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People v. Jones

March 13, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ANTHONY R. JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 00-CF-2213 Honorable Ann Brackley Jorgensen, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Callum

Released for publication March 18, 2003.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ANTHONY R. JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 00-CF-2213 Honorable Ann Brackley Jorgensen, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Callum

PUBLISH

Following a jury trial, defendant, Anthony R. Jones, was convicted of, inter alia, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) (West 2000)). He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment. He appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress a statement; (2) the prosecutor's closing argument improperly highlighted defendant's failure to testify; (3) the court erred in admitting irrelevant evidence and evidence of unrelated criminal activity; and (4) defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We affirm.

I. FACTS

Defendant was charged with driving while his license was suspended (625 ILCS 5/6--303(a) (West 2000)), two counts of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24--1.1(a) (West 2000)), and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

In his motion to suppress, defendant alleged as follows. On August 28, 2000, he was arrested for driving while his license was suspended. He was handcuffed and placed in a police car as the police searched the vehicle that he was driving. The police found a loaded handgun in the glove box. An officer told defendant that he had found a handgun in the vehicle, and defendant replied, "Why did you go into the locked glove box?" Defendant's statement was the product of a custodial interrogation. Because defendant had not received Miranda warnings (see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966)), his statement required suppression.

At a hearing on the motion, the only witness was William Greenaberg, a Darien police officer. He testified that on August 28, 2000, about 2:42 a.m., he saw a white Ford Probe lacking a rear registration. He effected a traffic stop, and defendant, the driver, was alone in the Probe. Greenaberg asked defendant to produce his driver's license and insurance card. Defendant "shuffled some papers that were on the passenger's seat" and said that he could not find them. Defendant gave his name, and Greenaberg found that his license was suspended. Greenaberg arrested defendant and told him that his car would be towed. Defendant "asked numerous times to keep the keys to the car" and said that he could have someone pick it up. Greenaberg rejected that option, handcuffed defendant, and placed him in the back of his squad car.

Greenaberg testified that he and an Officer Foster inventoried the Probe. Foster used the ignition key to unlock the glove box and found a loaded handgun therein. Under the gun was a receipt dated August 19, 2000, with defendant's name. Greenaberg told defendant that he had "located a handgun in the car." Greenaberg's purpose in so stating was simply to advise defendant of what he had found. In response, defendant asked why Greenaberg "went into a locked glove box without a search warrant." At no point was defendant advised of his Miranda rights.

The court ruled that, although defendant was in custody, Greenaberg's statement that he had found a gun was not interrogative. Thus, despite the absence of Miranda warnings, the court determined that defendant's response was admissible.

At trial, the State first called Greenaberg, who testified as he did at the motion hearing but added the following details. He took five seconds to stop his vehicle and walk to the side of the Probe. As he approached, he did not lose sight of defendant's head and did not detect any movement. He could not see the glove box. When he got to the side of the Probe, defendant's belt was unfastened and his pants were unbuttoned and unzipped. The key was in the ignition, but the vehicle's engine was off. When Greenaberg asked for defendant's license and insurance card, defendant said that the insurance card would be with Vince Williams, the owner of the car. Williams' name was on a valid temporary registration on the windshield. In looking for his license, defendant did not open the glove box. When Foster first saw the gun, nothing was on top of it. The barrel of the gun was pointing at the passenger side of the car, and the grip was pointing at the passenger seat. No fingerprints were found on the gun. The glove box was not checked for prints.

The State next called Mark Reid, who testified that he was in the narcotics unit of the Joliet police department. At a sidebar, defendant objected, asserting that Reid's testimony was irrelevant and would "raise a suspicion of additional crimes." The court overruled the objection. Reid testified as follows. On November 8, 2000, he and other officers were at a Joliet residence. Defendant was one of two adults in the house. Outside the house were a Cadillac and a white Ford Probe. In a bedroom, Reid found defendant's Illinois identification card and a set of keys.

Patrick Cardwell, a Joliet police officer, testified that he was at the residence with Reid and 5 to 10 other officers. Defendant moved for a mistrial, which the court denied. Cardwell testified that Reid gave him the keys from the bedroom and that Cardwell used one to access the Probe, which was going to be towed. None of the keys accessed the Cadillac. Cardwell had gotten permission to search both vehicles, but it was not defendant who consented to a search of the Probe. Defendant said that Williams owned the Cadillac but did not say who owned the Probe.

The parties stipulated that defendant had been convicted of a felony and had never been issued a firearm owner's identification card. The State rested, and the court denied defendant's motion for a directed verdict. Defendant presented no evidence.

The court instructed the jury. During his closing argument, the prosecutor made six references to the evidence as "uncontradicted" or ...


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