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People v. Dryden

June 08, 2004

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TOBIAS L. DRYDEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 01-CF-2710. Honorable Timothy Q. Sheldon, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Grometer

PUBLISHED

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Kane County, defendant, Tobias L. Dryden, was convicted of two counts of home invasion (720 ILCS 5/12-11 (a)(3) (West 2000)) and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1 (West 2000)). He was acquitted of two counts of armed robbery. 720 ILCS 5/18-2 (West 2000). Defendant was sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment. His sentence included a 15-year enhancement, which was triggered by his possession of a firearm during the commission of the home invasion. See 720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(3), (c) (West 2000). Defendant now appeals, raising three issues. First, he asserts that he was not proven guilty of home invasion beyond a reasonable doubt. Second, he contends that section 12-11(a)(3) and section 12-11(c) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(3), (c) (West 2000)), which together mandated the addition of 15 years to his sentence, violate the Illinois Constitution. Finally, he argues that one of his convictions of home invasion must be vacated pursuant to the one-act, one-crime rule (see People v. King, 66 Ill. 2d 551, 566 (1977)). We agree with defendant regarding his latter two contentions. Accordingly, we vacate one of defendant's home-invasion convictions and we reverse his sentence and remand for a new sentencing hearing.

I. BACKGROUND

Defendant's two convictions of home invasion stem from an incident occurring on September 23, 2001. Defendant testified that he went to the apartment of Isaac Gonzalez to purchase marijuana. He knocked on the door, and Raechel Peters, Gonzalez's girlfriend, answered. Defendant and Gonzalez went to the kitchen. Defendant added that he was nervous because he owed Gonzalez money. Defendant told Gonzalez how much marijuana he wanted. Gonzalez told defendant to show him his money. Defendant showed Gonzalez a $100 bill. Gonzalez gave defendant $20 worth of marijuana and attempted to keep the rest of the money. Defendant grabbed the $100 bill and told Gonzalez that he would settle his debt later. Defendant stated that he then attempted to leave the apartment. Gonzalez said something to a man in the living room, and they followed defendant out of the apartment.

Raechel Peters testified that, on September 23, 2001, she was watching television in her and Gonzalez's apartment. Someone knocked at the door, and Gonzalez answered. Gonzalez admitted defendant into the apartment. After defendant entered, Peters observed him do something to the door lock. Defendant then followed Gonzalez into the kitchen. After about two minutes, defendant came out of the kitchen. Peters stated that two men then entered the apartment. One of them grabbed Gonzalez by the neck and held a gun to him. Defendant was holding a silver gun. The man holding Gonzalez patted down Gonzalez's pockets, and Gonzalez stated that he had already given everything to defendant. The man attempted to pull Gonzalez into the hallway outside the apartment, but Gonzalez managed to close the door as defendant and the two other men left. Travis Young and Linda Paredes were also present in the apartment. They confirmed portions of Peters' testimony, with some minor discrepancies.

Finally, Gonzalez testified. He stated that he, Paredes, Young, and Peters were watching wrestling when he heard a knock at the door. Gonzalez answered and admitted defendant into the apartment. Gonzalez and defendant went to the kitchen. Gonzalez testified that he looked away briefly and when he looked back, defendant had a gun. Gonzalez stated that he tried to give some money to defendant. Defendant went to the apartment's door, opened it, and two other men entered. One of the men grabbed Gonzalez by the shirt and pointed a gun at his stomach. Gonzalez gave them some additional money. The men then tried to drag Gonzalez into the hall. As soon as they got out in the hall, defendant and one of the men ran away. Gonzalez managed to break free from the third man and ran back inside.

The jury convicted defendant of two counts of home invasion (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(3) (West 2000)) and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1 (West 2000)). The trial court initially sentenced defendant to 11 years' imprisonment. The State moved to vacate the sentence because it did not include a 15-year enhancement as mandated by sections 12-11(a)(3) and 12-11(c) of the Code. The trial court granted the motion and imposed a 21-year sentence. Defendant now appeals.

II. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE

Defendant first contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of home invasion. Defendant points out that, to sustain a conviction of home invasion, the State must prove that he entered the victim's dwelling "without authority." 720 ILCS 5/12-11 (a) (West 2000). The evidence showed that the victim admitted defendant into his dwelling. Defendant recognizes that the limited-authority doctrine provides an exception where, though he was admitted into the dwelling, he may still be convicted of home invasion. Specifically, the doctrine holds that where a defendant possessed a criminal intent at the time of the entry, the victim's consent to the entry is vitiated on the theory that, had the victim known the defendant's true intentions, the victim would not have allowed the entry. See, e.g., People v. Hill, 294 Ill. App. 3d 962, 973 (1998). Defendant argues that the State failed to prove that he possessed a criminal intent at the time the victim admitted him into the victim's dwelling. We disagree.

In assessing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine "whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could find the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." People v. Young, 312 Ill. App. 3d 428, 430 (2000). A criminal conviction will not be set aside unless the evidence is so unsatisfactory as to create a reasonable doubt regarding the defendant's guilt. People v. O'Neill, 272 Ill. App. 3d 178, 180 (1995). Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the State, defendant has failed to meet this standard.

Defendant challenges the jury's verdict as it pertains to whether he possessed a criminal intent when he entered the victim's home. Thus, the relevant inquiry focuses upon whether there is evidence in the record from which the jury could draw such a conclusion. Such evidence does exist. Two co-perpetrators initially waited in the hall while defendant entered. The victim's girlfriend testified that she saw defendant turn around and play with the lock on the door after he entered. Defendant's cohorts entered the apartment after defendant had been inside for a short time. From this evidence, the jury could reasonably conclude that the crime had been planned in advance. Particularly relevant here is the testimony that defendant did something with the lock on the door, from which the jury could infer that he insured that the door was unlocked so his accomplices could enter. Obviously, if the crime was planned before defendant entered the dwelling, defendant possessed the intent to commit it at the time of the entry.

Defendant also contends that the verdict cannot stand because, although the jury found him guilty of home invasion, it acquitted him of two counts of armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2 (West 2000)). Defendant contends that these acquittals amount to a finding that he did not intend to rob the victim. Defendant does not use the term, but, in essence, he is advancing an inconsistent-verdict argument. See, e.g., People v. Rhoden, 299 Ill. App. 3d 951, 957 (1998). However, verdicts of acquittal and conviction are not inconsistent where the crimes at issue involve different elements. People v. Hairston, 46 Ill. 2d 348, 362 (1970). With respect to a charge of home invasion, the limited-authority doctrine requires that defendant "possessed the intent to perform a criminal act *** at the time of entry." Hill, 294 Ill. App. 3d at 973. A robbery charge requires the State to prove a mental state of at least recklessness. People v. Jones, 149 Ill. 2d 288, 297 (1992) (holding that "either intent, knowledge or recklessness is an element of robbery even though the statutory definition of robbery does not expressly set forth a mental state"). In fact, the armed-robbery indictment charged that defendant knowingly took the victim's property. Because two different mental states were at issue in the home-invasion and armed-robbery counts, defendant cannot prevail on this argument.

Therefore, we cannot say that the evidence regarding defendant's intent at the time of the entry is so unsatisfactory as to create a reasonable doubt of his guilt. Defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed on this point. As we explain below, however, one of the ...


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