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December 12, 1997


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Thomas Hett, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication January 22, 1998.

The Honorable Justice Quinn delivered the opinion of the court. Greiman, P.j. and Theis, J. concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Quinn

The Honorable Justice QUINN delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of first degree murder and attempt first degree murder. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of 55 years' imprisonment and 30 years' imprisonment, respectively. On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the issue of transferred intent; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the victim's obituary notice into evidence and allowing the jury to review it during its deliberations; and (3) the trial court improperly considered gang evidence during the sentencing hearing. Jurisdiction is vested in this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 603 (134 Ill. 2d R. 603).

For the following reasons, we affirm.

The relevant facts are as follows. On June 11, 1993, William Ware, James Hale, and Rodney Watson attended a party at 6500 South Lowe Avenue in Chicago. At approximately 11:30 p.m., a gunman fired shots into the group which fatally wounded Hale and injured Ware. Neither Ware nor Watson were able to positively identify the shooter, but both testified that the shooter was wearing dark clothing and a hood.

Curtis Lloyd testified that on June 11, 1993, at approximately 11:30 p.m. he was sitting on the hood of his car which was parked across the street from the scene of the shooting. Shortly before the shooting, Lloyd saw defendant walk past him. Defendant was wearing black clothing and a hood. Lloyd saw defendant cross the street toward 6521 South Lowe Avenue. Lloyd then heard five or six shots fired, and when he turned in the direction of the shots, he saw defendant aiming and shooting a gun toward 6500 South Lowe Avenue. Defendant then ran back across the street. Lloyd identified defendant in a police line-up on June 29, 1993.

Willie Smith testified that he was employed as a security guard for the Chicago Housing Authority. On June 11, 1993, he was patrolling the building at 6500 South Lowe because it was a "Gangster Disciple" hangout surrounded by "Black Disciple" territory, and there were frequent problems in the area. That night, Smith received a complaint that a party at 6521 South Lowe Avenue was too loud. Upon arriving at the address, Smith saw defendant fire a gun which caused Smith to dive to the ground. Smith heard a total of seven to nine shots, and then saw two men run from the area.

Chicago Police Officer Alvin Boone testified that on June 29, 1993, at approximately 8:30 p.m. he arrested defendant. Boone took defendant to the police station where he was interviewed by Detective James O'Brien. At that time, defendant denied any involvement in the shooting of James Hale. Assistant State's Attorney Peggy Chiampas also interviewed defendant on June 29, 1993. Defendant initially denied any involvement in the shooting, but later admitted to his participation in the crime.

According to defendant, on June 11, 1993, he attended a meeting of the "Black Disciples" gang, of which defendant was a member since 1989. Defendant had attained the rank of "co-minister" within the gang, and stayed after the meeting to talk with other members of the gang who were in positions of authority. At the post-meeting, defendant learned that a man by the name of Howard was putting out cigarettes on the faces of girls associated with the "Black Disciples." Howard was a member of the "Gangster Disciples," a rival gang. A leader of the "Black Disciples" then instructed defendant to meet a "crew" of fellow gang members and to find and shoot Howard.

After receiving information that Howard was attending a party near 65th Street and Lowe Avenue, defendant went to that area with fellow gang members Jose, DC, and one other member whose name defendant could not remember. Defendant said that he went with Jose and DC to make sure they shot Howard. Upon arriving at the building where the party was being held, defendant told the driver of the car to wait for them. Defendant, Jose, and DC then exited the car and walked toward the party. Jose and DC approached the building from one side while defendant approached from another side. Defendant saw Jose point a gun and attempt to fire, but the gun jammed so the three men returned to their car. DC then told defendant that his gun would not jam, and defendant told DC to return to the party with Jose to shoot Howard. Jose and DC then went back a second time, and according to defendant, once DC and Jose opened fire, defendant fled the scene. Defendant then went to a party and told a fellow gang member that they had taken care of "business."

JoAnn Bruce testified that she was James Hale's mother. Bruce identified People's Exhibit # 31 as the victim's obituary notice. The notice contained a picture of the victim and included information about the victim and his family. The notice also included a tribute and acknowledgment to the victim. The trial court admitted the notice into evidence and allowed it to go back with the jury during deliberations.

The defense rested without presenting evidence. The jury found defendant guilty of first degree murder and attempt first degree murder.

Initially, the State argues that defendant has waived each of his arguments on appeal by either failing to object at trial or by failing to include such an objection in a post-trial motion. See People v. Enoch, 122 Ill. 2d 176, 186, 522 N.E.2d 1124, 119 Ill. Dec. 265 (1988). We agree. However, the waiver doctrine acts as a limitation on the parties, not as a limitation on the jurisdiction of this court. Geise v. Phoenix Co., 159 Ill. 2d 507, 514, 639 N.E.2d 1273, 203 Ill. Dec. 454 (1994); West Suburban Bank v. Lattemann, 285 Ill. App. 3d 313, 318, 674 N.E.2d 149, 220 Ill. Dec. 878 (1996). We may address issues not properly preserved by the parties in order to achieve a just result and to maintain a uniform body of precedent. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 514. In the present case, we reach defendant's first two issues on appeal.

Defendant's first argument on appeal is that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on ...

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