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The People of the State of Illinois v. Kody L. Price

September 16, 2011


Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County No. 10CF7 Honorable Robert M. Travers, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Turner

JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Justice Pope specially concurred, with opinion.


¶ 1 In January 2010, the State charged defendant, Kody L. Price, with one count of home invasion (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(2) (West 2008)), three counts of residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-3(a) (West 2008)), and two counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(2) (West Supp. 2009)). After a March 2010 trial, a jury found defendant guilty of all six charges. Defendant filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. At a joint hearing in April 2010, the trial court denied defendant's posttrial motion and sentenced him to concurrent prison terms of 12 years for home invasion, 8 years for each residential-burglary conviction, and 5 years for one aggravated-battery conviction (since the two aggravated-battery convictions merged).

¶ 2 Defendant appeals, asserting (1) the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of home invasion; (2) the three residential-burglary convictions and sentences must be vacated under the one-act, one-crime rule; and (3) he did not receive effective assistance of counsel because his counsel failed to assert his sentences were excessive in a post-sentencing motion. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand the cause with directions.


¶ 4 The State's home-invasion charge alleged that, on the night of January 6-7, 2010, defendant, a person not a peace officer acting in the line of duty, without authority knowingly entered David Siefert's home when defendant had reason to know that one or more persons were present therein at the time and intentionally caused injury to David Siefert, Jr., within the dwelling. The three residential-burglary charges alleged that, on the same night, defendant knowingly and without authority entered David Siefert's home with the intent to commit therein a felony (each count named a different felony). The two aggravated-battery charges asserted that, on the same night, defendant, while masked in such a manner as to conceal his identity, committed a battery, in that defendant knowingly (1) caused bodily harm to David Siefert, Jr., or (2) made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with David Siefert, Jr.

¶ 5 In March 2010, the trial court held a jury trial on the six charges. The evidence relevant to the issues on appeal is as follows. David Siefert, Sr. (hereinafter Senior), testified that, on the night of January 6-7, 2010, he lived at 710 North Mill Street in Pontiac, Illinois, with his son David Siefert, Jr. (hereinafter Junior), and Dustin Roe. Roe was not home the night of the incident. At around midnight, Senior heard the door knocker on his front door knock a couple of times. At the time, he was in the living room and looked out the window. He did not see anything and went to his bedroom to look out that window. From the bedroom window, he could see two people on the front porch in dark clothing. Senior described the lighting on the porch as one light on each side of the front door and the lights had a motion detector. With the motion detector, the lights would turn on when someone walked up to the door. As he was leaving his bedroom, Senior heard the doorbell ring. After that, Senior saw the glass screen door open, and he called 9-1-1. The two people on the porch then started kicking in the front door. In response, Senior went to Junior's bedroom and woke him up.

¶ 6 While he was in Junior's bedroom, the two men appeared in the doorway. Junior yelled at them to get out of the house. The shorter one, defendant's accomplice, asked for "stuff." Junior and the two individuals began yelling back and forth. Senior noted the two men had dark clothing, jackets with the hoods up, stocking caps, and bandanas across their faces. Eventually, a struggle ensued between Junior and the two men. Junior fell to the floor, and the two began kicking him. After Junior asked for help, Senior began fighting with the taller one, which Senior identified as defendant. Defendant tried to leave the home, and Senior was able to maintain a hold on defendant until the police arrived.

¶ 7 Junior testified that, when the two men came to his bedroom, they demanded "the stuff." He did not know what "the stuff" was. Junior could not see the men's faces because of the bandanas, "hoodies," and stocking caps. Junior also noted one of the men acted like he had something in his pocket.

¶ 8 Officer Ryan Bradshaw testified that, after the incident, he put defendant in the back of his squad car. After reading defendant his rights, Officer Bradshaw turned on the car's video and audio recorder and questioned defendant. The court admitted the recording of the interview as evidence.

¶ 9 During the interview, defendant explained the plan was to rob the people for some "weed" (cannabis). Defendant had heard they had a lot of drugs in the house. Defendant thought the people would not contact the police because they had weed. Defendant stated he thought it would be nice to rob a drug dealer. He further explained a girl named Shelly had shown him the house and wanted him to get the weed out of it. Shelly had told him she liked a person who lived there, and the person would not stop selling weed. If defendant robbed the person of the weed, the person would stop selling it.

¶ 10 At the conclusion of the trial on March 10, 2010, the jury found defendant guilty of all six charges.

¶ 11 On April 15, 2010, defendant filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, asserting, inter alia, the State's evidence was insufficient for the jury to find him guilty of home invasion because the manifest weight of the evidence showed defendant had no reason to believe any person was inside the building. The next day, the trial court held a joint hearing on the posttrial motion and sentencing. The court first denied the posttrial motion. As to sentencing, defendant presented a letter from himself and one from Ashley Church, his fiancee. After hearing the parties' arguments, the court sentenced defendant as stated. In handing down the sentences, the court found no factors in mitigation; and as to aggravation, it found defendant's conduct caused or threatened serious harm, defendant had a history of prior criminal activity, and a sentence was necessary to deter others from committing the same offenses. The court noted defendant did something terrible that "really scares people." It further stated, defendant did "not have a mental-health history or substance abuse history severe enough to justify his actions." The court also disparaged the suggestion the blame for defendant's conduct lies with his mother or the five foster homes from which he ran away. The court further highlighted the fact defendant had a problem with violence, was consistently violent, and was premeditatedly violent in this instance.

¶ 12 On April 20, 2010, defendant filed a notice of appeal in sufficient compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 606(d) (eff. Mar. 20, 2009), and thus we have jurisdiction over defendant's convictions and sentences under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 603 (eff. July 1, 1971). See People v. Lewis, 234 Ill. 2d 32, 37-39, 912 N.E.2d 1220, 1223-25 (2009) (rejecting the State's argument the reviewing court lacked jurisdiction over defendant's sentencing challenge where the nature-of-appeal line was left blank). We note defendant's amended notice of appeal that he moved for ...

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