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People v. George

January 14, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN E. GEORGE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 99CF1576 Honorable John R. DeLaMar, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Turner

Released for publication February 25, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN E. GEORGE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 99CF1576 Honorable John R. DeLaMar, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Turner

PUBLISHED

 After an April 2000 trial, a jury found defendant, John E. George, guilty of aggravated kidnaping (720 ILCS 5/10-2(a)(2) (West 1998)), child abduction (720 ILCS 5/10-5(b)(10) (West 1998)), false personation of a peace officer (720 ILCS 5/32-5.1 (West 1998)), obstructing justice (720 ILCS 5/31-4(a) (West 1998)), three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child (720 ILCS 5/12-14.1(a)(1) (West 1998)), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(c)(1)(i) (West 1998)). Defendant filed a posttrial motion. After a May 2000 hearing, the trial court denied defendant's motion and sentenced him to 16 years' imprisonment for aggravated kidnaping, 6 years for child abduction, 6 years for false personation of a peace officer, and 6 years for obstructing justice, all to run concurrent with each other, but consecutive to 30 years for each of the three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and 14 years for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The three predatory criminal sexual assault sentences were to run consecutive to each other and consecutive to the aggravated criminal sexual abuse sentence.- 1 -On appeal, defendant asserts (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for (a) aggravated kidnaping and (b) child abduction; (2) the trial court erred in imposing extended-term sentences for the child abduction, false personation of a peace officer, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse convictions; and (3) the consecutive sentencing provisions of sections 5-8-4(a) and 5-8-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Unified Code) (730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(a), (b) (West 1998)) violate defendant's rights to due process and trial by jury. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand with directions.

I. BACKGROUND

The victim, B.W., testified as follows. In September 1999, B.W. was having troubles with his mother and ran away from home. At the time, B.W. was 12 years old. The first night, B.W. stayed at a friend's home. The next day, as B.W. was walking past the home of Rodney and Helen Martin, defendant asked B.W. to "come here." Defendant introduced himself as Jack Stamos. B.W. and defendant began conversing, and B.W. told defendant he was looking for a place to stay. Defendant told B.W. he was a police officer with the crash team and showed B.W. a badge. Defendant then told B.W. he had radioed the police station, and the police were on their way. Defendant informed B.W. he could make it so the police would not come, but he would have to make up some sort of punishment. At that point, defendant took B.W. to the bushes on the Martins' property where defendant placed his penis on B.W.'s buttocks. Defendant told B.W. the police would not come if he did this.

B.W. and defendant spent the night at the Martins' home, sleeping on the same bed. B.W. had told Helen he had his mother's permission to spend the night at a friend's home. At one point while sleeping on the bed, defendant placed his penis in B.W.'s anus. Defendant had told B.W. he had to do it again or he would call the police.

The next day, B.W. remained in the Martins' house all day playing Nintendo. That night, defendant and B.W. slept in the Martins' car. While in the car, defendant again touched B.W.'s anus with his penis and tried to touch B.W.'s penis.

B.W. and defendant spent the next day and the third night in the bushes behind the Martins' home. Defendant again touched B.W.'s anus with his penis. When B.W. protested, defendant stated he had to figure out something to do so B.W. would not get arrested.

On the last morning, defendant informed B.W. he had adopted B.W., and they were going to go to his home in Rockford, Illinois. As defendant and B.W. were walking behind the Martins' house, a school bus went by and stopped. B.W.'s friends exited the bus and tried to get B.W. on the bus. However, B.W. did not go with the boys. Defendant came up and pushed one of the boys away. Defendant and B.W. then went to two local churches and made up stories to get some money. A pastor of one of the churches took defendant and B.W. out to eat and eventually dropped them off on the University of Illinois campus. Defendant and B.W. got on a bus. Two police officers later boarded the bus and took defendant and B.W. to the police station. When asked his name by the officers, defendant gave the name Jack Stamos.

According to Rodney Martin's testimony, at one point during B.W.'s stay at his house, a sheriff's deputy came to Rodney's house to talk to Rodney about a sleeping bag incident. The deputy was in the home for about a half an ...


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