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The People of the State of v. Donald H. Sampson

February 9, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DONALD H. SAMPSON,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court ILLINOIS, of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, Illinois Honorable Clark E. Erickson,Judge, Presiding.

Opinion filed February 9, 2011

A.D., 2011

PRESIDING JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Schmidt concurs with the judgment and opinion.

Justice Holdridge specially concurs with the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

The defendant, Donald H. Sampson, was charged by indictment with two counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12--4(b)(18) (West 2008)) and one count of resisting a correctional institution employee (720 ILCS 5/31--1(a), (a-7) (West 2008)). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. At the evidentiary hearing, the circuit court found that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct during the grand jury proceedings and thereby violated the defendant's due process rights. Thus, the court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment. On appeal, the State argues that the court's decision was erroneous. We reverse and remand.

FACTS

The information and indictment in this case alleged that the defendant hit one correctional officer in the head with his fist, bit a second correctional officer on the hand, and wrestled and struggled with a third correctional officer, which caused injury. The only witness listed on the indictment was Todd Huntley of the Kankakee County sheriff's department.

The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, which alleged, inter alia, that the State presented deceptive and inaccurate testimony at the grand jury proceedings. The defendant claimed that the State violated his due process rights because: (1) the prosecutor did not identify Huntley as a detective; (2) the prosecutor concealed the hearsay nature of Huntley's testimony; and (3) Huntley contradicted himself with regard to which hand the defendant allegedly bit.

The transcript of Huntley's testimony to the grand jury revealed that the prosecutor told the grand jury that the defendant was "charged with three felonies. One is aggravated battery for striking a correctional officer, the other is aggravated battery for biting a correctional officer, and the other one is for resisting a correctional officer." The prosecutor did not make it known to the grand jury that Huntley was a detective with the Kankakee County sheriff's department or that Huntley lacked personal knowledge of the alleged incidents. The prosecutor asked Huntley a series of leading questions that elicited "yes" responses to all but one of the questions. In this manner, Huntley testified that during an altercation in prison, the defendant punched a correctional officer in the face; that incident was also on videotape. Further, the defendant bit the hand of another correctional officer. Huntley originally stated that the defendant bit the officer's right hand, but later stated that the bite occurred on the officer's left hand. Also, Huntley testified that a third correctional officer received a cut on his right hand while trying to subdue the defendant.

At the evidentiary hearing on the defendant's motion, Huntley testified that he based his testimony before the grand jury on the statements of officers involved with the alleged incidents and a video of the alleged incidents.

The circuit court characterized the prosecutor's handling of the case before the grand jury as "sloppy." The court criticized the prosecutor's procedure of using leading questions to obtain mere "yes" responses from Huntley and the practice of presenting witnesses from multiple cases before allowing the grand jury to deliberate on multiple cases at once. Further, the court questioned the prosecutor's failures to identify Huntley to the grand jury and to disclose the hearsay nature of Huntley's testimony. After finding Huntley's testimony at the grand jury hearing to be unreliable, the court found that the State violated the defendant's due process rights at the grand jury proceedings. Accordingly, the court granted the defendant's motion. The State appealed.

ANALYSIS

On appeal, the State argues that the circuit court erred when it granted the defendant's motion ...


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