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People v. Brooks

October 7, 2002


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. No. 00-DT-122 Honorable Kimberly Dahlen, Judge, presiding.

Justices: Honorable Melissa A. Chapman, J. Honorable Gordon E. Maag, P.J., and Honorable Terrence J. Hopkins, J., Concur

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Chapman

After a second jury trial, John A. Brooks (defendant) was found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Defendant was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation, to pay a $600 fine, costs, and a $25-per-month probation fee, to attend DUI counseling, and to pay $100 for the services of his appointed assistant public defender.

Defendant now appeals from his conviction, claiming that he was denied a fair trial due to the ineffective assistance of his appointed trial counsel. The sole issue for review is whether defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm.


On March 26, 2000, defendant was arrested and charged with DUI in violation of section 11-501(a)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2000)). The court appointed an assistant public defender to represent defendant. Prior to the trial, defendant's appointed counsel filed only one pretrial discovery motion. On October 3, 2000, the jury trial commenced. After each of the parties had rested, the jurors deliberated for several hours. During its deliberations, on two separate occasions the jury indicated that it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Ultimately, the trial was declared a mistrial due to the jurors' continued inability to reach a unanimous verdict. On December 5, 2000, the case was recalled for a jury trial, and the same assistant public defender continued as defendant's appointed counsel. Prior to the December 5, 2000, jury trial, defendant's counsel did not file a single pretrial motion.

Testimony from the prosecution's witnesses indicated that, at approximately 1 a.m. on March 26, 2000, two Murphysboro police officers noticed defendant's vehicle stopped at a green light. After the traffic light turned yellow, defendant's vehicle turned left. The two officers (riding in the same squad car) followed defendant for about a mile. The officers observed defendant's vehicle swerve across the centerline, then swerve across the shoulder line, and then swerve again across the centerline. They then stopped defendant and approached his vehicle.

There were three persons in the vehicle: defendant, his wife, and their six-year-old son. The officer who approached defendant's side of the vehicle detected an odor of alcohol. The officer observed that defendant's eyes were red and watery and that his speech was slurred. Upon being asked for his driver's license, defendant appeared confused and fumbled for his license. Defendant told the police that he had consumed a few drinks earlier that evening.

The officers gave defendant a battery of field sobriety tests: (1) the horizontal-gaze-nystagmus (HGN) test, (2) the one-leg-stand test, (3) the finger-count test, and (4) the walk-and-turn test. According to the officers, defendant failed the HGN test, the one-leg-stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. Defendant had difficulty with his balance and swayed from side to side throughout the field sobriety testing. Defendant, however, did successfully perform the finger-count test.

After performing the field sobriety tests, defendant was asked to submit to breath alcohol testing by way of a portable breath test (PBT) instrument, which he refused. Defendant was then arrested and transported to the police department. He was given a citation for DUI and was asked to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police department. Defendant refused the test and was ultimately taken to the county jail. Because the officers believed that defendant's wife also may have been intoxicated-she had a strong odor of alcohol, red, watery eyes, and slurred speech and had refused a PBT-she and their son were transported from the scene by another officer.

Trial testimony revealed that defendant was a 53-year-old commercial pilot at the time of his arrest. In 1992, defendant suffered a heart attack that required triple-bypass surgery. The surgery required the removal of veins in both of defendant's legs. The removal of the veins in defendant's legs was reported to cause poor circulation, swelling, numbness, and a loss of feeling in the bottoms of his feet.

Prior to being stopped by police, defendant and his family were at a friend's house for a barbeque. They arrived at their friend's house at approximately 4 p.m. on March 25, 2000, and did not leave until approximately 12:30 a.m. on March 26, 2000. Defendant stated that he had consumed approximately four or five mixed drinks from the time he arrived until approximately 9:30 p.m., at which time he took a three-hour nap before leaving the house. Defendant was noted as having a "good buzz" before taking his nap at 9:30 p.m. but was not thought to be intoxicated at the time he left the house.

At the trial, defendant admitted to crossing the centerline of the road, but he claimed that he did so only in response to a car rapidly approaching behind him. Defendant testified that once the car behind him slowed, he realized that the vehicle was a police car and he pulled over on the shoulder of the road. Defendant denied stumbling after exiting his car. Defendant believed that he performed the walk-and-turn test as directed. Also, defendant testified that he performed poorly on the one-leg-stand test because of swelling, numbness, and a lack of feeling in his feet. Finally, defendant denied that he was asked to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station, and he claimed that it was not until he read the arresting officer's report that he became aware that he was reported to have denied such testing.

The jury found defendant guilty of DUI. Defendant filed ...

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