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People v. Johnson

March 31, 2004


[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 02 CR 7422 Honorable Evelyn B. Clay, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hall

[8]  Following a bench trial, the defendant, Eddie Johnson, was found guilty of the offenses of home invasion (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(6) (West 2000)), residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-3(a) (West 2000)), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(c)(1)(i) (West 2000)). The trial court merged the aggravated criminal sexual abuse conviction into the residential burglary conviction and sentenced the defendant to concurrent terms of 20 years' imprisonment for home invasion and 15 years' imprisonment for residential burglary. *fn1 The defendant's motion for reconsideration of his sentence was denied.

[9]  The defendant appeals, raising the following issues on appeal; whether the trial court's consideration of improper sentencing factors requires a new sentencing hearing; whether the trial court abused its discretion in imposing the sentences in this case; whether the defendant's conviction and sentence for residential burglary must be vacated; and whether the mittimus must be corrected.

[10]   The pertinent testimony at trial revealed that the nine-year-old victim, who resided with his parents, sisters, and older brother, awakened in the middle of the night and discovered the defendant, a friend of his father's, in bed with him. The defendant rubbed his hand on the victim's butt. The defendant then got up and unscrewed a light bulb and left the room. A few minutes later, the defendant returned and rubbed his penis against the victim's butt. The defendant then left the room. The victim went downstairs and told his brother what had happened. The victim then went to tell his mother, and his brother went to tell their father.

[11]   According to the defendant, the victim's father invited him to stay at the family's residence because they were doing a job together. The defendant was sleeping on the back porch and got up during the night to use the restroom. After using the restroom, the defendant talked with the victim's brother until they heard a noise downstairs, and the brother went to investigate. After the brother returned, they continued talking until the brother left again. Then the victim's father appeared, telling the defendant to leave and that the victim's mother was calling the police. The defendant denied entering the victim's room or having any physical contact with the victim.

[12]   The victim's father denied that he gave the defendant permission to be in the family's residence the night of the incident.

[13]   The defendant's presentencing report reflected that in 1989, the defendant was convicted of robbery and was sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections. His juvenile history included aggravated battery, reckless conduct, criminal damage to property and intimidation offenses.

[14]   The presentencing report also reflected that in 1988, the defendant was extradited to Arkansas on a charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault. According to the report, the defendant initially did not recall being arrested in Arkansas. The defendant then recalled that he had been arrested but that the charge had been reduced, and he had been sentenced to five years' juvenile probation. He returned to Chicago but was never contacted by the Arkansas authorities.

[15]   At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor informed the trial court that under Arkansas law the type of juvenile charge filed against the defendant was expunged after 10 years, and he was not able to provide any further information on that charge. Defense counsel objected to any use of the Arkansas charge against the defendant. The prosecutor explained that he was not offering the evidence as a conviction but to demonstrate that the defendant had a problem.

[16]   The prosecutor requested that the trial court impose an extended-term sentence based on the fact that the "public needs to be protected from people like this, people who will jump into bed with a nine year old."

[17]   In mitigation, defense counsel pointed out that the defendant had only one felony conviction on his record and that since then, he had been employed and remained employed, even though he was seriously injured in 2000. The defendant also had the support of the family members with whom he lived.

[18]   Speaking in his own behalf, the defendant maintained that he had permission to be in the victim's residence, and he did not know why the victim's father denied knowing that the defendant was there. As for the Arkansas charge, the defendant acknowledged that he was arrested but maintained that he had not committed the offense with which he was charged.

[19]   In sentencing the defendant, the trial court noted that, since his last conviction was in 1989, there was a potential for rehabilitation. However, the trial court observed that the defendant was not showing any remorse or responsibility for his actions. As to the Arkansas charge, the trial court stated as follows:

[20]   "From your own mouth there was a situation that occurred in Arkansas, a sexual assault offense. This is what you related to the investigator of this presentence report. Somewhere along the line you lost your humanity, Mr. Johnson. And it's up to you to find yourself and find a way to be human again."

[21]   The trial court then sentenced the defendant to the concurrent sentences of 20 years' and 15 years' imprisonment but did not impose the ...

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