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People v. Ruiz

March 14, 2000


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gordon

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Daniel Locallo Judge Presiding.

The defendant, Michael Ruiz, was charged with and convicted of one count of armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a) (West 1994)), two counts of attempted murder of a police officer (720 ILCS 5/8-4 (West 1994), 720 5/9-1(b)(1) (West 1994)) and two counts of attempted murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4 (West 1994), 720 ILCS 5/9-1 (West 1994)). The defendant received a sentence of 20 years for armed robbery, 30 years on each of the two attempted murder counts, and 55 years for each count of attempted murder of a police officer. Some of the sentences were to be served consecutively, and some concurrently, resulting in a total of 105 years in prison.

On appeal, the defendant argues that one of his convictions for attempted murder of a police officer must be reversed because the evidence did not establish that he knew or should have known that the victim was a police officer. Defendant further contends that the statute providing the sentencing range for his convictions of attempted murder of a police officer is void, because Public Act 88-680 violates the single subject rule of the Illinois Constitution, and therefore he must be re-sentenced on those counts. Defendant also argues that the court abused its discretion in sentencing him to 30 years on each count of attempted murder. Finally, defendant argues that the trial court erred in its determination of which sentences were to be served consecutively and which were to be served concurrently in sentencing him to a total of 105 years in prison. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the conviction for the attempted murder of James Anhalt as a police officer, reverse the sentences for the attempted murder of Anhalt as a police officer and Roy Whitmore as a police officer, affirm the sentences for the attempted murder of Anhalt as a civilian and Christopher Oliva as a civilian, and reverse the determination of which sentences were to be served consecutively.

The defendant was convicted on February 9, 1998, of armed robbery, attempted murder and attempted murder of a police officer.*fn1 The charges grew out of the defendant's robbery of the LaSalle Cragin bank, the ensuing shoot-out with police, and the defendant's flight from police. The defendant was tried before a jury, and was represented by counsel.

At trial Robert Pennington testified for the State that on September 1, 1998, he was a messenger employed by Brinks Incorporated. Around 2:23 p.m. he arrived at the LaSalle Cragin Bank located at the corner of Montrose and Austin in Chicago. He was riding in the back of the Brinks truck, and was prepared to deliver $140,000 in cash to the bank. Pennington's partner backed the truck up to the bank, and Pennington exited the rear of the truck, placed the bag of currency on a hand truck, and proceeded towards the door, where he was met by a bank security guard. As he got through the door, he heard a commotion inside, turned around, and saw a man wearing sunglasses, a bandana and a dark blue baseball cap pointing a gun at his head. The man announced that this was a robbery, grabbed the cash bag and pushed Pennington over the hand truck. A short while later, the security guard returned with the money. On cross examination it was established that Pennington did not observe the robber outside the bank after he fled, and did not hear any gunshots.

The state next called Jesus Castoza who testified that he was working as a bank security officer at the LaSalle Bank at 6000 West Montrose on September 1, 1995. Castoza testified that around 2:20 p.m. he was waiting by the door for an armored truck to deliver a bag of money. As Pennington was coming in the door, a man in a ski mask and sunglasses put a gun to Pennington's head and said "give me the goddamn money," before grabbing the money bag and running out the door into the alley. Castoza ran after him, and saw a police car pulling into the parking lot. The man did not drop his gun or the money, and a uniformed police officer announced his office and began to chase him, with Castoza following. The man began to shoot, and the police officer returned fire. The man then dropped the money and jumped into a red car which drove away. Castoza returned the money to the bank.

The State next called James Anhalt, who testified that he is a detective with the Chicago Police Department and that on September 1, 1995, at about 2:20 p.m., he was off duty and was not wearing any police identification. Anhalt was in the drive-through lane at the LaSalle Bank at Montrose and Austin when he observed a man crouched in front of him who was dressed in black and holding a revolver. The man headed toward the front door of the bank, and Anhalt observed people in the bank yelling and moving fast. Anhalt then averred that he saw a marked police car on Montrose with one uniformed officer inside (whom he later learned to be Roy Whitmore) who appeared to be calling in the robbery.

Anhalt exited his car, and heard a gunshot from the front of the bank a few seconds later. He turned around, and saw the man in black running westbound through the alley behind the bank with a bag of money. Anhalt ran westbound on Montrose parallel to the man in the alley, and heard four or more gunshots as he ran. When he reached the corner, Anhalt saw a red sports car backing up towards him on McVickers, and the man in black running southbound towards him with a gun. Anhalt ran to a parked van for cover, pulled his gun, and yelled "stop, police" at the suspect. Before he got the word "police" out, the man in black began to shoot, and Anhalt was hit by the first or second of numerous shots fired.

Anhalt declared that the bullet entered the upper right hand side of his arm, and exited by his shoulder blade in back. There are still several pieces of it lodged in his shoulder. The bullet just missed his heart and lungs, and he had to take 5 months off work to recover.

The State then called Roy Whitmore who testified that he is a Chicago Police Officer who was traveling eastbound on Montrose at around 2:20 on the afternoon in question. Officer Whitmore was in full uniform, and was driving a marked squad car. As he approached Austin Avenue, he noticed a person (later identified as the defendant, Ruiz) crouched by a pole in the parking lot of the LaSalle Cragin Bank. The defendant was wearing dark clothing, what appeared to be a bulletproof vest, and had a weapon in his hand. As Whitmore slowed down to observe, the defendant ran to the bank door, put a mask over his face, and entered the bank. Whitmore radioed for backup, and pulled his car into the bank parking lot, with a parked car between him and the bank.

Whitmore declared that before he could exit his squad car the defendant burst out of the bank with a money bag, saw him, and pointed his weapon directly at his (Whitmore's) head. Whitmore crouched down low in his car, and fired a warning shot into the air. The defendant ran towards the alley, and Whitmore gave pursuit while yelling "stop police." When the defendant reached the alley he jumped over the guardrail and ran westbound down the alley, with Officer Whitmore following. Whitmore heard three or four shots, but could not determine their origin. Whitmore continued to pursue the defendant, and heard numerous other shots. Whitmore yelled "stop, police" at the defendant, who turned towards him with the gun. Whitmore fired one shot, which hit the defendant, who then jumped into a red car which was waiting for him. The car drove off, with the defendant shooting out the window at Whitmore, who returned fire.

Whitmore averred that during the course of the shooting he felt a sharp pain to the inside of his left knee. He later determined that a bullet had struck him; however, he did not seek medical treatment until after he had attended a police roundtable meeting. After the suspect had driven off in the car, Whitmore saw a man in civilian clothes who had been shot. Whitmore did not know this man was a police officer until he identified himself as Detective Anhalt. Whitmore later identified the defendant, Ruiz, as the man who robbed the bank. He further declared that Ruiz never surrendered to him, nor did he ever drop his weapon.

Marni Morizzo testified for the State that on the evening in question at around 2:30 in the afternoon, she was walking her dog southbound on Neenah in the vicinity of Higgins. She averred that she saw a red sports car crash head on into a dark, older car. The passenger in the red car leaned out of the car, pointed a large, long barreled gun at the driver of the dark car and fired two shots.

The State then called Christopher Oliva, who testified that he was formerly a building laborer, and that on the evening in question at around 2:30 p.m. he was driving south on Neenah in his 1989 Chevy Caprice, which he averred to be in excellent condition. After he stopped at a stop sign, a red car came speeding around the corner with two people in it and smashed into his car. The passenger of the car pulled out a shotgun, aimed it directly at Oliva's face and fired twice, from about 8 to 10 feet away. Oliva ducked, floored his vehicle, and crashed into a building. He identified the shooter as the defendant in court. He declared ...

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