The Honorable Justice Nickels delivered the opinion of the court:
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickels
JUSTICE NICKELS delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Anthony Robinson, was convicted of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 18-2) and armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) following a jury trial in Cook County. At his sentencing hearing, the court adjudged defendant to be an habitual criminal and sentenced him to life imprisonment pursuant to the Habitual Criminal Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 33B-1 et seq.). Defendant's conviction was affirmed by the appellate court. (No. 1-91-3239 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).) The appellate court vacated defendant's life sentence, however, finding that Habitual Criminal Act requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that the State failed to meet this burden. Both the State and the defendant filed separate petitions for leave to appeal. (145 Ill. 2d R. 315(a).) We granted both petitions and consolidated the appeals, with defendant proceeding as appellant.
Two issues are presented for review: first, whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence of collateral crimes in defendant's trial; and second, whether the State satisfied its burden of proving defendant should be sentenced to life imprisonment pursuant to the Habitual Criminal Act.
The following facts were presented at defendant's trial. Officer Donald Smith testified concerning the circumstances surrounding defendant's arrest. Officer Smith testified that he was patrolling in his marked police car when he came across the defendant walking alone. The officer testified that the defendant's generalphysical appearance and the white hooded sweatshirt he was wearing matched a composite drawing of a wanted suspect.
Officer Smith testified that he asked the defendant for identification. The defendant identified himself as Anthony Robinson, but provided no identification. The officer further testified that the defendant claimed to have visited a nearby residence; however, an inquiry at that residence failed to verify defendant's identity. At this time, defendant agreed to accompany Officer Smith to the police station.
Officer Smith further testified concerning defendant's arrest. At the police station, Officer Smith contacted Detective Adeline Raducha by phone and told her that he had a man matching the composite. Officer Smith gave Detective Raducha the defendant's name and address and hung up. Moments later, Detective Raducha phoned back and told Officer Smith to hold the defendant. Officer Smith testified that he placed defendant under arrest at this time.
Detective Raducha testified that she called Officer Smith and told him to hold defendant because of her investigation relating to Millicent Morris. Morris had been previously arrested for attempting to use credit cards that were stolen during an attack on a woman named Elouise Law. At the time of Officer Smith's call, Morris was in the process of viewing photographs to identify the person from whom she had obtained the cards. After Morris identified a photograph of a man named Anthony Robinson, Detective Raducha phoned Officer Smith and told him to hold defendant.
Detective Raducha also testified that she interviewed defendant and received consent to search his automobile. Detective Raducha identified a knife she recovered from between the seats of defendant's car.
The victim, 56-year-old Lily Barber, testified concerningthe attack she suffered and her identification of the defendant. Barber testified that on March 16, 1990, she was returning to her home in the Chatham area of Chicago and parked her car in her garage. Barber testified that she was confronted by a man wearing a mask as she exited the garage through a side door. The man forced her into the garage and a struggle ensued. Barber testified that she pulled the mask from her attacker and saw his face from a distance of less than a foot.
Barber testified that her attacker then pulled out a switchblade knife, forced her to lie down, and removed the wallet from her pocket. Barber also testified that her attacker then pulled down her pants and threatened to have sex with her. Barber testified that the man left after she told him she had a bad disease and that a neighbor would return home soon.
Barber also testified concerning her identification of the defendant during a lineup at the police station. Barber testified she was able to identify defendant as her attacker from a lineup of four persons. Barber also identified the knife Detective Raducha recovered from defendant's car as the one used in the attack.
Millicent Morris testified concerning the circumstances of her arrest and her identification of the defendant. Morris testified that she was at her brother's home when a man came in and asked her if she wanted to use some stolen credit cards. When she attempted to use the cards at a nearby shoe store, she was arrested. At the police station, Morris identified defendant from his photograph as the person from whom she had obtained the credit cards. Morris further testified that she subsequently identified defendant in a lineup. The credit cards had been stolen from a woman named Elouise Law.
The State was allowed to present evidence concerning two other crimes on the basis of a pretrial ruling bythe judge. Prior to trial, the State filed a motion in limine seeking to use evidence of defendant's other crimes. In that motion, the State sought to use evidence of three attacks on women that took place in 1990 one attack that took place 1984, and three attacks on women that occurred in 1977 and 1978. The State argued that the other crimes were relevant and admissible to prove defendant's identity and modus operandi.
Defense counsel argued that the crimes occurring in 1977 and 1978 were too remote to be admitted into evidence. Defense counsel also argued that the crimes occurring in 1990 were not similar enough to the charged crime to be probative under a theory of modus operandi. Defense counsel further objected to the introduction of any of the crimes occurring in 1990 because none involved an identification of the defendant or had resulted in a conviction. Defense counsel further argued that the cumulative prejudicial effect of admitting so many other crimes would prevent defendant from receiving a fair trial.
After extensive briefing and argument, the trial judge allowed the State to present evidence concerning only one of the 1977-78 crimes and one of the 1990 crimes. The trial judge reasoned that allowing the State to introduce all seven other crimes would be cumulatively prejudicial. The trial judge allowed the State to decide which two crimes it wished to present. However, the trial judge reserved ruling as to whether the two crimes selected would be sufficiently similar to the charged crime to be admissible at trial as evidence of modus operandi.
In accordance with this pretrial ruling, the State chose to present evidence concerning the attacks on Elouise Law and Louise Collins. Law testified, over defense counsel's objection, concerning an attack she suffered on March 23, 1990. Law testified that she wasreturning to her home in the Chatham area of Chicago after visiting the hospital. As she exited the garage, someone hit her on the shoulder, causing her to fall. The assailant grabbed her purse, containing cash and credit cards, and ran away. Law testified that she could not identify the assailant. Law further testified that she received a phone call from the police later that day and she went to the police station where she identified her credit cards. These were the credit cards recovered from Millicent Morris.
Louise Collins also testified, over defense counsel's objection, concerning an attack she suffered in 1977. Collins testified that she resided in the Chatham area of Chicago and was returning to her home when she saw a man in the vestibule of her building. Collins testified that the man approached her with a knife and demanded her purse. Collins further testified that after complying with this request, the man forced her to remove her clothing and get on the floor. Collins then described how she escaped by stabbing the man with his own knife. Collins also testified that she identified the defendant as her attacker during a lineup that took place on January 20, 1978. Collins again identified defendant as her attacker in open court.
Following the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of armed robbery and armed violence for the attack on Barber. At sentencing, the State sought to have the defendant adjudged an habitual criminal. The Habitual Criminal Act provides that a defendant who is convicted of a third qualifying offense shall be "adjudged" an Habitual Criminal and sentenced to life imprisonment. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, pars. 33B-1(a), (e).) To this end, the State introduced certified copies of the records of defendant's 1978 and 1984 convictions for armed robbery. The State supported these convictions with a certified copy of defendant's jail recordfrom 1978, a certified copy of the indictment from the 1984 conviction, and a current presentence investigation report.
Defense counsel contested the validity of the 1984 conviction, claiming that conviction was not for armed robbery. The trial court ruled that the State had established prima facie evidence that defendant's 1984 conviction was for armed robbery through the certified copy of the record of defendant's conviction. The trial judge thereby sentenced defendant to life imprisonment pursuant to the Habitual Criminal Act.
On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the attacks on Law and Collins. The appellate court rejected defendant's argument and affirmed defendant's conviction. However, the appellate court reversed defendant's life sentence. The appellate court determined that defendant's prior convictions must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt and that the State failed to meet this burden. We address each issue in turn.
We first address whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence of defendant's other crimes. Generally, evidence of other crimes is inadmissible where that evidence is relevant solely to establish a defendant's criminal propensity. ( People v. Lindgren (1980), 79 Ill. 2d 129, 137, 37 Ill. Dec. 348, 402 N.E.2d 238.) This general rule is premised on the belief that "such evidence overpersuades the jury, which might convict the defendant only because it feels he or she is a bad person deserving punishment." ( Lingren, 79 Ill. 2d at 137.) However, evidence of other crimes is admissible where relevant for any purpose other than to show the propensity to commit crime. ( People v. Phillips (1989), 127 Ill. 2d 499, 520, 131 Ill. Dec. 125, 538 N.E.2d 500; People v. McDonald (1975), 62 Ill. 2d 448, 455, 343 N.E.2d 489.) This court has recognized that other-crimes evidence may be relevant to prove modus operandi, intent, identity, motive or absence of mistake. People v. McKibbins (1983), 96 Ill. 2d 176, 182, 70 Ill. Dec. 474, 449 N.E.2d 821.
Even where relevant for a permissible purpose, the trial judge must weigh the prejudicial effect of admitting the other-crimes evidence against its probative value. ( People v. Stewart (1984), 105 Ill. 2d 22, 62, 85 Ill. Dec. 241, 473 N.E.2d 840.) The trial court should exclude the other-crimes evidence where the probative value of that evidence is substantially outweighed by the prejudicial effect on defendant's right to a fair trial. ( People v. Illgen (1991), 145 Ill. 2d 353, 365, 164 Ill. Dec. 599, 583 N.E.2d 515.) The admissibility of other-crimes evidence rests within the sound discretion of the trial court. ( Illgen, 145 Ill. 2d at 364.) As such, the ...