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People v. Crawford

March 20, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
LINDA M. CRAWFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 00CF1685 Honorable John K. Greanias, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Released for publication March 24, 2003.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
LINDA M. CRAWFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 00CF1685 Honorable John K. Greanias, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Publish

Defendant, Linda M. Crawford, was charged with harassment of a witness pursuant to section 32-4a(a)(2) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/32-4a(a)(2) (West 2000)) and convicted after a bench trial. The trial court sentenced her to 24 months' probation. Defendant appeals, contending the State failed to prove she harassed anyone who was a witness, or who might have been expected to serve as a witness, in a pending legal proceeding. We disagree and affirm.

The facts are not in dispute. A 14-year-old girl, Stevie M., awoke on October 14, 2000, believing someone was in her bed. She felt an object enter her vagina. She rolled away and turned and saw David Crawford leaving her bedroom.

Two days later she reported the sexual assault to her mother, Sherry. Sometime later during the month of October, Sherry accompanied her daughter, Stevie M., to the police station, where Stevie M. made a complaint about the incident to a City of Decatur police officer, Jeremy Welker. On November 9, 2000, David Crawford learned from the police Stevie M. had made a complaint against him for the sexual assault.

On that same date, he told the defendant, who is his sister, and other family members about the complaint. Thereafter, on the same date, defendant and Nicole McKinnon went to Sherry's residence, where defendant threatened physical harm to Sherry if she did not stop talking about the incident. Defendant later admitted to Officer Welker that she told Sherry to keep her mouth shut about the investigation of David Crawford, stating, "If it was your brother, you would try to get them to keep their mouth shut too."

There were disputes at trial about what was said and whether Sherry would fit the definition of "a witness," given that Stevie M. was the complainant. However, the trial court resolved the factual disputes, applied the statute, and concluded (1) the State proved defendant communicated a threat to Sherry, (2) the threat was directly related to the charges pending against defendant's brother, and (3) as the mother of a 14-year-old who has made a complaint of molestation, Sherry might well be a witness.

On appeal, defendant abandons the arguments made to the trial court and essentially acquiesces in the trial court's assessment of the evidence. The issue now presented-for the first time-is whether an essential element of the statute was proved-that is, was a legal proceeding pending?

When defendant made the threat to Sherry, David Crawford had been interviewed by the police, but he had not been arrested. He was first charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault by indictment on November ...


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