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12/24/97 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. EFRAIN ZAMUDIO

December 24, 1997

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EFRAIN ZAMUDIO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 94 CR 9690. Honorable James Schreier, Judge Presiding.

The Honorable Justice Cahill delivered the opinion of the court. Leavitt, P.j., and Gordon, J., concurring.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill

The Honorable Justice CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:

After a bench trial, defendant Efrain Zamudio was convicted of stalking in violation of section 12-7.3(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961. 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3(a) (West 1996). Defendant was sentenced to two years of probation and one year of home confinement on Saturday nights. He was ordered to refrain from contact with Carlos Rios and Rios' family.

Defendant makes the following arguments on appeal: (1) section 12-7.3(a) of the Criminal Code applies to innocent conduct in violation of due process; (2) the section is unconstitutionally overbroad; (3) the section is unconstitutionally vague because the term "follows" is not defined; and (4) the evidence was insufficient to sustain defendant's conviction. We affirm.

Carlos Rios testified at trial that he and defendant were friends for about four years before Rios decided to end the friendship. At about 2 p.m. on January 22, 1994, Rios was driving on State Road to Chicago Ridge Mall, where he worked as a salesperson in a clothing store. As he drove, a red Camaro approached from the opposite direction. He recognized the car as one that he had seen defendant driving before. The Camaro quickly made a U-turn and followed Rios about four blocks to a traffic light at the intersection of Ridgeland and 87th Streets. While Rios waited at the red light, defendant pulled alongside Rios' car, lowered his window, and began shouting. Rios could not hear what defendant was saying through his closed window.

Rios testified that on January 28, 1994, at 11:45 p.m., he saw defendant's car behind his car as he left a friend's house at 64th and Lawndale Streets. Rios turned left onto 63rd Street and defendant followed. When Rios increased his speed to 45 miles per hour, so did defendant. Defendant maintained a distance of two to three feet behind Rios' car. Rios stopped at a red light. Defendant pulled beside him, lowered his window and shouted at Rios. Rios could not hear what defendant said.

Rios also testified that on February 14, 1994, he took Norma Renteria to a movie. As they drove to Renteria's house after the movie, at around 9:30 p.m., Rios noticed a Cutlass Supreme with fog lights following him. Rios was unfamiliar with the car, but suspected defendant was the driver because of the way the car followed him. The car remained directly behind Rios' car and followed him to Renteria's house.

Renteria lived near the end of a dead-end street. Rios testified that he parked his car in front of Renteria's house. Defendant then parked his car so that it completely blocked Rios' car. Defendant got out of his car, walked to Rios' car, banged on the window, and said he was going to kill Rios. Rios and Renteria stayed in the car.

Rios attempted to free his car because "he was afraid and had nowhere to go." He drove forward and "tapped" defendant's car before backing into Renteria's driveway. Defendant ran to his car, retrieved a portable phone, and then "sped off." When Rios arrived home, he called the police and later went to the police station.

Renteria's testimony corroborated Rios' account of the February 14, 1994, incident.

Francis Martin Rios, Carlos Rios' mother, testified that she went to the police station on February 14, 1994. She talked to defendant in an interview room with two police officers present. Defendant pleaded with her not to press charges. Defendant said he was going to stop following Rios. Francis Rios did not believe defendant because defendant was already in violation of a court order directing defendant to stay away from Rios.

Defendant testified on his own behalf. He said that on January 22, 1994, he visited a cousin at the Chicago Ridge Mall. As he was driving home, he saw Rios' car heading toward the mall on State Road. He denied following Rios. He also denied rolling down his window and shouting at Rios.

Defendant denied seeing, following or shouting at Rios on January 28, 1994. He admitted that he saw Rios and Renteria on February 14, 1994. He claimed that he was on his way to visit a friend who lived near Renteria. He drove down the street on which Renteria lived and made a U-turn. Defendant then noticed Rios' car approaching in his rearview mirror. Rios drove his car into defendant's car. Defendant claimed that he got out of his car and tried to get Rios' insurance information, but Rios and Renteria laughed at him and ignored his request. Defendant denied threatening to kill Rios, but admitted that he hit Rios' car window and told Rios that he was going to "kick his ass." Defendant claimed that Rios' car came toward him and tapped his legs as he returned to ...


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