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People v. Bell

August 21, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIE BELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 00-CF-158 Honorable Kathryn E. Creswell, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kapala

Released for publication August 29, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIE BELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 00-CF-158 Honorable Kathryn E. Creswell, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kapala

PUBLISH

Following a bench trial, defendant, Willie Bell, was found guilty of unlawful failure to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (Act or Registration Act) (730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2000)). More specifically, defendant was convicted of failing to notify the proper authorities in writing within 10 days after he changed his residential address as mandated by section 6 of the Act (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2000)). Defendant appeals and contends that his conviction of unlawful failure to register as a sex offender should be reversed because (1) rape is not a sexually violent offense that required him to register under the Act and (2) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

The record reveals that in 1981, a jury found defendant guilty of rape and other offenses. Defendant was subsequently sentenced to 30 years' incarceration. On March 11, 1996, defendant was released from incarceration. On March 25, 1996, pursuant to the Act, defendant registered as a sex offender with the Du Page County sheriff's department (sheriff's department). Defendant renewed his registration as a sex offender with the sheriff's department in 1997, 1998, and in 1999. Defendant's 1999 renewal occurred on January 14, 1999. At that time, defendant reported his residence address as 2N565 N. Euclid Avenue in Glen Ellyn.

On March 17, 2000, the State charged defendant in a two-count indictment with unlawful failure to register as a sex offender in violation of section 6 of the Act (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2000)). Count I alleged that defendant failed to report in person to the sheriff's department within one year of his prior registration. Count II alleged that defendant failed to notify the sheriff's department in writing within 10 days of changing his residence address.

At trial, David Lakim, a Du Page County deputy sheriff, testified that on January 3, 2000, he was on duty and was assigned to check the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county. Based on information in defendant's sexual offender file, Lakim went to 2N565 N. Euclid Avenue in Glen Ellyn to determine whether defendant was living at that address. Jessica Fontino, a girl in her late teens, answered the door and told Lakim that her family had recently moved there and that no one by the name of Willie Bell lived there. Lakim later gave this information to the detective division of the sheriff's department.

David Sand, a detective with the sheriff's department, testified that his duties included taking the registrations and the renewal registrations of sex offenders in Du Page County. Sand was also in charge of maintaining the files of sex offenders registered in the county. On January 12, 2000, Sand received information from a sheriff's deputy indicating that defendant may have changed his address. Sand consulted the sex-offender files and determined that defendant's last known address was 2N565 N. Euclid Avenue in Glen Ellyn. Sand testified that the registration records also showed that between January 14, 1999, and January 12, 2000, defendant had not contacted the sheriff's department and that no written notice had been received from defendant indicating a change of address.

Sand subsequently spoke on the telephone with residents of 2N565 N. Euclid Avenue in Glen Ellyn. The residents told Sand that they had moved to that address on September 1, 1999. Sand then contacted the Glen Ellyn post office and was informed that defendant had not left a forwarding address with the post office. Sand also contacted Susan DiLoardo, the realtor who had sold the property at 2N565 N. Euclid Avenue, to determine whether she had any information regarding defendant's whereabouts.

When Sand arrived at work on January 31, 2000, there was a telephone message waiting for him. The caller identified himself as "Mr. Bell" and stated that he was not due to register until March and would be registering in Waukegan where he was planning to move.

Sand further testified regarding the sex-offender registration form that was completed when defendant renewed his registration as a sex offender on January 14, 1999. The form included a number of printed requirements and directions indicating that the requirements must be read to the registrant and that the registrant must initial each requirement. Above the registrant's signature on the form there is a statement that provides: "I have read and/or had read to me, the above requirements. It has been explained to me and I understand my duty to register and that failure to do so is a criminal offense." Sand testified that the form that defendant signed on January 14, 1999, showed the initials "WB" next to a ...


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