hen he got out he was going to break the judge’s f***ing neck, he had an AK-47, he had other weapons, he was going to f*** up Aurora police officers…later he threatened to kill the judge.” Defendant was convicted of threatening a public official per 720 ILCS 5/12-9. He only said this in backup and not directly to the judge and he did not ask anyone to convey the threat to the judge. However, here it was nearly guaranteed that the threat would be conveyed to the judge. Therefore defendant acted knowingly when he made this threat. Go to case.
25 year gun add-on was proper even though the charge did not indicate that defendant personally discharged a gun. People v. Wade
In this attempted murder conviction the jury did make a special finding that defendant fired the gun (actually there were two defendants with same issue). Defense argued that the failure to include the aggravating factors in the indictment precludes the court from instructing on these “elements” of the offense. Defendant got creative with his argument. In Illinois, there is no aggravated attempted murder charge. Attempted murder is a single offense. The indictment, although not artfully drafted did what it needed to do. It notified defendants that the State would seek the 25-year enhancement. The state did not come right out a flatly say they would ask for the enhancement, but the language in the charges sufficiently placed defendants on notice that the jury would consider whether defendants caused the injuries. Go to case.
This drug conviction is going back to the trial level so trial counsel can comply with Rule 604(d); 2nd district sees it differently. People v. Hobbs
Defendant was sentenced to 15 years for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He, of course, filed a motion to reconsider sentence. Defense counsel completed the trial court’s form Rule 604(d) certificate, which the court accepted…but the form was wrong. It used “or” rather than “and”. See People v. Tousignant, 2014 IL 115329 and People v. Mineau, 2014 IL App (2d) 110666-B. This holding necessarily disavows the Second District’s decision in Mineau, 2014 IL App (2d) 110666-B, ¶ 16, 19 N.E.3d 633, on this particular issue. Go to case.
Defendant blew under .08 and attacked that the officer’s opinion he was intoxicated. People v. Phillips
Cop stops the car for no registration light. There was a strong odor of alcohol, slightly slurred speech, and red glossy bloodshot eyes. The interior of the car smelled like alcohol and the defendant got rid of a cup with a darker liquid. Field sobriety tests were performed and the officer believed he was under the influence. He blew a .059 but admitted to smoking a blunt before his arrest. A rational trier of fact could have found defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol even though he was not totally trashed. Section 11-501(b)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(b)(2), which provides that a blood alcohol concentration below the legal limit, but above 0.05, only eliminates the presumption of impairment, and nothing more. It does not erase the clues or the natural probative value of FST clues. Go to case.
Trial counsel got the Rule 604(d) right the second time. People v. Luna
Defendant was sentenced to 8 years for aggravated DUI. Case was sent back to the trial level so counsel could comply with rule 604(d). Judge denied the motion to reconsider sentence a second time. No problem with the certificate the second time. Tousignant teaches that the scope of the consultation requirement is not limited by the type of motion filed. Where the defendant moves to reconsider his or her sentence, counsel must consult with the defendant to ascertain not only sentencing errors, but errors affecting the validity of the guilty plea as well. Reviewing court said this one was fine because as a whole, the words “contentions of error” encompassed potential errors in the plea proceeding as well as the claimed sentencing error that was, ultimately, the focus of defendant’s Rule 604(d) motion. Go to case.
Right to Counsel
Defendant’s right to counsel was not violated by prosecutor who negotiated a 12 year deal with him. People v. Hotwagner
In a third stage postconviction petition it was revealed that the prosecutor negotiated a 12 year sentence in a sex case with the defendant directly. Defendant said he did not know his attorney quit on him. He said the prosecutor initiated the negotiation and that he felt ambushed. The prosecutor said the defendant wanted to talk to him and that he wanted 6 years, prosecutor said no, defendant said he’d do 12 and prosecutor said he could do that. The trial court did not err in denying his petition and his postconviction counsel was not ineffective. Looked like he knew his attorney quit on him. Go to case.
Discovery violation leads to sanction; but it was defendant who was not allowed to present a witness. People v. Forest
Defense attorney wanted to call a codefendant in this aggravated battery trial. State objected because the witness was not disclosed, and they didn’t anticipate the witness would get up there and incriminate themselves. Bar a witness as a sanction for defendant’s failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of Illinois Rule 413(d)(i) is an overreach…but this trial court abuse of discretion was harmless error. When fashioning an appropriate sanction, a trial court should primarily consider four factors: (1) the effectiveness of a less severe sanction; (2) the materiality of the proposed testimony; (3) the potential prejudice to the other party resulting from the testimony; and (4) bad faith in the violation of the discovery rules. Go to case.
Defendant was allowed to vacate a gun plea that was invalid due to Aguilar; state not allowed to reinstate the dismissed charges. People v. Shinaul
Defendant plead guilty to a UUW that was later invalidated. Defendant subsequently came in on a civil 2-1401 petition to vacate the conviction. No objection from state. Trial judge denied the State’s motion for reinstatement and the State appealed. Since there was no pending criminal proceeding before the trial court in this case, the appellate court lacks jurisdiction to hear the State’s appeal. There was not a court ordered “dismissal” here. See Rule 604. Go to case.
State proved that defendant used a gun during the robbery. People v. Clark
This is one of those robberies where no gun if ever found but is described by the witnesses. Well, these witnesses were not describing a vague thing in his hand. The witnesses said defendant had a rifle pointed it at the pizza guy. AND the rifle had a red laser scope that of course, was on. A jury may reasonably infer from eyewitness testimony and other circumstantial evidence that a real gun and not a toy or plastic thing was seen. Go to case.
Defendant is properly convicted of AUUW because he was a felon. People v. Winston
This AUUW section, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A), has the “by a felon” provision in the sentencing section. So defendant argued this crime was invalidated by Aguilar. This is just a sentence enhancement which can’t be applied to an unconstitutional crime. But the reviewing court said that the Class 2 form of section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the AUUW statute does not violate the second amendment and survives the supreme court’s decision in Aguilar. The fourth district is the only district striking down these charges. Go to case.
Armed habitual criminal statute is constitutional and no double enhancement took place. People v. Johnson
It was not a double enhancement to use the same prior conviction to find defendant guilty of UUW felon and armed habitual criminal. Double enhancement occurs when either: (1) a single factor is used both as an element of an offense and as a basis for imposing a harsher sentence than might otherwise have been imposed, or (2) the same factor is used twice to elevate the severity of the offense itself. This did not happen. The armed habitual criminal statute was enacted to help protect the public from the threat of violence that arises when repeat offenders possess firearms. Thus, the potential invalidity of the armed habitual criminal statute in one very unlikely set of circumstances does not render the statute unconstitutional on its face. Go to case.
Postconviction petition dismissed because defendant did not develop the argument. People v. Robinson
Defendant was saying he was not informed of when the direct appeal was decided. Defendant provided no analysis of the statute of limitation, section 122-1(c) of the Post-Conviction Hearing Act. Thus, the reviewing court was unable to determine what triggered the running of the period of limitation (whatever that period was), we are in no position to decide whether defendant’s unawareness of the decision on direct appeal serves as a valid excuse for the admitted lateness of his postconviction petition. Go to case.
Defendant’s postconviction petition was properly dismissed as frivolous. People v. Wallace
Defendant’s claim of actual innocence fails as a matter of law. A claim of actual innocence does not merely question the defendant’s guilt, but must be so conclusive as to be capable of completely exonerating the defendant. Defendant’s argument ignores the due diligence requirement of newly discovered evidence. The so-called newly discovered witness cannot disprove that Defendant was the shooter. Go to case.
Judge gave no reason for denying this postconviction petition. People v. Cooper
The code does say that a trial judge shall state for the record the reason for denying a postconviction petition. See 725 ILCS 5/122-2.1(a)(2). However, this particular provision is merely directory despite its use of “shall” because it does not provide that the summary dismissal is void for the lack of findings. Normally, though this would have prompted either a remand with directions or, alternatively, advancement of the petition to second stage proceedings. Defendant guessed at why he was denied and there is no reason to believe the defendant guessed correctly. Trial court’s dismissal was sustained. Go to case.
This dismissal of a postconviction is reversed so the attorney can explain what he actually reviewed. People v. Blanchard
Postconviction counsel to comply with Rule 651(c). Counsel filed a Rule 651(c) certificate, indicating that she had consulted with defendant; had obtained and examined the transcripts and common law record, the appellate briefs, and the order issued on direct appeal; and had examined defendant’s petition and investigated his claims, including his claim of actual innocence. Defendant contends that postconviction counsel provided unreasonable assistance under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c) because she failed to review the trial exhibits, which he asserts contained evidence crucial to his pro se claims. The record consists of three parts: the common-law record, the report of proceedings, and the trial exhibits. Since, defendant’s claims revolve around the exhibits, counsel should have been clear on whether they were reviewed or not. Go to case.
Defendant loses his postconviction petition claim of actual innocence. People v. Morgan
Defendant presented a witness who swore she saw someone else shoot the victim. The witness came forward 9 year later she did not want to endanger herself or her family. At a third-stage evidentiary hearing, the burden is on the petitioner to make a substantial showing of a deprivation of constitutional rights. In order to warrant a new trial, an actual innocence claim must be supported by evidence that is (1) newly discovered, (2) material and not merely cumulative, and (3) of such conclusive character that it would probably change the result on retrial. The trial court denied a new trial based upon its finding that the witness’s testimony was not credible and would not change the jury’s finding of guilt. This was not manifestly erroneous because the testimony was contradicted in numerous ways by multiple witnesses at trial, as well as by the photographic evidence. Go to case.
Procedural mess ends in no more postconvictions for defendant. People v. Anderson
Defendant has appealed, filed postconviction petitions and has asked for successive postconviction petitions. All have been denied. His latest issue dealt with the timeliness of his last denial. He is serving 23 years for sex crimes. Go to case.
Defendant’s fine goes up after his appeal. People v. Hayes
Defendant was arguing that because his fine was below the statutory minimum the whole sentence was void. Didn’t work. Fine was adjusted to $130,000. Defendant is doing 55 years on a serious drug conviction. The only fine imposed was the street value of $1.3 million. Defendant asserted that his sentence was void because the court had failed to impose the fine mandated by section 10 of the Act, which defendant stated should have been $25. Thus, he argued, because his sentence, viewed properly, lacked a mandatory portion, it was void. Court said defendant’s sentence is void only to the extent that the court failed to impose the mandatory fine under the Act and that thus no new sentencing hearing is required, especially the prison part. Go to case.