Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 09-CF-195 Honorable John Baricevic,Judge, presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wexstten
Rule 23 order filed 2011 IL App (5th) 090663 July 27, 2011; Motion to publish granted August 17, 2011.
JUSTICE WEXSTTEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Chapman and Justice Goldenhersh concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 A St. Clair County jury found the defendant, Leon Richardson, guilty of burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2008)), and he was subsequently sentenced to serve a seven-year term of imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant argues that the State's evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the erroneous admission of hearsay testimony denied him a fair trial, and that he is entitled to an additional day of credit against his sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the defendant's conviction and grant him the additional day of credit that he seeks.
¶ 3 In No. 09-CF-195, the defendant was charged by information with two counts of burglary (counts I and II). Count I alleged that, without authority, the defendant knowingly entered Route 3 Liquors in Sauget with the intent to commit a theft therein. Count II alleged that, without authority, the defendant remained within Route 3 Liquors with the intent to commit a theft therein. In October 2009, the cause proceeded to a jury trial, where the evidence established the following.
¶ 4 Route 3 Liquors in Sauget has a large common "floor area" that is open to the public. Beyond the floor area, there is an office area in the back where cash and change are stored in a large brown safe and books of instant lottery tickets are stored in a large blue safe. On the double doors leading into the office area, there are three signs reading, "EMPLOYEES ONLY."
¶ 5 On February 18, 2009, shortly before 5 p.m., the defendant, who was not an employee of Route 3 Liquors, was observed walking out of the office area with "something in the front of his coat." He then exited the store through the front doors and drove away in a white Ford Contour. Moments later, Route 3 Liquors was advised by its security service that the silent alarm on one of the large safes in the office area had been activated. An ensuing inventory of the safes revealed that instant lottery tickets with a face value of $900 were missing from the blue one and that cash and coins in the amount of $693 were missing from the brown one. The coins, which were in a change bag in the brown safe, were rolled in clear plastic wrappings and consisted of $130 in quarters, $14 in nickels, and $2 in pennies. Most of the missing cash came from a tan cash box in the brown safe. Soon after the defendant exited Route 3 Liquors, the police arrived at the scene, and the store's general manager called the Illinois State Lottery's hotline and "reported the book numbers and ticket numbers that were stolen."
¶ 6 On February 19, 2009, the defendant tried to cash an instant lottery ticket at the Crown Food Mart in Washington Park but was denied payment. The ticket had a payout amount of $2, and after it was rejected, the defendant reclaimed it and left the store. The cashier who was on duty at the time testified that when she "scanned the ticket[,] *** the machine said contact the retailer." She further suggested that the ticket was stolen because the lottery machine displays "contact the retailer" only in cases of stolen tickets and payout amounts in excess of $600. The cashier knew the defendant because he "was a regular at the store," and she testified that she later spoke with a detective from the Sauget police department about what had occurred.
¶ 7 On February 20, 2009, the defendant was arrested at the Crown Food Mart in Washington Park after attempting to exchange rolled coins for cash. The rolled coins consisted of quarters, nickels, and pennies and were in clear plastic wrappings. The defendant's white Ford Contour was towed from the scene.
¶ 8 A security camera positioned near the entrance of Route 3 Liquors videoed the defendant entering the store shortly before 5 p.m. on February 18, 2009, and leaving approximately four minutes later. Additionally, a security camera in the backroom area videoed the defendant entering the area and looking around before approaching and opening the two large safes, neither of which were locked. While keeping a lookout, the defendant is seen removing items from both safes and putting the items in the front of his coat. The defendant's fingerprints were later found on the cash box from the brown safe and on one of the doors of the blue safe. The defendant's attempt to cash the lottery ticket in Washington Park was also caught on camera.
¶ 9 At the conclusion of the State's case in chief, defense counsel moved for a directed verdict arguing, inter alia, that the State had failed to prove that the defendant entered Route 3 Liquors with the intent to commit a theft. Counsel further suggested that if the State did not elect to proceed on only one of its counts against the defendant, the jury could possibly return a legally inconsistent verdict. In response, to "make it easier," the State withdrew count I and elected to proceed on count II only. The defendant presented no evidence in his defense.
¶ 10 In its closing argument to the jury, the State maintained that while the defendant's initial entry into Route 3 Liquors might have been authorized, he was not authorized to enter the employees-only office area of the store, where he remained with the obvious intent to commit a theft. Defense counsel countered that the defendant was a victim of mistaken identity and that, even assuming that he did commit a theft at Route 3 Liquors, he "never remained within ...