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People v. Richardson

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 19, 1984.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE AND APPELLANT,

v.

GAYLORD RICHARDSON, APPELLANT AND APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Warren County, the Hon. William L. Randolph, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE SIMON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Gaylord Richardson was convicted of burglary in a jury trial in the circuit court of Warren County and sentenced to an extended term of 10 years' imprisonment. The appellate court affirmed the conviction but remanded to the trial court for resentencing. (118 Ill. App.3d 175.) The defendant sought leave to appeal his conviction to this court, and the State sought to appeal the remand. We granted both petitions and consolidated the two appeals. 87 Ill.2d R. 315.

Around 3 a.m. on April 16, 1982, the silent alarm at the Eagles Club in Monmouth was activated, alerting both a club trustee, Cecil Albert, and the Monmouth police. Together they entered the building, where they discovered the defendant Richardson in a supply closet. Although Albert described the defendant's condition as "pretty far gone," the defendant was able to walk and talk. He asked for beer and cigarettes which he had left on a table in the barroom. A search of the premises revealed those items. Nothing else was missing or out of place.

The defense at trial was that the defendant was so intoxicated that he could not form an intent to commit theft. The Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 19-1) defines burglary as "knowingly enter[ing] or without authority remain[ing] within a building * * * with intent to commit therein a felony or theft," and the defendant argued, as he does in this court, that a necessary element of the crime of burglary, the element of intent to commit a theft, was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The appellate court remarked that the jury may infer the element of intent in a burglary case from the evidence of illegal entry into premises containing movable property which could be the subject of a theft. 118 Ill. App.3d 175, 177.

The defendant contends that the remand was proper because of two sentencing errors. The defendant claims, and the appellate court agreed, that the Dangerous Drug Abuse Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 120.9, 120.10) required the trial judge to advise him of his possible eligibility for drug-abuse treatment before sentencing. The appellate court, however, rejected his additional claim that the extended sentence was improper because it was based upon prior convictions which resulted from guilty pleas.

The defendant suggests that the appellate court erred by asserting that the conviction could be affirmed on the basis of the jury's inference regarding the element of intent. Relying on People v. Housby (1981), 84 Ill.2d 415, cert. denied (1981), 454 U.S. 845, 70 L.Ed.2d 131, 102 S.Ct. 160, the defendant insists that each element of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt and that uncritical reliance on an inference deprives him of due process of law. But Housby is not relevant to this case.

Housby and the United States Supreme Court cases on which it is based (Sandstrom v. Montana (1979), 442 U.S. 510, 61 L.Ed.2d 39, 99 S.Ct. 2450; County Court v. Allen (1979), 442 U.S. 140, 60 L.Ed.2d 777, 99 S.Ct. 2213), involved jury instructions which encouraged the jury to draw inference. The Housby test applies only to instructions which advise a jury of inferences it may draw; it insures that the jury applies the reasonable-doubt test. The defendant does not challenge the jury instructions in this case. They contained no references to inferences of any type. Rather, the instructions listed the elements of the crime of burglary, including intent, and informed the jury that each element of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore the requirements of due process were satisfied. The jury, properly instructed, was allowed to consider all of the evidence and to reach its own conclusions.

Intent is a state of mind which can be inferred from surrounding circumstances. (People v. Terrell (1984), 99 Ill.2d 427; People v. Richardson (1965), 32 Ill.2d 497, 501; People v. Murff (1963), 29 Ill.2d 303, 305.) In Terrell, the defendant was convicted of attempted armed robbery of a service station. As the specific intent to commit the completed crime is an element of the attempt, the defendant argued that his intent to commit armed robbery had not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. This court disagreed and held that the jury could infer the necessary intent from the surrounding circumstances. Like the situation here, all of the evidence was circumstantial and an alternative explanation was proposed by the defendant, but the court found the evidence sufficient to permit an inference of the necessary intent. No other explanation of the defendant's conduct seemed as plausible an explanation as the simple inference of intent to commit armed robbery in the service station. Taken as a whole, the circumstances of this case appear to be at least as compelling as those in Terrell. Once again, the jury could properly rely on any reasonable inference to conclude that no other scenario was as likely as the straightforward conclusion that the defendant entered the Eagles Club with the intent to commit a theft.

The crime of burglary requires that its elements often be proved by circumstantial evidence. (People v. Palmer (1964), 31 Ill.2d 58.) Allowing a jury to rely on reasonable inferences from the direct evidence in the light of everyday experience in no way infringes upon the defendant's due process rights.

Because the precautions announced in Housby do not apply, the problem is simply whether the evidence was sufficient to prove each element of the crime of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no doubt that defendant entered and remained in the Eagles Club building without authority to do so. The only question is whether the evidence was sufficient to infer an intent to commit theft.

In a burglary case, the relevant surrounding circumstances include the time, place and manner of entry into the premises, the defendant's activity within the premises, and any alternative explanations offered for his presence. The evidence showed that the boards blocking a window in a meeting room had been removed; the window was hidden from view from the street; the police check revealed the remainder of the exterior to be secure; no one else was seen in or near the building; and the defendant was found in a closet. The jury could conclude that the defendant removed the boards, entered through the window, and hid in the closet to avoid detection. The entry occurred at 3 a.m., an hour at which he would expect the building to be deserted. Defendant's beer and cigarettes left in the barroom indicated that he had been in that room before retreating to the closet. Both the barroom and the closet contained movable property which could have been the subject of theft. (Cf. People v. Johnson (1963), 28 Ill.2d 441, 443.) When they discovered him in the closet, the defendant was able to ask the police for his beer and cigarettes. Considering all the circumstances surrounding this illegal entry, the jury could reasonably infer the intent to commit theft.

While it is true that the defendant tried to prove that he was so drunk that he could not have known what he was doing and could not have formed an intent to commit theft, the jury was free to reject this defense, particularly in view of conflicting testimony as to how many drinks defendant had consumed and how drunk he appeared to be. The jury concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered the Eagles Club building without authority with the intent to commit theft, and the evidence which we have detailed above established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury's verdict must, therefore, stand.

Next, relying on People v. Kuesis (1980), 83 Ill.2d 402, the State contends that the appellate court erred in holding that the Dangerous Drug Abuse Act requires the trial judge to advise the defendant of his eligibility for treatment before sentencing him. The presentence report, which was incorporated into the record of this case, indicated that the defendant was an addict. Thus there was no doubt that the trial judge knew that the defendant was an addict (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 91 1/2, par. 120.10). However, the defendant was on parole at the time. The question before us is, therefore, whether the trial judge was obligated to inform the defendant of the possibility of treatment ...


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