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People v. Long

September 29, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MARY LONG, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Nos. 98 M 4015952 & Y7-940-456 The Honorable Eugene Campion and Francis X. Golniewicz, Jr., Judges Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cohen

Defendant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting a peace officer, and two counts of battery to a peace officer. Defendant made a pretrial motion to quash her arrest which the trial court denied. The jury convicted defendant of resisting a peace officer and acquitted her of one count of battery to a peace officer. However, as the jury could not reach agreement on the other two charges, the trial court declared a mistrial as to those counts. After retrial, the new jury convicted defendant of driving under the influence of alcohol and acquitted her of the remaining count of battery to a peace officer.

The trial court then sentenced defendant to 60 days in the Cook County jail for resisting a peace officer and to a one-year conditional discharge and a $500 fine for driving under the influence. Defendant now appeals.

Initially, defendant contends that there was insufficient evidence to convict her of either resisting a peace officer or driving under the influence. Defendant also argues that her conviction for resisting a peace officer must be reversed because: (1) the trial court sent a police report to the jury that had not been admitted into evidence; (2) during voir dire the trial court erroneously denied a defense motion to strike one prospective juror for cause and improperly granted a racially motivated peremptory strike by the State; (3) in questioning a defense witness before the jury, the trial court implied that it might not be proper for that witness to testify; and (4) the trial court improperly allowed the State to question defendant about her pretrial silence.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Mary Long was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting a peace officer, and two counts of battery to a peace officer.

Hearing on the Motion to Quash

At the hearing on a motion to quash arrest, Forest Park police officer Nicholas Petrovic testified that on the night of December 14, 1998, he was on patrol in a marked police car. Petrovic, in training at the time, was accompanied by field training officer Steven Weiler. At around 2:10 a.m., a Jeep Cherokee with only one working headlight passed the officers. They started to follow the Jeep, which was driven by defendant. Petrovic and Weiler saw defendant depart at a high rate of speed from one intersection, fail to stop at a stop sign at another intersection, stop in the middle of another intersection and squeal her tires as she went around a corner. Both officers thought that defendant was driving above the speed limit but did not issue her a speeding citation. They did turn on the squad car's emergency lights and sound the air horn. After a few blocks, defendant pulled into an alley and stopped next to the building where she lived.

Petrovic approached the Jeep and asked defendant for her license and proof of insurance. According to Petrovic, defendant responded "Oh, what the fuck. Is that all you guys have to do tonight?" Petrovic observed that defendant's speech was slurred, she had bloodshot eyes and she smelled of alcohol. He asked defendant if she was intoxicated. She did not respond, so he asked again. Defendant said "Fuck you" and drove slowly to her garage entrance about 100 feet away. Officer Weiler followed defendant on foot while Officer Petrovic followed in the police cruiser.

Officer Weiler testified that as he came up to the window, defendant was fumbling through the glove compartment. She had turned up the volume of her radio so it was extremely loud and did not turn it down until Weiler had asked her three times. Weiler testified that he could smell alcohol on her breath. He asked if she had been drinking. Again defendant said "Fuck you." Weiler asked defendant to step out of the Jeep so he could perform field sobriety tests. Defendant said "No fucking way" and activated her automatic garage door opener. Defendant then tried to put the Jeep in gear, without success. She then leaned over toward the floor. Officer Weiler reached in and took the keys out of the ignition. Defendant, not realizing that Weiler had done this, continued attempting to put the Jeep in gear. Weiler told her she was under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Weiler opened the door and, when defendant again refused to exit, tried to handcuff her. Defendant struggled, scratched Weiler, and then fell out of the Jeep.

Officer Debra Taylor then arrived on the scene and took defendant to the station. At the station, defendant was placed in a holding cell. Weiler testified that while at the station, defendant refused to answer booking questions and continued to yell profanities. At one point he noticed that defendant's blouse was ripped open. It was not ripped when they had put her in the holding cell. Weiler then called Taylor over to deal with defendant. When Taylor attempted to remove defendant's belt as mandated by police procedure, defendant grabbed Taylor's hair. Weiler came over to assist Taylor and defendant kicked him in the shin. Weiler and Taylor had to carry defendant in order to get her back into the holding cell. Taylor testified at trial and her testimony concerning events at the station was substantially the same as Weiler's testimony.

Weiler further testified that Millaun Brown, defendant's boyfriend and a Chicago police officer, called the station. The officers offered defendant the opportunity to talk with Brown on the telephone, but she simply yelled something unintelligible and threw the receiver. Later that morning Brown came to the station. Brown was not allowed to see defendant at that time, however. Brown posted bond for defendant around noon. During the hearing on the motion to quash, defendant took the stand but only testified that both her headlights had been working on the night of the incident.

The judge denied the motion to quash arrest.

The First Trial

At voir dire, the prosecution used a peremptory strike to remove an African-American woman. The defense objected, charging that this was a racially motivated strike in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986). As a race-neutral reason for its strike, the prosecution noted that the woman and her family had been the victims of crimes. While there were other crime victims on the panel, this woman was alone in expressing dissatisfaction with the way the police had handled her complaints. The judge accepted this explanation as non-pretextual.

Also during voir dire, the judge denied a defense motion to strike a police officer from the panel for cause. The motion was predicated on the fact that the officer was to be a witness in an unrelated trial where the charge was driving under the influence of alcohol. The court found that the officer could be impartial.

At trial, defendant testified that she had been at the house of a friend on the evening of December 14, 1998. She did not drink anything there or on her way home. Defendant claimed that she did not violate any traffic laws on the way home and that both her headlights were working. As she was opening her garage door, Officer Weiler knocked on her window. He asked her if the Jeep belonged to her and if she lived at that building. Weiler did not ask her to submit to field sobriety tests. He asked her to show him her license and proof of insurance. As she was looking for them in her purse, Weiler reached in and took the keys from the ignition. She said "What the fuck are you doing?" Weiler then touched her breast, so she grabbed his hand and tried to remove it from her body. Weiler opened the door and pulled her out of the Jeep, telling Petrovic "This is how you treat a nigger." Weiler started to handcuff defendant and then knocked her unconscious with his flashlight. Defendant testified that she regained consciousness at the station. There, Weiler continued to push and grab her. She said that she did not learn what the charges against her were until Brown had already bailed her out the next day. When she went home she discovered that one of her headlights had been ripped out. She reported the missing headlight to the police.

On cross-examination, the State elicited that defendant did not report her alleged maltreatment at the hands of the police to a government authority or to the media. Nor did defendant speak of police maltreatment when she took the stand at the hearing on the motion to quash.

Millaun Brown testified that he went to the station on the night of defendant's arrest but that Weiler prevented him from seeing defendant. He said that when he picked defendant up the next day she did not appear to have been drinking. When defense counsel asked Brown if ...


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