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07/16/87 the People of the State of v. Harvey Larson

July 16, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

HARVEY LARSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

511 N.E.2d 191, 158 Ill. App. 3d 135, 110 Ill. Dec. 356 1987.IL.1002

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Fred A. Geiger, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE UNVERZAGT delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and REINHARD, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE UNVERZAGT

The defendant, Harvey Larson, was tried by a jury in the circuit court of Lake County and found guilty of the offenses of possession of a stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 4-103(a)), and theft over $300, a Class 3 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 16-1(d)(1)).

The circuit court of Lake County entered judgment on the verdict for the conviction of possession of a stolen vehicle (the Class 2 felony). The court sentenced defendant to a term of seven years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections.

Defendant appeals and raises these three issues as grounds for reversal: (1) whether the classification of the offense of possession of a stolen vehicle as a Class 2 felony when the more serious offense of theft over $300 is only a Class 3 felony violated the Illinois Constitution's assurances of due process and proportionate penalties; (2) whether he was proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of possession of a stolen vehicle where the State failed to prove that he ever knew the motorcycle in question was stolen property; and (3) whether he effectively waived his right to counsel at sentencing where the court failed to admonish him in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (103 Ill. 2d R. 401(a)).

The defendant initially was charged by information with: (1) theft over $300 by obtaining control over certain stolen property, (2) theft over $300 by exerting unauthorized control over property of another, and (3) possession of a stolen vehicle knowing it to have been stolen.

Prior to trial, defendant moved to dismiss count III of the information on the ground that the classification of the offense of possession of a stolen vehicle as a Class 2 felony, when the more serious offense of theft over $300 is only a Class 3 felony, violates the Illinois Constitution's assurances of due process and proportionate penalties. That motion was denied.

After trial, the following was adduced: Steven Cliff returned to his house on May 4, 1985, at 10:30 p.m. and found that his 1977 maroon-colored Yamaha motorcycle was missing from the driveway. He testified it was worth $1,100, but had told Officer Richard Haynesworth that it was worth $450.

Cliff reported the motorcycle missing. Ten or fifteen minutes later, Steven Cliff observed the defendant in front of Cliff's house, walking up the road. Cliff had met defendant a few days before when he sold defendant various motorcycle parts for the price of $100, which defendant still owed him.

Cliff asked defendant if he had seen his Yamaha motorcycle. The defendant replied that "he didn't know anything about nothing." Defendant into a tavern across the street. When Cliff observed defendant leave the tavern through the back door, Cliff called for him to stop but defendant ran away.

The next afternoon Lake County deputy sheriffs searched for defendant and saw him driving a maroon-colored Yamaha, later identified as belonging to Steven Cliff. The officers followed defendant and, pulling beside him, requested that he stop. He refused and cursed them. The sheriffs followed him until he ...


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