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People v. Jacobs

October 07, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
V.
CHAD A. JACOBS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Knox County, Illinois No. 98--CF--108 Honorable James B. Stewart Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Holdridge

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the Opinion of the court:

Defendant, Chad A. Jacobs, appeals an order from the Circuit Court of Knox County adjudging him guilty of criminal damage to property (720 ILCS 5/21--1(1)(a) (West 1998)). He claims that the trial Judge should have appointed a new attorney to represent him on two occasions: (1) during the hearing on his motion for a new trial when he alleged that his attorney had rendered ineffective assistance of counsel; and (2) during his sentencing hearing when he alleged that his attorney had instructed him to lie while testifying at trial. We affirm the circuit court's judgment.

FACTS

Defendant was charged with the offense of criminal damage to property (720 ILCS 5/21--1(1)(a) (West 1998)) belonging to a municipal golf course in Galesburg. The circuit court appointed public defender James Harrell to represent him. He made his initial court appearances, and waived his right to a jury trial, before Judge Stephen Evans. The circuit court subsequently assigned his case to Judge James Stewart for a bench trial. Assistant Public Defender Melidis appeared with defendant on the trial date and obtained a continuance. Harrell then appeared with defendant on the continuance date and Judge Stewart conducted a bench trial that day.

I. Trial

Officer Terry Boynton testified that on February 19, 1998, he discovered two golf carts in a gully while patrolling the Lake Storey area of Galesburg. He noticed a whiskey bottle in the first cart and a portable stereo playing music in the second cart. The second cart also had a bicycle hooked to its rear bars where golf bags are normally attached. The cart was on a narrow bridge and the bicycle was wedged between two posts at the entrance to the bridge. The frame of the bicycle was bent. Officer Boynton left the gully for no more than three minutes to survey the area. When he returned, the whiskey bottle was missing from the first cart. He had to enlist another officer to help him pry the bicycle from between the posts before they could move the second cart off the bridge. The officers identified David Skene as the owner of the bicycle and discovered that he had loaned it to defendant.

Officer Boynton later spoke with defendant at the police station. Defendant claimed that he did not know how the golf carts got to Lake Storey and that he simply came across them while riding bicycles with a friend. He identified his friend as Jason Fahland. He said they were carrying their bicycles across the bridge when one of them yelled "cops." At that point, he said Fahland dropped his bicycle on the second golf cart and they ran. After further interrogation by another officer, defendant apologized to Officer Boynton for lying about "taking the golf carts and the damage he'd done."

Officer Dennis Shepherd testified that he interviewed defendant at the police station on February 19, 1998. During their interview, defendant said he and Fahland had been drinking whiskey and rode their bicycles to the golf course. They began "messing around" with some golf carts and got two of them started. Defendant said he told Fahland, "[i]t's not a real good idea." They subsequently drove the carts "out onto the greens, started racing on the golf course and at least drove through one fence." Then they drove the carts over to Lake Storey and got one of them stuck on a bridge.

Officer Jesse Perez testified regarding photographs he took of the damage at the golf course. The photographs showed tracks indicating that carts had been driven in the fairway and green areas. They also showed damage to several battery chargers, carts, wooden posts along a cart path, and a wooden fence.

Robert Davison (Superintendent of Parks for the City of Galesburg) testified that the damage to the golf course amounted to $548. He also testified that "[t]here was a lot more damage done to the carts and the cart areas," although he did not provide a monetary estimate of this damage.

Defendant testified that he and Fahland rode bicycles to the golf course on the night in question. He was wearing a backpack containing his portable stereo. He had consumed almost a full bottle of whiskey and was intoxicated. He said Fahland began "messing with one of the golf carts" trying to get it started. He also said he mentioned to Fahland that they should leave the area. Fahland eventually started the cart, put his bicycle *fn1 on it, and drove toward the golf course. Defendant then jumped on another cart and started it. He put his bicycle on the cart and drove off after Fahland. He testified that he only took the cart to catch Fahland and make him stop.

Fahland drove to Lake Story where he tried to cross a bridge and got his bicycle lodged between two posts. Defendant tried to help him free the bicycle, but they saw a spotlight and fled. Defendant hid in the woods and was later arrested when he rode away on his bicycle. He testified that he did not have a bottle of whiskey in the golf cart he was driving ...


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