Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. No. 90-J-56. Honorable William G. Schwartz, Judge Presiding.
Lewis, Goldenhersh, Rarick
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lewis
PRESIDING JUSTICE LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court:
The minor respondent, D.R.S. (hereinafter Donald), appeals from his adjudication of delinquency for the offense of residential burglary. On January 14, 1992, the State filed a three-count petition to revoke Donald's probation and for supplemental adjudication of wardship. On February 18, 1992, Donald admitted the allegations of the possession of alcohol charge, and the trial Judge found sufficient evidence on the charge of residential burglary but insufficient evidence on the charge of theft of a firearm. On appeal, Donald raises two issues: (1) whether the uncorroborated testimony of one accomplice witness was sufficient to prove him delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) whether he was denied effective assistance of counsel. For reasons more fully explained below, we reverse.
We initially summarize Donald's history with the juvenile court prior to his 1992 residential burglary delinquency adjudication, because the trial Judge who adJudged Donald delinquent and committed him to the Department of Corrections also presided over all but one of his prior juvenile hearings, at least those appearing in our record on appeal. (All of the various charges against Donald are contained in the same file, including two other burglaries, thefts, and criminal damage to property.) For reasons we will more fully explain in our Discussion of the issues, we conclude that the trial court's involvement with Donald in prior juvenile court proceedings must be considered in our decision as to whether he was proved delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt of the offense of residential burglary.
Donald's involvement with law enforcement officials formally began in the early morning hours of November 24, 1990, when he was picked up by Carbondale police officer Brent Nausley on a curfew violation. On December 5, 1990, the State filed a petition alleging that Donald was delinquent due to the curfew violation and obstructing a peace officer. On February 11, 1991, before that petition could be heard by the court, the State filed a supplemental petition alleging two counts of aggravated assault, one count of unlawful use of weapons, and one count of possession of a firearm without the requisite firearm owner's identification card. On the same date, the court conducted a detention hearing. The trial Judge found "ample evidence that it's a matter of immediate and urgent necessity that the minor be detained pending the adjudicatory hearing."
On March 11, 1991, a hearing was conducted on the original petition, charging a curfew violation and obstructing a police officer. At that hearing, Officer Nausley testified that he stopped Donald for a curfew violation at about 4:15 a.m. on November 24, 1990, when he saw the minor leaving the Corner Diner in Carbondale, Illinois. Nausley "had had several dealings with him in the past and knew he was under age to be out after curfew." Donald gave Nausley his date of birth, May 21, 1975, when asked. When Nausley told Donald that he was going to take him back home, Donald became belligerent and started threatening Nausley and other Carbondale police officers. Nausley then took Donald into custody and transported him to the Carbondale Police Department.
As Nausley logged an alleged marijuana pipe into evidence, Donald began making threatening statements. Nausley testified that Donald stated that his life's ambition was to kill a "pigcop," and that Donald said, "Please hell-Satan give me the power to kill a cop, to put a bullet through his head or his skull, or through his forehead and then I'll rape his wife and children and piss on his grave."
Nausley testified on cross-examination that Donald told him that he left his home to go to the Corner Diner where his mother worked, because his older brother was beating him and because they did not have a telephone. When Donald arrived at the diner, his mother was not, there because she got off work early that night. Donald's mother testified essentially the same concerning her work. At the time Nausley stopped him, Donald was walking in the direction of his family's trailer. Other than making the threatening statement to Nausley at the police station, Donald had not physically resisted arrest and had otherwise cooperated.
Based upon the evidence, the court found sufficient evidence to support the charge of the curfew violation but insufficient evidence to support the charge of obstructing a police officer. The court ordered Donald to be detained pending an adjudicatory hearing on the assault and weapons charges of the supplemental petition.
On April 8, 1991, the court conducted a hearing on the supplemental petition. The court found sufficient evidence on one count of aggravated assault, dismissed the other three counts, and ordered that Donald be continued in detention until the court could conduct a Dispositional hearing.
At the Dispositional hearing, the court considered social and psychological evaluations of Donald. The court stated that it was dealing with a young man with psychological and medical problems (juvenile diabetes); and the court further stated: "[Donald] doesn't want to do anything for himself except sit in this courtroom and cry and get mad at people. * * * It's been almost a year and a half that Donald's been involved in this Court." The Judge acknowledged that Donald's medical problems may have caused some of his aggression, but the court stated that Donald would have to straighten himself out or the court would have "no qualms whatsoever in warehousing" him. Later, the court conducted a hearing to determine the possibility of residential placement for Donald, but none was available, due to Donald's history of aggression and medical problems. The court considered Donald's statement that he was sorry for his former behavior and would be a "better person" if not sent back to the correctional institution. The court sentenced Donald to two years' probation, with various conditions, trying "to create locally as much of a structured setting" as possible.
On January 14, 1992, the State filed a petition to revoke Donald's probation and for supplemental adjudication. Count one alleged unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor, count two alleged residential burglary, and count three alleged theft of a firearm. The unlawful possession of alcohol allegedly occurred on a different date than the residential burglary and theft of the firearm. On February 18, 1992, the court conducted the adjudicatory hearing of the January 14 petition. Donald admitted the allegations of count one, possession of alcohol by a minor.
The State called Jerry Michael Braun, who testified that he left his trailer in Carbondale, Illinois, between about 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. and returned at about 9:15 p.m. that same evening. When he returned, he saw that his back door was open and the glass in the door was broken, and that three shotguns, one rifle, a stereo receiver, and some Nintendo tapes were missing. ...