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People v. Willard

March 03, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSEPH MICHAEL WILLARD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lee County.

No. 95--CF--107

Honorable John E. Payne, Judge, Presiding.

Defendant appeals from his convictions of burglary (720 ILCS 5/19--1(a) (West 1994)) and contributing to the delinquency of a child (720 ILCS 130/2a (West 1994)). We affirm.

On or about June 17, 1995, a building owned by Ethan Olar and located at Routes 27 and 30 in Dixon, was broken into, and tools, compact disks, and a compact disk player were taken. Several days later, defendant was arrested while attempting to sell the stolen tools in Clinton, Iowa. Also taken into custody at the time was K.B., who was 16 years old. K.B. was charged with residential burglary in a juvenile petition; however, this charge was dropped after she testified at defendant's trial. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of both charges and was sentenced to serve 7 years in the Department of Corrections for burglary and 364 days, concurrently, for contributing to the delinquency of a child. Defendant's motion for a new trial and/or sentence reduction was denied. This appeal followed.

Defendant first contends that he was not proved guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt. According to defendant, the evidence at trial established that he entered a dwelling in violation of the residential burglary statute (720 ILCS 5/19--3(a) (West 1994)) and, therefore, he could not have committed the offense of burglary. We disagree.

The standard of review on a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Borgen, 282 Ill. App. 3d 116, 119 (1996). This standard does not allow the reviewing court to substitute its judgment for that of the trier of fact on questions involving credibility of witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Borgen, 282 Ill. App. 3d at 119. However, this court does have a duty to set aside a conviction when the evidence raises a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt. Borgen, 282 Ill. App. 3d at 119.

Burglary is defined in section 19--1(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 as follows:

"A person commits burglary when without authority he knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle as defined in The Illinois Vehicle Code, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft. This offense shall not include the offenses set out in Section 4--102 of The Illinois Vehicle Code, nor the offense of residential burglary as defined in Section 19--3 hereof." 720 ILCS 5/19--1(a) (West 1994).

Residential burglary is defined as follows:

"A person commits residential burglary who knowingly and without authority enters the dwelling place of another with the intent to commit therein a felony or theft." 720 ILCS 5/19--3(a) (West 1994).

For purposes of the residential burglary statute, a dwelling is defined as "a house, apartment, mobile home, trailer, or other living quarters in which at the time of the alleged offense the owners or occupants actually reside or in their absence intend within a reasonable period of time to reside." 720 ILCS 5/2--6(b) (West 1994). Our supreme court has held that these offenses are mutually exclusive, in that residential burglary can be committed only in a dwelling, whereas burglary cannot be committed in a dwelling. See People v. Childress, 158 Ill. 2d 275, 302 (1994).

Ethan Olar was the owner of the building that defendant entered to take the tools, CDs, and CD player. Olar testified that the building had originally been a six-unit motel or hotel. Late in May 1995, he purchased the land on which the building and another structure stood. He planned to rehab the building into four residential units and a laundry room plus a residence for himself. Olar did not live in the building until approximately the middle of September 1995. As of June 16, 1995, no one lived in the building. On that date, much of the drywall inside had been taken down. One could ...


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