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People v. Likar

March 29, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHARLES J. LIKAR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gordon

UNPUBLISHED

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable Daniel J. Kelley, Judge Presiding.

Following a bench trial, defendant Charles J. Likar was found guilty of criminal trespass to property and sentenced to one year of supervision. As part of his supervision, defendant was ordered to avoid contact with the complainants, complete a mental health examination and follow all treatment recommendations. On appeal, defendant contends that the order of supervision entered against him should be vacated because he was found guilty of an uncharged offense. In the alternative, defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

BACKGROUND

The record demonstrates that a complaint was filed against defendant for the offense of criminal trespass to real property in violation of section 5/21-3(a) of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 (Code). 720 ILCS 5/21-3(a) (West 2000). Although section 5/21-3(a) contains several subsections, the complaint failed to cite to any of the subsections specifically. However, the description of the offense set forth in the complaint utilized the language of 5/21-3(a)(3) (subsection (a)(3)) of the statute, and alleged that defendant "knowingly remained upon the land of Sergio Parisi, 1221 Meadowcrest, LaGrange Park, Cook County, IL., after receiving verbal notice from the owner Sergio Parisi to depart."

At trial, the evidence in this case established that, on May 13, 2000, defendant, who resided at 1209 Meadowcrest in LaGrange Park, received a letter from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) concerning a complaint he made against his neighbor, Rose Parisi (Rose), alleging that Rose was operating an "unlicenced daycare" in her home. At about 12:10 p.m., defendant walked to the Parisi's property located at 1221 Meadowcrest with the letter in hand in order to discuss the situation with the Parisis.

Sergio Parisi (Parisi), the complainant in this case, was outside mowing the lawn when defendant arrived and stood on the sidewalk in front of the Parisi residence. Parisi testified that he was wearing ear protectors and could not hear defendant, but saw that defendant was signaling that he wanted to have a conversation. Parisi told defendant, "I have nothing to say to you. Get away from me" and defendant walked back towards his house. Parisi asserted that, prior to his initial May 13, 2000, visit, defendant had been given written and verbal notice to stay off the Parisi property.

Within five minutes of his departure, defendant returned to the Parisi residence on his bicycle. Defendant was standing on the "edge" of the Parisi's driveway, "[o]n the driveway part just right in front of the sidewalk," and was holding "papers" and an envelope in his hands. Defendant stated that he needed to show the papers to Parisi, but Parisi refused to have a conversation with defendant. Specifically, Parisi told defendant, "[g]et away from me. I have nothing to say to you. If you step foot on my property, I will have you arrested" and reiterated this statement six times. Defendant did not leave the property, but instead, threw the "papers" on the Parisi's property. He then walked about "ten feet off the front driveway *** onto [the] front lawn" in order to retrieve them. Once defendant walked on the lawn, Parisi told his wife to call 911. Defendant then returned to the sidewalk, apologized for entering the property and left.

On cross-examination, defense counsel asked Parisi if defendant entered his property prior to walking onto the lawn to retrieve his papers, and Parisi testified that defendant had not. This testimony was significant because, on direct examination, Parisi asserted that defendant stood on his driveway prior to throwing the papers on the lawn. On redirect examination, however, Parisi clarified his testimony regarding this issue and twice stated that defendant was standing on the driveway during his second attempt to speak with Parisi prior to entering the lawn area.

Detective Rompa of the LaGrange Park Police Department testified that he was called to the Parisi residence on the date in question. When he arrived, he saw defendant standing in his own driveway, which was two doors down from the Parisi's house. Detective Rompa spoke to defendant and learned that defendant went to the Parisi residence earlier that day on two occasions because he wanted to show the Parisi's the DCFS letter. Defendant maintained that he stood on the public sidewalk in front of the Parisi's property during both visits until the wind blew the DCFS envelope out of his hands onto the Parisi's front lawn. Defendant then walked onto the Parisi's lawn to retrieve the DCFS envelope. Defendant admitted that, prior to entering the Parisi property, he had received a verbal warning not to enter.

Richard Mike testified that he lives at 1217 Meadowcrest. On May 13, 2000, he and Parisi were standing in their respective backyards having a conversation over the hedges. Parisi then began yelling "[g]et off my property." At that point, Mike noticed defendant, whom he could see "very clearly," standing in front of the Parisi's property on "a little corner of grass" which was located "next to the walk that goes to the front door." Mike stated that Parisi ordered defendant off his property five or six times. Mike subsequently heard Parisi tell his wife to call 911, but was not aware of defendant's whereabouts at that time.

At the close of the State's case-in-chief, defendant made a motion for a directed finding, arguing that the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant also argued that his presence on the Parisi's property was lawful under the emergency exception to the criminal trespass to property statute. See 725 ILCS 5/21-3(f) (West 2000). The trial court rejected these arguments and denied defendant's motion.

Defendant then testified on his own behalf. He explained that he went to the Parisi residence the first time on May 13, 2000, in order to tell the Parisi's that DCFS was investigating Rose's "unlicenced daycare" and that he was the individual who spurred the investigation. As he stood on the sidewalk near the Parisi's front lawn, defendant noticed that Parisi was mowing the lawn and wearing ear muffs. When he realized that Parisi would not be able to hear anything he said, he went back to his own residence.

Defendant testified that he returned to the Parisi residence approximately 15 minutes later. He saw Parisi in the rear of his house. Defendant stood on the sidewalk "three feet to the left of the driveway" and told Parisi that he would like to speak with him. When Parisi did not respond, defendant removed the DCFS letter from the envelope and held it up for Parisi to see. A gust of wind then caused defendant to drop the envelope, which no longer held the letter, and the empty envelope fluttered into the Parisi's front lawn. Defendant asserted that he made a "reflexive movement" to retrieve the envelope which brought him into the lawn as well. As soon as he retrieved the envelope, he returned to the sidewalk. During this time, Parisi was yelling, "[i]f you don't leave I am going to call the police and have you arrested *** for trespassing." Defendant reported that he apologized to Parisi for stepping onto the lawn and explained that it was an accident, but Parisi nevertheless told his wife to call 911. Defendant denied standing on Parisi's driveway and denied that he had previously been told to stay off the property prior to May 13, 2000.

At the close of evidence, the trial court determined that "the issue is whether Defendant had received notice from Mr. Parisi not to enter his land or upon his land prior to him doing so." After considering the facts of the case and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, the court found defendant guilty of criminal trespass to property because the court believed that defendant "did go onto the land with notice that he was not supposed to be there." The trial court rejected defendant's argument that his entry onto the land was lawful under the emergency exception to the statute, stating:

" I don't think there was really any reasonable belief that this *** envelope was in imminent danger of damage or destruction, and I don't believe the envelope is the type of property that the exception contemplated."

Defendant now appeals the trial court's judgment.

ANALYSIS

Found Guilty of an ...


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