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People v. Wilder

March 30, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ENOCH WILDER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 96 CR 00265 Honorable Lawrence Fox, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Greiman

Defendant Enoch Wilder (Wilder) was found guilty of first degree murder, armed robbery, and aggravated kidnaping after a jury trial. The court sentenced him to an aggregate 60-year sentence: 45 years for first degree murder, 15 years for armed robbery and 15 years for aggravated kidnaping, with the 15-year sentences concurrent to each other and consecutive to the 45-year sentence. Defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a motion to reconsider his sentence. Both motions were denied and this appeal followed. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

Prior to the start of the voir dire, defense counsel advised the court that there had been difficulty in obtaining proper trial clothing for the 450-pound defendant. He stated that the defendant's brother had intended to purchase clothes for the defendant, but lacked the funds to do so. Defense counsel requested a 30-day continuance to enable the defendant to obtain presentable clothing for trial. The prosecutor then suggested that the investigators from the public defender's office could purchase clothing for the defendant. However, the judge noted that the case had been previously set for trial, and that the clothing situation should have been resolved earlier. Accordingly, it denied defendant's motion. The defense attorney then responded that it was unconstitutional to have the defendant sit in front of a jury in a torn Department of Corrections outfit. The court reiterated that the clothing situation had not arisen unexpectedly, and that it was something that defendant had over three years to resolve. The jury selection then began.

At the conclusion of the voir dire, the defense objected that the defendant's mention of gang affiliation in his court-reported confession was prejudicial and inflammatory since the case did not involve gang membership. The confession given to Assistant State's Attorney Stephen DiNolfo read in pertinent part:

"Q: Are you in any gang?

A: Yes.

Q: What gang are you in?

A: Vice Lord.

Q: And how long have you been a Vice Lord?

A: 15 years.

Q: Do you have a nickname?

A: Yes.

Q: What is your nickname?

A: Big Murder or Woo."

The statement then described defendant's activity on the night of November 3, 1995. During that recitation, DiNolfo directed the defendant's attention to the gang memberships of the other individuals who participated in the incident:

"Q: Do you know if Nose is in a gang?

A: Yes.

Q: What gang is he in?

A: Chief of Mafia ...


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