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People v. Vasquez

February 01, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
V.
CESAR VASQUEZ,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 97--CF--1012 Honorable Philip L. DiMarzio, Judge, Presiding.

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

Defendant, Cesar Vasquez, was convicted following a jury trial of reckless homicide (720 ILCS 5/9--3(a) (West 1996)) and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11--501(a)(2) (West 1996)). He appeals, contending that he was not tried within 160 days as required by the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Speedy Trial Act) (725 ILCS 5/103--5(b) (West 1996)).

On December 1, 1996, defendant was driving a pickup truck that struck a streetlight. Oscar Anaya, a passenger in the truck, was killed. Defendant was charged by citation with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving too fast for conditions. On April 9, 1997, defendant filed a speedy trial demand on the traffic charges.

On May 1, 1997, the trial court ordered the State to provide defendant additional discovery. The State nol-prossed the traffic case and, on May 14, 1997, defendant was indicted on two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of DUI based on the December 1, 1996, incident. Defendant was arraigned on the new charges on May 29, 1997, and the cause was then continued several times.

On July 24, defendant moved to compel discovery. The State responded that it would comply with discovery "in a couple of weeks." Defense counsel stated that he would not agree to a continuance because of the speedy trial demand. The prosecutor stated that he could provide the information "as quick as the 30th of July." The court set trial for November 3. It set an August 4 date for the State to comply with discovery and scheduled a final pretrial conference for October 24.

On August 4, defense counsel told the court that the State had said that it would comply with discovery "within the next few days." The following colloquy then occurred:

"MR. SOTOMAYOR [defense counsel]: So, my suggestion is that we simply take it off the call at this point, get an October date, if it's not received by us within a short period of time I will have to motion--we will motion the case back up for that stuff, if that's agreeable with the court?

THE COURT: Mr. Sosnowski, any objection to that procedure?

MR. SOSNOWSKI [prosecutor]: No, Judge. We have discussed that, and that's what we are plan [sic] on doing.

THE COURT: All right. I note there is a final pretrial scheduled for October 24th at nine. The matter is set for trial on November 3rd.

If there are any problems, counsel, I would appreciate knowing about them well in advance of the trial date."

On October 10, 1997, defendant filed a second motion to compel discovery. At a hearing on October 17, defense counsel suggested that the case be continued to the final pretrial date, stating that he had brought the motion so the court would not think that he had waited until the last minute to bring the matter to the court's attention. The court continued the case to October 24.

At the October 24 hearing, defense counsel said that he still had not received the discovery. The court suggested that the parties meet the following week to ensure that the issue was resolved before the trial date. On October 29, the State told the trial court that it still was attempting to locate some documents and that it would be requesting a continuance of the trial date. Defense counsel stated that he would not agree to a continuance. The court took the case off the trial call and converted the November 3 trial date to a status call.

On that date, the court continued the trial date to December 1 on the State's motion, with a final pretrial set for November 21. On November 20, the State again moved for a continuance, stating that a material witness would be unavailable on December 1. The State requested that the trial be continued to December 8. Defense counsel stated that the week of December 8 was "a bad week." The court therefore continued the trial to December 15, stating that the period from December 8 to December 15 would be charged to ...


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