The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Bowman
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lee County.
Honorable Martin D. Hill, Judge, Presiding.
Following a bench trial, defendant, Brenda J. Cope, was convicted of resisting or obstructing a peace officer (720 ILCS 5/31--1(a) (West 1996)). The trial court sentenced her to one year of conditional discharge and 30 hours of public service work. Defendant appeals, arguing that she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We reverse.
Andrea Kozuch testified that she was 13 years old and a resident of Nachusa Lutheran Home (Nachusa Home). She ran away on the afternoon of October 15, 1996. At 1 a.m. on October 16, she was walking around the town of Dixon. She became scared when some men in a truck began following her and asking if she wanted a ride. She met defendant when defendant was walking out of a bar. Defendant asked her what she was doing out so late, and Kozuch responded that people were following her and that she had to go to the bathroom.
Defendant was the owner of First Street Diner, which was closed at the time. Defendant took Kozuch there and let her use the bathroom. Defendant locked the door after they were inside. Kozuch watched T.V. for a while and eventually asked to leave. Defendant told her not to leave, that she should sleep there, and that they would take care of everything in the morning.
Defendant and Kozuch talked about Kozuch having run away, and Kozuch asked if she could call her mother. Defendant let her make the call, and Kozuch talked to her mother for a short while before the connection went bad. Kozuch called back and defendant got on the phone, called Kozuch's mother a liar, and said she did not treat her daughter right.
The police arrived at approximately 1:30 a.m. and tried to get in the door of the diner, but it was locked. When the police came, defendant told Kozuch that she was not going to let her go and that they would take care of it in the morning. Kozuch ate ice cream while defendant spoke to the police. Kozuch testified that she asked defendant two or three times to let her go, and defendant would not open the door.
Defendant let Kozuch sleep on a chair that folded out into a bed. Kozuch heard the police yelling into the diner at defendant, and defendant told them she and Kozuch would take care of everything in the morning. Kozuch finally left the diner shortly after 8 a.m. when an employee who was coming to work unlocked the door and let the police in.
On cross-examination, Kozuch conceded that the reason she asked to leave the restaurant was that she wanted to avoid being picked up by the police. She explained that when she asked to leave it was before the police arrived, because she wanted to find someplace else to stay. Kozuch testified that she never feared that she was in any danger from defendant. Kozuch further conceded that she was never restrained in any way and could have gone to the window to let the police know if she had been in any danger.
Kozuch denied that she ever threatened suicide that night or told defendant not to turn her over to the police. She explained that she told defendant that she had previously tried to kill herself when she was in a psychiatric ward at SwedishAmerican Hospital. She also told defendant that she felt she had been touched in an unlawful manner at the Nachusa home.
Bruce Luther of the Dixon police department testified that he was working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift on October 15-16, 1996. He received a dispatch that a runaway was at the First Street Diner. The dispatcher had received a call from the Nachusa Home. Luther went to the back door and Officer Gillfillan went to the front door. They knocked on the doors and said they were police officers but received no response. They tried both doors and found that they were locked. They had the dispatcher call the restaurant, and defendant told the dispatcher she would not open the door.
When Officer Palumbo took over for Luther, Luther went back to the station to do some paperwork. He received a call from defendant, who told him to stop harassing her. Defendant said that she needed to get some sleep and would open her business in the morning. Luther told her that they were trying to take care of a call they were handling and that she needed to turn the child over. Luther went back to the restaurant until he was relieved ...