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09/20/89 the People of the State of v. Stanley Boclair

September 20, 1989





544 N.E.2d 715, 129 Ill. 2d 458, 136 Ill. Dec. 29 1989.IL.1459

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County, the Hon. William T. Caisley, Judge, presiding.


CHIEF JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE RYAN, Dissenting. JUSTICE STAMOS joins in this Dissent.


Defendant, Stanley Boclair, an inmate at the Pontiac Correctional Center, was indicted in the circuit court of Livingston County on four counts for the murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2)) of Thomas Riley, a fellow inmate. Eight months later, defendant was also indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit said murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2(a)). The two indictments were consolidated for trial. Prior to trial, defendant waived his right to have the jury sit on the aggravation and mitigation portion of the case. A jury found defendant guilty on all five counts. The trial court, at a separate sentencing hearing, found that the necessary aggravating factors existed and that there were no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death penalty, and sentenced defendant to death.

By direction of the trial Judge, a notice of appeal was filed in this court on August 8, 1986. Defendant thereafter filed a post-trial motion in the trial court on August 15, 1986, but since the trial court had been divested of jurisdiction, defendant then filed, in this court, a motion to remand the cause to the trial court for the limited purpose of deciding his post-trial motion for a new sentencing hearing. This court allowed the motion. On remand the trial court denied the post-trial motion.

On appeal, defendant raises the following issues: (1) the evidence did not establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial court, (a) made erroneous evidentiary rulings, (b) erred in admitting into evidence his statement to prison investigators, and (c) erred in requiring him to produce his investigator's notes, thereby depriving him of the effective assistance of counsel, due process, and the right against self-incrimination; (3) production of the notes violated his sixth amendment right to counsel; (4) the State improperly questioned the jury about the death penalty; (5) he was deprived of a fair, impartial and unanimous jury; (6) the trial court erred in sentencing him to death; and (7) the Illinois death penalty statute is unconstitutional.

The theory of the State's case was that defendant and two other inmates, Robert Jones and Charles Jordan, killed the victim in furtherance of a conspiracy among a group of inmates.

The evidence reveals that Thomas Riley, the victim, was murdered on October 7, 1984. He died of multiple stab wounds to the thigh, head, back and chest area, with penetration of the heart. The murder occurred on or near the back of seven gallery, of the south cellhouse at the Pontiac Correctional Center. After the murder, the five and seven galleries were placed under lock-down conditions, and the inmates were confined to their cells. Interviews were conducted by investigators the day of the murder with the inmates of five and seven galleries, and with correctional officers. Follow-up interviews were conducted over the course of the next few days. Defendant was not interviewed until nine days later.

The State introduced the testimony of four inmates, three of whom, Kenneth Broughton, James Cameron, and Craig Chothen, saw the murder. The fourth, Brian Trimble, was present at a meeting at which the victim's murder was planned.

Broughton testified that at the time of the murder he was sitting on a windowsill and was scanning five and seven galleries when he saw Jones, Jordan, defendant and the victim on the back of seven gallery, near cell 751 or 752. Broughton said that they seemed to be talking and defendant acted as though he was going to walk away. Instead, defendant turned around and stabbed the victim.

On cross-examination, Broughton admitted that his trial testimony differed in some respects from the statements he had given to Investigator Irvin.

James Cameron testified that he was walking towards the back of five gallery when he noticed Jones, Jordan, a west cellhouse resident and the victim on the back landing of five gallery. As he continued walking towards the back he saw them and the defendant enter on seven gallery, where they stood approximately two cells away from the back landing. It appeared that the victim had already been wounded because there was blood on his head and shoulders. A scuffle ensued and the defendant then hit the victim "in the chest with a blow with a shank." The victim fell over the railing, landed on his feet on five gallery and then fell to the ground. Cameron went to the back of five gallery and saw the victim lying there. Cameron said he started to walk towards the front of the gallery and, about five minutes later, saw defendant and Jordan near the middle of five gallery holding brooms and sweeping. Cameron noticed that defendant had changed clothes and was now wearing a sweat jacket. During the lock down, and prior to being interviewed on the night of the murder, Cameron passed a note to Lieutenant Eddie Ringo, which read:

"BO-CLAiR 'MADE The hit' 7 'GAllERy.'"

On cross-examination, Cameron stated that he had been a member of the gang's "five gallery security team," that he did not mention the west cellhouse resident at the first interview, but he did say something about him at the second interview. Also at the second interview, Cameron said that he told an investigator that defendant had been wearing a blue jean jacket at the time of the murder, while Jordan had been wearing a dark blue hooded sweat shirt.

Craig Chothen testified that the night before the murder he saw Jones and James Wilcox, the "gang's leader in prison," talking with the victim on five gallery, near the window opposite cell 508. He did not hear the conversation but said it looked as if they were arguing. Before breakfast on the day of the murder, Chothen said he saw Jones and Wilcox talking to the victim, in the same area as the previous night, and heard Jones say to Riley, "Man, you owe us."

Chothen testified that he was on the stairway going up to seven gallery when he heard "a moan" up on seven gallery. He looked up and saw "three guys swinging shanks" at the victim. Chothen identified the "three guys" as defendant, Jones and Jordan. Chothen stated that he backed away from where he was standing and heard a "thump on the floor," turned around and saw the victim wobble on his feet and fall to the floor. Chothen then went back into five gallery to get his jacket from his cell.

On cross-examination Chothen admitted that he had never told the investigators that he returned to five gallery after witnessing the murder, until he had viewed a videotape which showed him walking back and forth on five gallery. Chothen admitted that he clarified his earlier statements to reflect the fact that he returned to five gallery. Chothen also admitted that he had been a gang member for 12 years, but said he left the gang after the murder.

Brian Trimble, a third gallery resident in the south cellhouse, testified that just before the murder he was in the yard where he saw some gang members talking, through the fence, with an inmate in the west cellhouse yard. Trimble walked over to the group and they were discussing the "hit" on the victim. According to Trimble, Wilcox said that word came down from Larry Hoover, the leader of the "whole [gang] nation," that the victim had to be hit. Melvin Jones, the gang's chief of security, explained to the group that he wanted defendant, Jordan, and Robert Jones "to take care of the hit." Robert Jones was to coordinate and set up the hit and defendant and Jordan were to "kill" the victim. Trimble identified those present at this meeting as Wilcox, Melvin Jones, Jordan, Robert Jones, Fontaine, defendant and himself. Trimble also said that he had not been interviewed by investigators and had not come forward with this information until seven months after the murder, following a prison gang assassination attempt on his life.

David Turner, a correctional officer, testified that after the murder he saw defendant around cell 730 or 735. Turner said that defendant seemed "peculiar" because he was just standing there not paying attention to what was going on, while everyone else was at the back of the gallery looking over the railing or trying to see what was happening.

Correctional Officer Michael Jones testified that he had let defendant out of his cell on the morning of the murder. Jones recalled that defendant was wearing blue jean pants and a blue jean jacket. After the murder, Jones was instructed to secure seven gallery. When Jones locked the defendant in his cell, Jones noticed that defendant was not wearing the blue jean jacket he wore earlier that day.

Edward Kallal, an Illinois State Police crime scene technician, testified that, on the day of the murder, he took photographs of the crime scene, attended the victim's autopsy and collected standards, including blood, palm and fingerprints from the victim, and collected swabs of blood from the crime scene.

Kallal also testified that Officer Langlois gave him defendant's leather gloves, and that the clothing came from defendant's cell. Kallal stated that when he, Officer Langlois, and some guards conducted a search of defendant's cell around 8 p.m. on the night of the murder, he took defendant's blue jean jacket and tennis shoes because they appeared to have blood on them. When Kallal inquired about the clothes, defendant identified the items as his and told Kallal the blood had gotten on his clothes two weeks before. Kallal stated that he could not tell if defendant had "done his laundry" but defendant's blue jean jacket was damp. Kallal also testified that all the evidence he collected or received was turned over to the State Police laboratory.

Terrance Delaney, a special agent captain with the Illinois State Police, testified that on the day of the murder he was on assignment to the Department of Corrections as its chief investigator, and he received a call summoning him to the Pontiac Correctional Center. Delaney said that he toured the crime scene, observed what work had been done by the crime scene technician, began reviewing reports, was made aware of the interviews that had been conducted with the correctional officers, and was told of Cameron's note to Lieutenant Ringo.

Delaney then organized the inmate interviews. He restricted the interviews to the inmates of the five and seven galleries, because the majority of the inmates from the six and eight galleries were not in the cell area at the time of the murder. Those inmates who remained on the six and eight galleries at the time of the murder were locked in and could not get out. Interviews with other inmates were conducted as information surfaced from the interviews with five and seven gallery inmates.

Delaney said that there were some differences between first and second interviews of several inmates, but the discrepancies were usually clarified in the second interview. He also acknowledged that Chothen gave four statements; the fourth being restricted to Chothen's movements as depicted on the videotape. Delaney said that defendant was not interviewed on the day of the murder, but that he was interviewed on two occasions: once formally, and once informally at defendant's request.

Diane Schneider, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, testified on behalf of the State and the defense. She stated that she received a number of items from Kallal on October 16, 1984, and again on October 31, 1984. Schneider said she also received blood standards from the victim, defendant and Ferrell Morris, another inmate.

Schneider said she analyzed the blood swabs for ABO typing and standards and found them to contain human blood, the results of which would include the victim as a possible donor, but exclude the defendant. She also observed what appeared to be bloodstains on the back of defendant's leather gloves, the back of the palm area, the fingers, and on the inside wrist of the right glove. Schneider tested the stains and identified human blood, but was unable to determine whether the blood type was consistent with that of the victim or the defendant. She found a stain on the left pocket of defendant's blue jean jacket to be blood of a type consistent with defendant or Ferrell Morris. She tested a stain in the shoulder area of the jacket, near the right sleeve, and although the results were inconclusive, she said that the source possibly could have been the victim. Similarly, she tested the scattered small stains found on defendant's tennis shoes. The tests revealed the presence of human blood, but there was no ABO substance which made the results inconclusive as to the source. There were stains on defendant's blue jean pants which Schneider found to be human blood, but detecting no antigenic activity she was unable to identify the source. She also said that washing a garment would affect the fluids.

Defendant introduced the testimony of inmate Clifton Hale, Jr., who testified that on the day of the murder, he was housed in cell 701 in the south cellhouse. Hale said that after breakfast he saw defendant in defendant's cell. Hale said that he was on his way to the yard when he returned to his "house" to get his cigarettes, after which he started walking towards the back gate on seven gallery. When he reached cell 708 or 709, Jordan, defendant's cellmate, shouted to him from five gallery asking Hale to get him a cigarette from defendant. Hale said he went to the cell, knocked on the doorway, got a cigarette from defendant and threw it down to Jordan, and resumed walking down seven gallery. As he approached cell 730, he saw something go over the railing and heard a noise, but he could not tell what it was. As Hale got to cell 740, he looked down and saw a body lying on the floor of five gallery. Hale never mentioned the cigarette incident in either of his two statements to investigators.

Inmate Ferrell Morris, an eight gallery resident in the south cellhouse, testified for the defense. Morris stated that on two occasions before the murder he had been bleeding when he was near the defendant. The first time was about a week before the murder when he was involved in a fight, but he did not come into physical contact with the defendant at that time. The second time occurred two to three days before the murder, when defendant stopped by Morris' cell while Morris was fighting with two other inmates. Morris testified that he was bleeding from the nose and mouth and when defendant came into the cell, he hugged the defendant.

Defendant testified that he lived in cell 707 in the south cellhouse and that October 7, 1984, was his 27th birthday. He stated that he, his cellmate Charles Jordan, and John Coleman, an eight gallery resident, had planned to celebrate his birthday in Coleman's cell. Defendant said that, after waking up, he "washed up" and put on a blue zip-up sweatshirt, not his blue jean jacket, a pair of blue jeans and work boots. He and Jordan went to buff the back landing of five gallery until breakfast.

Defendant said that he went to breakfast with Jordan but left the dining room alone, went up to seven gallery, and headed into his cell. Defendant said that he began talking to a Latino inmate on five gallery, who "lived between 501 and 507." Defendant said that while he was talking to the Latino inmate someone on seven gallery came and asked him for a cigarette for Jordan. Defendant said he went into his cell, got a cigarette, went back out and gave it to the person, and then resumed talking to the Latino inmate.

Defendant stated that he did not hear or see anything unusual, but he did notice people gathering on the back of seven gallery. He started walking toward the back of seven gallery and got to the middle of the gallery when he leaned over the railing and looked toward the back of five gallery. He did not see the body, but he did see seven or eight people milling around in a circle on the back of five gallery. Defendant said that, after being on seven gallery for six to seven minutes, he jumped to five gallery somewhere around cell 710 when he saw Jordan. They started to talk and then walked towards the front of five gallery and stopped by a window. They stayed there until they saw the stretcher bearing the victim's body being carried into the yard, and then they picked up brooms to sweep the gallery.

Defendant said that when the majority of the gallery had been locked up, he and Jordan were let out onto the back landing where they finished buffing the landing. From there they went to the seven gallery landing and began buffing it.

He said that Officer Jones locked him up, and later that evening, Kallal and three correctional officers came to his cell. Defendant said he turned over his blue jean jacket, white tennis shoes and tan leather gloves, and the jacket was not wet and he had not washed it. Two days later, ...

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