Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 01-CF-3382 Honorable Victoria A. Rossetti, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kapala
Defendant, Ernesto D. Banuelos, appeals from his conviction of disorderly conduct (720 ILCS 5/26--1(a)(3) (West 2002)) after a trial without a jury in the circuit court of Lake County. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
On the morning of October 10, 2001, Dr. Roudell Kirkwood, principal of North Chicago Community High School, was interrupted by a staff member who informed him that a message containing a threat to blow up the school came through the school's computer network. The computer message read as follows:
"terrorist going to blow ncch wright [sic] now boom in 15 seconds."
Apparently, "ncch" is an acronym for North Chicago Community High School.
Dr. Kirkwood immediately ordered his technical staff to determine which computer generated the threat. At the same time, the fire department was dispatched to bring bomb-sniffing dogs and conduct a search of the school. Only a perimeter search was done because, in Dr. Kirkwood's judgment, no further search was necessary because the 15 seconds had passed with no explosion. Likewise, he felt it was unnecessary to evacuate the 850 students. No bomb was found. The message was a hoax. Two computers in a school classroom were identified as the sources of the threat. The teacher in that classroom quickly named defendant and Brian Bautista as the students who occupied those computers. Defendant confessed that Bautista broke into the computer network, to which students did not have access, and that defendant typed the message. Each of the terminals in the network would have received the threat.
The State charged defendant and Bautista with disorderly conduct. The section under which they were charged reads:
"(a) A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly:
(3) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to another a false alarm to the effect that a bomb or other explosive of any nature *** is concealed in such a place that its explosion or release would endanger human life, knowing at the time of such transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that such bomb *** is concealed in such place ***. " 720 ILCS 5/26--1(a)(3) (West 2002).
Defendant and Bautista were convicted after a bench trial. Defendant was sentenced to 24 months' probation and 100 hours of community service work. He filed a timely appeal.
Defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in that the State "failed to prove the element of concealment." The State carries the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the charge against the defendant. People v. Cooper, 337 Ill. App. 3d 106, 110 (2003). The relevant question is whether, after reviewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational fact finder could have found beyond a reasonable doubt the essential elements of the crime. Cooper, 337 Ill. App. 3d at 110. Here, the sufficiency of the evidence issue ...