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People v. Doll

March 12, 2007


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 04-CF-2514 Honorable Robert J. Anderson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

Following a bench trial, defendant, David A. Doll, was convicted of unlawful restraint (720 ILCS 5/10--3(a) (West 2004)) and sentenced to six years' imprisonment. Because defendant was convicted of unlawful restraint of a minor, defendant was required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (Registration Act) (730 ILCS 150/2(B)(1.5), 3(a) (West 2004)). He appeals, contending that (1) the State failed to prove him guilty of unlawful restraint beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) the Registration Act is unconstitutional as applied to him because his crime did not involve any sexual motivation or component. For the reasons stated, we affirm his conviction and uphold the constitutionality of the Registration Act as it applies to him.

Defendant was charged by indictment with child abduction (720 ILCS 5/10--5(b)(10) (West 2004)), unlawful restraint (720 ILCS 5/10--3(a) (West 2004)), and sexual exploitation of a child (720 ILCS 5/11--9.1(a--5) (West 2004)). The charges arose from an incident that occurred on June 29, 2004, at the apartment complex where defendant was employed as a janitor. On the charge of unlawful restraint, the State alleged that defendant knowingly and without legal authority detained six-year-old Tyeria L., in that he took her into a closed staircase (referred to at trial as the fire escape stairway), picked up Tyeria, and held her upside down.

At the bench trial, Tyeria was seven years old. Tyeria testified that on the day in question, she lived in an apartment with her mother and brothers. Tyeria testified that she and her friends, Jenique and Ojamei, were cheerleading for Tyeria's brother, who was playing football. After cheerleading, Tyeria and her friend T.T. saw defendant outside the apartment watering plants. Tyeria identified defendant in court. T.T. asked defendant to spray them with the hose. Defendant sprayed Tyeria and T.T.

After she finished playing, Tyeria went back into the apartment building and sat on the hallway steps inside the front entrance. She saw defendant washing the front windows in the hallway entrance. Defendant asked Tyeria if she wanted to do somersaults, but she did not respond. Tyeria stated that defendant then "grabbed" her and "took" her to the fire escape stairway. Tyeria stated that, once there, defendant "jumped me up, and then he grabbed my pants, and my pants fell down." Using a doll, Tyeria demonstrated what had occurred. Tyeria held the doll upside down by its ankles, lifted the doll up, held it at the waist, and then slid her hands up and stated that defendant "grabbed" her pants and her "pants came down" to her feet. Tyeria told defendant to put her down and he put her down. She did not cry. The prosecutor asked Tyeria to demonstrate how long defendant held her, telling her to say "start" to represent when she was first held by the ankles and to say "stop" to represent when defendant put her down. The record reflects that the demonstration took about 15 seconds. Tyeria stated that she returned to the park after defendant let her go.

Tyeria testified that she wore capri pants that day, which were loose because they were a little too big. Tyeria stated that she usually wore a belt with those pants but did not on that day. When Tyeria arrived at the park, she told her two brothers and her two cousins what had happened. Tyeria did not tell her mother about the incident until the following day.

On cross-examination, Tyeria testified that defendant pulled her into the fire escape stairway and she told defendant that she did not want to go there. When asked whether she told her mother that she had agreed to go with defendant, Tyeria responded that she did not tell her that she had agreed to go. Tyeria reiterated that her pants fell down because defendant grabbed them.

Patrick Dempsey, a police officer who investigated the incident, testified that when he asked defendant what had happened, defendant at first denied knowing anything. Later, defendant told Dempsey that he remembered a little girl asking if she could help him wash the windows. At first, defendant denied that the little girl actually washed the windows, but he later said that the little girl used a squeegee to wash the windows. When Dempsey asked defendant if he knew the girl, defendant denied having seen her before, but he later stated that he had seen her in the complex and talked to her a few times and that, possibly, he fixed her bike. When confronted about the accusation against him, defendant denied ever touching or picking up Tyeria or taking her to the fire escape stairway. Dempsey testified that defendant made a point of telling him that he liked kids and protected them. Dempsey stated that he kept telling defendant about what Tyeria had stated; that defendant picked her up, flipped her over, took her clothes off, and took her into the fire escape area. Dempsey told defendant that Tyeria was a very believable girl. At that point, defendant admitted to Dempsey that he picked up the little girl at the waist so she could wash the windows, that she moved around, and that she did flip over. After initially denying that Tyeria's top fell over her face when she flipped over, and that her pants came down to her ankles, defendant told Dempsey that, when he picked the girl up, she flipped over and her head was facing the floor and her top came down over her face, exposing her chest and back area. Defendant explained to Dempsey that he was holding Tyeria and her pants at her ankles so she would not hit the floor. Defendant stated that, after the little girl started screaming and tried to get down, he put her down and then she ran out the door.

Defendant wrote the following statement about the events, which Dempsey read to the court:

"On Monday, 6/28/04, a little girl *** had approached custodian David Doll in the foyer requesting work to wash the windows. I observed her doing the lower windows. Then she asked me to pick her up so she could wash the upper part of the window, when done I held a grasp of her coming down but she twirled upside down, by her wearing loose clothes [illegible] come down exposing her chest/underwear[,] while I grabbed hold of her ankles to prevent her from falling and being injured -- I am sorry if you thought I were [sic] (attempting) to victimize your daughter in any way[,] but I don't associate with criminal activity and for 'god' nothing as to what you may think had happened here as you listened to your daughter[']s story."

Dempsey admitted that when he spoke to Tyeria, she did not say that defendant had touched her in any sexual area. Dempsey further stated that Tyeria never told him that she had told defendant that she did not want to go to the fire escape staircase. Tyeria did not tell Dempsey that defendant grabbed her pants or pulled them down.

On redirect, Dempsey stated that, at the time he interviewed defendant, Tyeria had told Dempsey that a man came to her, grabbed her by the arm, and walked her into the fire escape stairway. Dempsey testified that his interview with defendant lasted about an hour and during that time he changed his story at least four times.

Crystalon Gardner, Tyeria's mother, testified that Tyeria had told her that she had agreed to go into the fire escape staircase with defendant; that defendant did not force her or take her to the fire escape staircase against her will. Gardner explained that the fire escape staircase is used by the tenants to exit the apartment building and to access the laundry area.

Following closing argument, the trial court found defendant not guilty of child abduction and of sexual exploitation of a child, because the court did not believe that the State had proved "the sexual gratification part by proof beyond a reasonable doubt." However, the court found defendant guilty of unlawful restraint. As to the unlawful restraint charge, the court noted that it found Tyeria's testimony to be clear, credible, and convincing. The court further stated that it believed the testimony of the officer and concluded that defendant's shifting from one position to another was evidence of a guilty conscience. The trial court further observed that, because defendant was found guilty of unlawful restraint, he was required to register as a sex offender. See 730 ILCS 150/2(B)(1.5), 3(a) (West 2004).

Defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a motion to declare the Registration Act unconstitutional, which were denied. Defendant was sentenced to an extended term of six years' imprisonment. The trial court denied his motion to reconsider his sentence. Defendant timely appeals.

Defendant first contends that the State failed to prove him guilty of unlawful restraint beyond a reasonable doubt. On review, a conviction will not be set aside on grounds of insufficient evidence unless the proof is so improbable or unsatisfactory that there remains a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt. People v. Collins, 106 Ill. 2d 237, 261 (1985). The relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the ...

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