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11/28/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. TONYA WOODS AND

November 28, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TONYA WOODS AND RAY COLLINS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Daniel J. Kelly, Judge Presiding.

Rehearing Denied December 22, 1994. Released for Publication January 13, 1995. Withdrawn from the Bound Volume.

Justice O'connor delivered the opinion of the court: Campbell, P.j. and Buckley, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'connor

Justice O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court:

In this consolidated appeal, defendants, Tonya Woods and Ray Collins, challenge their convictions and sentences for armed robbery.

Appeal No. 88-2643

A jury found Tonya Woods guilty of the armed robbery of a Chicago paint store, and the circuit court sentenced her to a 30 year term of imprisonment. Woods raises two issues concerning the propriety of her sentence.

She first maintains that this court must reduce her sentence for armed robbery because it is inconsistent with the lesser sentences received by her co-defendants. Generally, in considering the appropriateness of punishment, a reviewing court accords great weight to the trial court's judgment. ( People v. Perruquet (1977), 68 Ill. 2d 149, 154, 368 N.E.2d 882, 11 Ill. Dec. 274.) Although an arbitrary and unreasonable disparity between sentences of co-defendants is impermissible, a disparity between sentences will not be disturbed when it is warranted by differences in the nature and extent of participation in the offense or by a more serious criminal record. ( People v. Godinez (1982), 91 Ill. 2d 47, 55, 434 N.E.2d 1121, 61 Ill. Dec. 524; People v. Wooton (1990), 198 Ill. App. 3d 591, 596-97, 555 N.E.2d 1214, 144 Ill. Dec. 695.) We have reviewed the backgrounds of Woods and her accomplices, along with their relative participation in the robbery, and conclude that the circuit court's sentence was neither arbitrary nor unreasonable.

Woods further contends that the circuit court failed to consider evidence of her rehabilitative potential when it sentenced her to 30 years of imprisonment. Woods' sentence is well within the range prescribed by the applicable section of the Code of Corrections. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 5-8-1(a)(3) (allowing 30 year maximum sentence).) Moreover, the record belies Woods' contentions that the court failed to consider her rehabilitative potential. Accordingly, we decline to reduce the sentence imposed by the circuit court.

Appeal Nos. 89-210 and 90-2821

Ray Collins was indicted for one count of attempted murder, three counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated battery, and one count of armed violence, all stemming from the armed robbery of a Chicago restaurant. Collins waived his right to a jury. Co-defendant Woods, similarly charged, opted for a jury. Although severed, the cases were tried simultaneously. Another defendant, Michael Paicely, was tried separately from Collins and Woods. The circuit court found Collins guilty of all counts, and he received an extended term of 60 years for the armed robbery and attempt counts. Woods' jury returned verdicts of guilty of all charges except that of attempted murder. She received an extended term of 60 years for the armed robbery conviction and an extended term of 10 years for the aggravated battery conviction, to be served concurrently. However, the two sentences were to be served consecutively to the 30 year sentence Woods had received for the paint store robbery that we have affirmed in this opinion.

In appeal 90-2821, Woods, who is black, mounts a two-pronged attack on the State's use of its peremptory challenges. She argues that the State used pretextual reasons in striking several black venirepersons from the jury. She further argues that the State engaged in religious discrimination in striking those venirepersons from the jury.

The equal protection clause of the federal constitution prohibits the State from utilizing its peremptory challenges to exclude prospective jurors on the basis of race. ( Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 85, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69, 80, 106 S. Ct. 1712.) In Batson, the U.S. Supreme Court established a two stage inquiry by which a defendant's claim of discrimination must be reviewed. The defendant must first present a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination in the State's use of its challenges. ( Batson, 476 U.S. at 96, 90 L. Ed. 2d at 87, 106 S. Ct. at 1723.) If a prima facie case is established, the burden then shifts to the State to provided race-neutral explanations for its exclusion of each venireperson. ( Batson, 476 U.S. at 97 n.20, 90 L. Ed. 2d at 88 n.20, 106 S. Ct. at 1723 at n.20.) The procedure set out in Batson repeatedly has been cited with approval by our own supreme court. See e.g., People v. Wiley (1993), 156 Ill. 2d 464, 475, 622 N.E.2d 766, 190 Ill. Dec. 736; People v. Garrett (1990), 139 Ill. 2d 189, 564 N.E.2d 784, 151 Ill. Dec. 329.

The circuit court here made no findings that Woods had demonstrated a prima facie case of purposeful racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the State volunteered its race-neutral explanations for the record after Woods' counsel objected to the use of the State's peremptory challenges. The ...


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