Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois

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In 1998, the defendant was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He pleaded guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. In 2013, Bolingbrook Officer Alexander was patrolling a municipal park around 4:30 p.m. when he observed a van improperly parked, checked the van’s plates, and learned that it was registered to the defendant. The defendant acknowledged that he was a child sex offender but stated that his registration requirement had expired in 2010. Alexander informed the defendant that, as a child sex offender, he was forbidden to be on park property. Though the defendant was unaware of the ban, he was arrested for violating 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1(b), which provides, “It is unlawful for a sexual predator or a child sex offender to knowingly be present in any ... public park.” The trial court rejected a challenge that the law was facially unconstitutional and sentenced the defendant to 24 months’ conditional discharge plus community service. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the conviction and sentence, noting that the rational basis test does not require narrow tailoring. There is a rational relationship between protecting the public, particularly children, from sex offenders and prohibiting sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes against minors from being in public park. The court remanded for consideration of a challenge under the ex post facto clause. View "People v. Pepitone" on Justia Law

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In 1998, the defendant was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He pleaded guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. In 2013, Bolingbrook Officer Alexander was patrolling a municipal park around 4:30 p.m. when he observed a van improperly parked, checked the van’s plates, and learned that it was registered to the defendant. The defendant acknowledged that he was a child sex offender but stated that his registration requirement had expired in 2010. Alexander informed the defendant that, as a child sex offender, he was forbidden to be on park property. Though the defendant was unaware of the ban, he was arrested for violating 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1(b), which provides, “It is unlawful for a sexual predator or a child sex offender to knowingly be present in any ... public park.” The trial court rejected a challenge that the law was facially unconstitutional and sentenced the defendant to 24 months’ conditional discharge plus community service. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the conviction and sentence, noting that the rational basis test does not require narrow tailoring. There is a rational relationship between protecting the public, particularly children, from sex offenders and prohibiting sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes against minors from being in public park. The court remanded for consideration of a challenge under the ex post facto clause. View "People v. Pepitone" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to violating an order of protection, a Class 4 felony based on his prior conviction (720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(d)). The parties did not agree to a sentence, but the state agreed not to prosecute two counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer and another count of violating an order of protection. The court explained that the offense carried a sentencing range of one to six years’ imprisonment but misstated that the offense required a one-year term of mandatory supervised release (MSR). The court accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Defendant to three years’ imprisonment and one year of MSR. A year later, at a hearing where Defendant was present without counsel. the court entered an amended order, indicating four years of MSR as required by 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(6). Defendant was released from prison onto MSR and moved to “correct” the mittimus to reflect the original imposition of a one-year MSR term, arguing that he would not have entered a plea if he had been properly advised that he was subject to a mandatory four-year MSR term. The court stated that the only option to correct the sentence was a mandamus action in the Illinois Supreme Court. That court granted the state’s mandamus petition. The record does not support Defendant’s suggestion that the trial court would have been inclined to reduce his prison term had it imposed the correct MSR. The court declined to enter a new rule to allow statutorily unauthorized sentences to be corrected at any time by motion in the circuit court. View "Berlin v. Bakalis" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to violating an order of protection, a Class 4 felony based on his prior conviction (720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(d)). The parties did not agree to a sentence, but the state agreed not to prosecute two counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer and another count of violating an order of protection. The court explained that the offense carried a sentencing range of one to six years’ imprisonment but misstated that the offense required a one-year term of mandatory supervised release (MSR). The court accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Defendant to three years’ imprisonment and one year of MSR. A year later, at a hearing where Defendant was present without counsel. the court entered an amended order, indicating four years of MSR as required by 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(6). Defendant was released from prison onto MSR and moved to “correct” the mittimus to reflect the original imposition of a one-year MSR term, arguing that he would not have entered a plea if he had been properly advised that he was subject to a mandatory four-year MSR term. The court stated that the only option to correct the sentence was a mandamus action in the Illinois Supreme Court. That court granted the state’s mandamus petition. The record does not support Defendant’s suggestion that the trial court would have been inclined to reduce his prison term had it imposed the correct MSR. The court declined to enter a new rule to allow statutorily unauthorized sentences to be corrected at any time by motion in the circuit court. View "Berlin v. Bakalis" on Justia Law

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Manning’s second trial for first-degree murder established that the victim was a highly-intoxicated unwelcome visitor at a residence occupied by Manning and others. A fight ensued between the victim and four residents, including Manning. The victim was stabbed and died. Only Manning was armed. The court instructed the jury on self-defense and on second-degree murder, based on statutory mitigating factors: an unreasonable belief in the need for self-defense and provocation, with mutual combat being the requisite provocation, 720 ILCS 5/9-2(a) The jury asked: For approving mitigating factors to reduce charge to second-degree murder, if vote on mitigating factor is not unanimous, does it revert to first-degree murder? The court responded: Your verdict must be unanimous ... continue your deliberations. The jury found Manning guilty of first-degree murder. The court denied Manning’s request to poll the jury on the issue of mitigating factors. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the conviction. A defendant’s failure to sustain his burden of convincing all 12 jurors that a mitigating factor exists does not nullify the jurors’ unanimous finding that the state has proven first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The response to the jury’s question was correct when considered with instructions the jurors had received that it may not consider whether the defendant has met his burden of proof with regard to second-degree murder until it has first determined that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt each element of first-degree murder.The statute places no burden on the state to disprove mitigating factors. View "People v. Manning" on Justia Law

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Manning’s second trial for first-degree murder established that the victim was a highly-intoxicated unwelcome visitor at a residence occupied by Manning and others. A fight ensued between the victim and four residents, including Manning. The victim was stabbed and died. Only Manning was armed. The court instructed the jury on self-defense and on second-degree murder, based on statutory mitigating factors: an unreasonable belief in the need for self-defense and provocation, with mutual combat being the requisite provocation, 720 ILCS 5/9-2(a) The jury asked: For approving mitigating factors to reduce charge to second-degree murder, if vote on mitigating factor is not unanimous, does it revert to first-degree murder? The court responded: Your verdict must be unanimous ... continue your deliberations. The jury found Manning guilty of first-degree murder. The court denied Manning’s request to poll the jury on the issue of mitigating factors. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the conviction. A defendant’s failure to sustain his burden of convincing all 12 jurors that a mitigating factor exists does not nullify the jurors’ unanimous finding that the state has proven first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The response to the jury’s question was correct when considered with instructions the jurors had received that it may not consider whether the defendant has met his burden of proof with regard to second-degree murder until it has first determined that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt each element of first-degree murder.The statute places no burden on the state to disprove mitigating factors. View "People v. Manning" on Justia Law

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Defendant was indicted on 15 charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault and three charges of criminal sexual assault. Before trial, the state successfully moved for admission other crimes evidence to show that defendant committed similar sexual assaults. Defense counsel indicated that Defendant intended to testify that the victims all consented to sex with Defendant in exchange for cash and drugs but that, after they provided the agreed services, Defendant took back the payments. Counsel asked the court to inquire of the venire whether “[t]he fact that you will hear evidence about … prostitution. Would that fact alone prevent you from being fair to either side?” The court refused, The victims testified about the attacks. Defendant testified. The jury found Defendant guilty. The appellate court remanded for a new trial. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. There is no body of law indicating that the public harbors bias against the patrons of prostitutes to the extent that such a person’s testimony cannot be considered fairly. Defendant’s proffered question did not involve a matter that was indisputably true and inextricably a part of the trial but amounted to a preliminary argument regarding a disputed question of fact, which is generally not permitted. Even if the victims were prostitutes, it is difficult to conceive how a juror who could fairly judge the explicit sexual conduct would be rendered incapable of fairly judging defendant based on the fact he patronized prostitutes. View "People v. Encalado" on Justia Law

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Defendant was indicted on 15 charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault and three charges of criminal sexual assault. Before trial, the state successfully moved for admission other crimes evidence to show that defendant committed similar sexual assaults. Defense counsel indicated that Defendant intended to testify that the victims all consented to sex with Defendant in exchange for cash and drugs but that, after they provided the agreed services, Defendant took back the payments. Counsel asked the court to inquire of the venire whether “[t]he fact that you will hear evidence about … prostitution. Would that fact alone prevent you from being fair to either side?” The court refused, The victims testified about the attacks. Defendant testified. The jury found Defendant guilty. The appellate court remanded for a new trial. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. There is no body of law indicating that the public harbors bias against the patrons of prostitutes to the extent that such a person’s testimony cannot be considered fairly. Defendant’s proffered question did not involve a matter that was indisputably true and inextricably a part of the trial but amounted to a preliminary argument regarding a disputed question of fact, which is generally not permitted. Even if the victims were prostitutes, it is difficult to conceive how a juror who could fairly judge the explicit sexual conduct would be rendered incapable of fairly judging defendant based on the fact he patronized prostitutes. View "People v. Encalado" on Justia Law

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A Robinson police officer heard a motorcycle “revving” before observing it making a “very wide” turn, nearly hitting a telephone pole. The officer followed, turned on his emergency lights, and activated his siren, but the motorcycle continued to weave across the road for about 12 blocks before turning into a driveway. The motorcycle was driven by Mark, whose wife, Petra, was a passenger on the back. Mark got off the motorcycle, exhibiting “a strong odor of alcohol,” slurred speech, and poor balance. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.161, over twice the legal limit. Mark was charged with aggravated DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. Since 1996, his license had been summarily suspended multiple times; it was revoked following his 2008 DUI conviction. That revocation was extended after he was convicted of driving with a revoked license. Police seized the 2010 Harley-Davidson. The state sought forfeiture (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i)). Petra was shown to be the vehicle’s title owner, although Mark maintained it and had the key. The court entered an order of civil forfeiture, finding Petra’s testimony not credible, and that she consented to Mark driving, knowing he was intoxicated and did not have a valid license. The court rejected her claim that forfeiture constituted an as-applied violation of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Petra’s culpability in Mark’s aggravated DUI was far more than negligible and she did not establish the motorcycle’s value for purposes of showing disproportionality. View "Hartrich v. 2010 Harley-Davidson" on Justia Law

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A Robinson police officer heard a motorcycle “revving” before observing it making a “very wide” turn, nearly hitting a telephone pole. The officer followed, turned on his emergency lights, and activated his siren, but the motorcycle continued to weave across the road for about 12 blocks before turning into a driveway. The motorcycle was driven by Mark, whose wife, Petra, was a passenger on the back. Mark got off the motorcycle, exhibiting “a strong odor of alcohol,” slurred speech, and poor balance. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.161, over twice the legal limit. Mark was charged with aggravated DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. Since 1996, his license had been summarily suspended multiple times; it was revoked following his 2008 DUI conviction. That revocation was extended after he was convicted of driving with a revoked license. Police seized the 2010 Harley-Davidson. The state sought forfeiture (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i)). Petra was shown to be the vehicle’s title owner, although Mark maintained it and had the key. The court entered an order of civil forfeiture, finding Petra’s testimony not credible, and that she consented to Mark driving, knowing he was intoxicated and did not have a valid license. The court rejected her claim that forfeiture constituted an as-applied violation of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Petra’s culpability in Mark’s aggravated DUI was far more than negligible and she did not establish the motorcycle’s value for purposes of showing disproportionality. View "Hartrich v. 2010 Harley-Davidson" on Justia Law