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People v. Washington

July 31, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DONALD LAMAR WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht delivered the opinion of the court:

IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FOURTH DISTRICT

Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 96CF420

Honorable John R. DeLaMar, Judge Presiding.

Defendant Donald Lamar Washington was convicted of residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-3 (West 1996)) after a jury trial in the circuit court of Champaign County. At the time the offense was committed, defendant was serving a sentence of mandatory supervised release for an unlawful use of weapons by a felon conviction (weapons offense). The trial court sentenced defendant to 15 years' imprisonment, to be served consecutively to the sentence for the weapons offense. Defendant appeals, arguing (1) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the trial court ordered reimbursement for appointed counsel's fees prior to any representation and without a hearing; and (3) the trial court sentenced defendant under the mistaken belief the residential burglary sentence must be served consecutively to the prior sentence. We affirm in part as modified and vacate the recoupment order and remand for a reimbursement hearing.

I. BACKGROUND

In case No. 94-CF-811, defendant was convicted of the weapons offense and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. On February 9, 1996, defendant was released from prison and began serving a one-year term of mandatory supervised release. In March 1996, defendant was charged with residential burglary.

At trial, Rochella Cooper testified she locked her tri-level house as she left at approximately 5 p.m. on March 23, 1996. As she drove away, she passed a man wearing a black ski mask and a black jacket with red and white lettering. The man waved at her. Cooper returned home at approximately 5:30 p.m. She placed a key into the lock, but the door opened easily without the key. Cooper entered her house, walked past the stairway, and noticed her bedroom light was on. She turned off that light and a person then ran across her bedroom. Cooper asked him to identify himself. The intruder responded, "I'm in your house. Someone broke in. I'm looking for them [sic]."

The man was at the top of the stairs, she was at the bottom. Defendant walked toward the stairs and Cooper "[got] a good look" at defendant's face. Defendant then ran down the stairs. Cooper ran out the front door, which was about four feet from where she had been standing. Defendant exited the back door and jumped over Cooper's fence. As he left, defendant dropped Cooper's portable telephone, which she had left on her night stand.

Cooper described the intruder as African-American, wearing black jeans and a black jacket, the same clothes she saw on the man who waved at her. The intruder was approximately 6 feet tall, was thin, and had a dark complexion. Cooper identified defendant as intruder. She did not doubt her identification of him. Defendant was not wearing the ski mask when she saw him in the house.

After Cooper called the police, she surveyed her home. The dresser drawers in her bedroom were empty, and the drawers were on her dresser. Nothing was missing from them. The rear panel of the cabinet for her videocassette recorder (VCR) had been removed. The VCR was found on a couch one floor above the room where the VCR had been. A remote control that had been next to the VCR was missing.

Cooper owned the VCR for three years. Her husband purchased it and brought it home. She was present when he opened the new box and set up the VCR. The VCR had not been loaned to anyone or been taken to be repaired.

A police officer asked Cooper to examine photographs. She did not identify anyone in those photographs. She stated an individual looked similar, but he had a wider nose than the individual in her house and his face was thinner. Defendant's picture was not in the photograph display.

On cross-examination, Cooper testified she did not view a lineup or hear a voice lineup. She did not recall if the intruder wore gloves. A light was on when Cooper entered her house. The sun was not out, but "it was light outside." Cooper saw defendant probably less than one minute. Cooper knew the State would have someone it believed to be the intruder at trial. She did not know if the VCR was a display model.

On redirect examination, Cooper said she identified defendant because he was the person she observed in her house, not because he was the only African-American male in the courtroom.

James B. Clark, a police officer for Champaign, testified he interviewed Cooper at her residence. Officer Clark observed the front door had been forced open. He searched the entertainment center, the VCR, and the cellular phone for fingerprints. Officer Clark found latent ...


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