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People v. Williams

February 22, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
VINCENT WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FOURTH DISTRICT

Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County

No. 96CF395

Honorable John R. DeLaMar, Judge Presiding.

In September 1996, defendant, Vincent Williams, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1) (West 1996), a Class 2 felony, and the trial court sentenced him to two years' probation. In December 1997, the State filed a petition to revoke defendant's probation, alleging that defendant violated his probation by committing aggravated battery and resisting a peace officer (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(6), 31-1 (West 1996)). In March 1998, the court conducted a hearing, found in favor of the State and against defendant on the peti-tion, revoked his probation, and resentenced him to four years six months in prison.

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the evidence against him in the revocation hearing was not "clear beyond argument" and therefore the trial court erred by revoking his probation; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion by imposing a sentence greater than the minimum. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

The State's petition to revoke defendant's probation alleged that he violated a condition of his probation by committing (1) a battery against Jody Cherry, a person defendant knew to be a peace officer engaged in his lawful duties, and (2) the offense of resisting a peace officer. In January 1998, the trial court conducted a hearing on the State's petition at which Cherry and Officer Mark Huckstep testified that, on the day in question in October 1997, they were patrolling a high-crime area in a marked squad car when they saw defendant standing by the driver's window of a stopped car. Defendant had his hands in the car and was looking around "very heavily." When the patrol car approached defendant, he left on his bicycle.

The officers drove alongside defendant's bicycle and Cherry told defendant to stop. Defendant did not stop but proceeded to his house. At defendant's house, Cherry exited the car and pursued defendant into the garage on foot. Cherry caught defendant at the door connecting the garage to the house, and a struggle ensued. Cherry testified that he grabbed defendant by the left arm, and defendant swung his right arm back and then forward, striking Cherry in the head. As a result, the radio earpiece that Cherry was wearing was broken, Cherry's ear was cut, and the blow left a red mark on Cherry's face. At that point, defendant slipped out of his jacket and proceeded into the house.

Huckstep's testimony regarding the struggle in defendant's garage corroborated Cherry's description of the incident. Huckstep's view was partially blocked, and he could not see defendant punch Cherry. However, immediately afterward, Huckstep noticed that Cherry's earpiece was broken and that his ear was bleeding.

Defendant's mother testified that she resided with defendant and was in the living room when defendant rode up to the garage on his bicycle, pursued by Cherry. She testified that she saw defendant slip out of his jacket and enter the house but she did not see defendant hit Cherry.

Defendant testified that he did not hit Cherry. However, defendant did not deny that Cherry's ear was cut in the struggle. When asked how Cherry's ear got cut, defendant responded that it might have happened when he slipped out of his jacket and got away from Cherry.

After considering the evidence and arguments of counsel, the trial court found that the State had proved by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant had resisted a peace officer and had committed aggravated battery in violation of his probation conditions.

In April 1998, the trial court conducted a resentencing hearing. After reviewing the presentence report and hearing the arguments of counsel, the court revoked defendant's probation and ...


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