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People v. Washington

January 10, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JASON WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 99CM1748 Honorable Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Released for publication February 14, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JASON WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 99CM1748 Honorable Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

PUBLISHED

 Following a bench trial, defendant, Jason Washington, was found guilty of criminal trespass to real property and sentenced to 12 months of conditional discharge. Defendant appeals his conviction, contending the trial court erred in finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when the State failed to produce any evidence to disprove his affirmative defense of invitation. We reverse and remand with directions.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 27, 1999, defendant, Jason Washington, was arrested and charged with criminal trespass to real property. 720 ILCS 5/21-3(a) (West 1998). After a March 15, 2000, bench trial, defendant was found guilty. The subject property, a two-building apartment complex, was owned by Richard Friede. Friede was aware of a loitering problem on the premises, so he gave the police a list of tenants and authorized them to issue trespass warning notices to people found on the premises who were not listed as tenants. Friede also posted a general "no trespassing" sign on the premises.

At defendant's trial, Officer Steve Jostes testified that on October 12, 1999, he went to the apartment building concerning an unrelated matter. He saw defendant on the premises and attempted to issue him a written private property trespass warning, but defendant refused to sign it.

Richard Friede testified he was not present when defendant was arrested, had never spoken to defendant, and while he did not give defendant permission to be on the premises, he did not specifically ban him from the premises. Friede said defendant was not listed on any of the leases and, to his knowledge, defendant had no right to be there. Friede told the police "that anybody loitering on the properties was supposed to be told to leave; and if they didn't or they had recurring problems with us, then take additional action." Friede also acknowledged, however, his tenants were allowed to have visitors, and the "no trespassing" sign did not apply to relatives of tenants "as long as they were there with the tenant." Finally, Friede testified Darlene Matthews was a tenant at the apartment complex.

Officer Chris Hale testified that on November 27, 1999, he went to the subject property, where in addition to the defendant, he saw Kioshe McGowan and several other people standing on the front porch. Everyone except McGowan scattered when they saw the police car. Hale arrested McGowan, and during the arrest, defendant came back to the area. Hale then arrested defendant. Hale called dispatch, where he learned defendant received a trespass warning form for that residence about a month earlier. He did not recall whether he was told defendant had relatives living at the apartment complex. After Hale's testimony, the State entered the trespass warning form into evidence and rested.

Defendant testified Darlene Matthews, his aunt, lived in one of the buildings at the complex, and his grandmother, Emma Jean Patton or Emma Jean Matthews, lived in the other building. Defendant lived around the corner from the apartments and visited the apartment complex almost every day. Defendant admitted he talked to Officer Jostes during a traffic stop at another location but denied receiving any kind of trespass warning.

Defendant stated on November 27, 1999, he was on the porch of the apartment because Darlene's 14-year-old daughter, defendant's cousin, called him up to the porch where they had a conversation. Defendant only knew his cousin by her nickname, "Woo." Defendant stated there were four or five others on the porch aside from himself and McGowan. When officer Hale drove up, everyone ran from the porch except for defendant and his cousin. Defendant said McGowan soon returned to the apartment and they were both arrested. When defendant ...


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