SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
546 N.E.2d 574, 131 Ill. 2d 417, 137 Ill. Dec. 629 1989.IL.1682
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, the Hon. William Block, Judge, presiding.
CHIEF JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE RYAN, Dissenting. JUSTICE CLARK joins in this Dissent.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MORAN
In the direct appeal of the death sentence of defendant, Hector Reuben Sanchez, this court affirmed his convictions for the aggravated kidnapping, rape, deviate sexual assault and murder of Michelle Thompson and the attempted murder of Rene Valentine. (115 Ill. 2d 238.) Also affirmed was defendant's death sentence for Thompson's murder and the concurrent terms of 60 years for the other offenses. However, this court stayed the death sentence because the circuit court of Lake County dismissed defendant's amended section 2-1401 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) petition (hereinafter, petition) to vacate his convictions without conducting an evidentiary hearing. The case was remanded to the trial court with directions to conduct an evidentiary hearing on defendant's petition. 115 Ill. 2d at 287.
The trial court held the evidentiary hearing on August 2, 1988, and again dismissed defendant's petition. The instant appeal ensued.
It should be noted that defendant's appeal was not taken pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 122-1), but rather was taken pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 110, par. 2-1401). The purpose of the petition is to bring before the court facts which had they been known at trial would have prevented the entry of the contested judgment. (See, e.g., People v. Hinton (1972), 52 Ill. 2d 239, 243.) Although the petition is usually characterized as a civil remedy, its remedial powers extend to criminal cases. (See, e.g., Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 110, par. 2-1401, Historical & Practice Notes, at 614 (Smith-Hurd 1983).) When examining a trial court's ruling on such a petition, the appropriate standard of review is whether the trial court abused its discretion. (In re Petition of the Village of Kildeer to Annex Certain Territory (1988), 124 Ill. 2d 533, 544.) Absent an abuse of discretion the trial court's determination will not be disturbed.
The basis of defendant's petition was a newly discovered statement made by Oscar Cardona Cartegena, a prisoner in the Wisconsin penal system.
Defendant raises three issues relating to this newly discovered statement: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the admission of the investigator's testimony regarding Cartegena's statement on hearsay grounds; (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion in not bestowing immunity upon Cartegena; and (3) whether the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to allow an offer of proof regarding opinion testimony as to the credibility of Cartegena's statement.
After defendant was convicted of the crimes involving the abduction and murder of Thompson and the attempted murder of Valentine, he was transferred to the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, jail to await trial on an unrelated murder charge. Cartegena was also incarcerated in the same jail. While there, Cartegena allegedly told a Catholic nun, who spiritually attended to inmates at the jail, that he had witnessed the abduction of Thompson and shooting of Valentine. Cartegena claimed that defendant was not one of the persons who committed those offenses. Upon learning of this report, defense counsel sent an investigator, Don Berlin, to talk to Cartegena, who eventually gave Berlin a statement.
At the evidentiary hearing, defendant sought to introduce this statement. Cartegena took the stand but invoked his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. The trial court inquired of Cartegena as to the scope of his invocation. Cartegena said that he would not answer any questions relating to his presence at D. Laney's nightclub in Gurnee, Illinois, on February 3, 1984, because he believed that the evidence may incriminate him.
Defendant then sought a grant of immunity for Cartegena but the State declined to grant Cartegena immunity. The trial court found that the State's denial of immunity did not violate defendant's constitutional rights.
Defendant next sought to introduce the statement by having the investigator testify about the statement. The State objected on hearsay grounds. Before the trial court ruled on ...