Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County. No. 94CF755. Honorable Harold L. Jensen, Judge Presiding.
As Corrected September 13, 1996. Released for Publication September 17, 1996.
Honorable Rita B. Garman, J., Honorable Frederick S. Green, J., Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Concurring. Justice Garman delivered the opinion of the court.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garman
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant Tyno Wicks appeals his conviction in the circuit court of Champaign County for the offense of unlawful use of weapons in violation of section 24-1(a)(4) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4) (West Supp. 1993)). He was sentenced to 12 months' conditional discharge and a $50 fine, to run concurrently with a similar sentence on a conviction of criminal trespass to land (720 ILCS 5/21-3 (West 1994)), a charge to which defendant had previously pleaded guilty. We affirm.
Defendant had been charged with both offenses in August 1994. The criminal trespass charge alleged that he had knowingly entered land of Mansard Square and Parkside Apartments after receiving notice from the management that such entry was forbidden. The unlawful weapons charge alleged that defendant had knowingly carried a concealed weapon while on a public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising residential property owned, operated, and managed by a public housing agency, namely Burch Village of the Champaign County Housing Authority. The offense was thus elevated from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. See 720 ILCS 5/24-1(c)(2) (West Supp. 1993).
Defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest. At the hearing on that motion, Mark Huckstep, police officer for the City of Champaign, testified that he was on patrol in the late evening of August 2, 1994, and saw defendant walking through the parking lot at Mansard Square. Huckstep recognized defendant and knew that he was barred from that property. When he and another officer stopped defendant, he was walking on Mansard Square property. Defendant was arrested for criminal trespass and, in the process of searching defendant, a gun was found.
The trial court denied the motion to quash arrest. Defendant also filed a motion to dismiss the unlawful weapons charge, on the basis that the arresting officer observed defendant only on private property, not a public way. After hearing arguments of counsel, the trial court denied the motion.
A stipulated bench trial was held on the unlawful weapons charge, at which the parties agreed to allow the trial court to consider evidence heard at the hearing on defendant's motion to quash arrest and counsel's arguments at the hearing on defendant's motion to dismiss. The court found defendant guilty.
On appeal, defendant argues that he was not on a "public way" prior to his arrest, Mansard Square being private property, and, therefore, he was improperly convicted of the offense of unlawful use of weapons as charged.
Sections 24-1(a)(4) and (c)(2) of the Code provide in relevant part as follows:
"Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(4) Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business any pistol, ...