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The People of the State of Illinois v. Eric Vaughn

November 23, 2011


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 07 CR 21925 The Honorable Clayton J. Crane, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lampkin

JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cahill and Garcia concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant, Eric Vaughn, was convicted of 56 counts of criminal sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual relations within families as a result of two incidents involving defendant's 14-year-old daughter, T.V. The counts were later merged into six convictions for which defendant was sentenced to a total of 30 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends: (1) the State failed to prove one of the convictions beyond a reasonable doubt where defendant's admission was not corroborated independently; (2) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant committed the acts of criminal sexual assault by the use of force or the threat of force; (3) defense counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress defendant's inculpating statements; and (4) defendant is entitled to 707 days of presentence detention credit. Based on the following, we affirm.


¶ 3 At trial, T.V. testified that she was 14 years old at the relevant time. On September 3, 2007, T.V. was visiting defendant.*fn1 They, along with T.V.'s brother and defendant's girlfriend, had been shopping for school clothes and had returned to defendant's home for a sleepover. Defendant lived with his girlfriend. At some point, T.V. went to sleep. She was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts. T.V.'s brother was also asleep in the same bed. T.V. later awoke and found defendant was between her legs with his mouth on her vagina. T.V. noticed that her shirt had been pulled up over her head and her shorts had been removed. T.V. testified that she was scared. Defendant then inserted his finger into her vagina and inserted his penis into her vagina as well. T.V. added that defendant's penis made contact with her anus.

¶ 4 The following morning, defendant asked T.V. if she liked what had occurred the prior night. T.V. refused to answer. Defendant then told T.V. that she was his special girl and that if she told anybody about the incident he would kill her. Defendant and T.V. were alone during the conversation. T.V. did not tell anyone about the incident.

¶ 5 On September 14, 2007, T.V. again spent the night at defendant's home. The purpose of the visit was for defendant to take T.V. to get contact lenses; however, thestore was closed, so they planned to have a sleepover. That night, T.V. fell asleep in the same bed as her brother, wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts. T.V. again awoke and found defendant between her legs with his mouth on her vagina. T.V. continued to lie on the bed while defendant had his mouth on her vagina for 30 minutes. T.V. testified that she was scared at the time. According to T.V., defendant penetrated her vagina and anus with his penis. T.V. did not scream; however, she squirmed and attempted to turn from defendant penetrating her, but defendant continued to "com[e] back" and "do it again." T.V. could not recall whether defendant ejaculated.

¶ 6 The following morning, T.V. returned to her mother's house and told her best friend about the incidents, adding that she was afraid to inform her mother. At approximately 11 p.m. that night, T.V. told her mother, Shaunta Douglas, about the incidents. T.V. was crying when she reported what had occurred. Douglas called the police. The officer that responded to the call advised Douglas to take T.V. to the hospital. Douglas took T.V. to Mount Sinai Hospital. While at the hospital, T.V. spoke with a nurse and a doctor, separately telling them about the incidents. T.V. was examined by the doctor.

¶ 7 Sharlene Rivera testified that she was a registered nurse who interviewed T.V. and assisted in the sexual assault examination on September 16, 2007. According to Rivera, T.V. reported that "she was raped by her father on two occasions, on September 3 and September 15," and that she was penetrated vaginally and anally and that defendant licked her vagina. Rivera assisted in performing the rape kit examination.*fn2 On cross-examination, Rivera said T.V. only stated that defendant put his penis in her vagina and licked her vagina.

¶ 8 Doctor Michael Slater examined T.V. on September 16, 2007. T.V. told Dr. Slater that defendant performed oral sex on her and inserted his penis into her vagina. Dr. Slater's physical examination did not reveal any physical injury or vaginal trauma. Dr. Slater testified that this was normal because generally there is no injury inflicted on a sexual assault victim that has engaged in intercourse prior to the attack.

¶ 9 Detective Ian Barclay was assigned to investigate the incidents. At approximately 7:45 a.m. on September 27, 2007, Barclay and his partner, Detective Morris, arrested defendant at his workplace and transported him to the 11th district police station. At approximately 8:30 a.m., defendant was advised of his Miranda rights. Defendant stated that he understood his rights. At 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., Barclay interviewed defendant. Defendant was readvised of his Miranda rights. Defendant waived his rights and provided an oral statement. Defendant said that he touched T.V.'s breast with his hand. Defendant continued that, on September 3, 2007, he penetrated T.V.'s vagina with his finger and penis and kissed her vagina with his mouth. Defendant added that the incident occurred after his girlfriend received a phone call and left their home. Defendant further said that, on September 14, 2007, he forced T.V.'s legs apart by virtue of his weight and size and kissed her vagina. On the second date at issue, defendant also penetrated T.V.'s vagina and held his arm around her. The incident lasted approximately 30 minutes. After the interview concluded, Detective Barclay called the State's Attorney's office.

¶ 10 Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Martha Kross arrived at the police station at approximately 8 p.m. on September 27, 2007. ASA Kross testified that defendant waived his Miranda rights and agreed to provide an oral statement. Defendant admitted that he fondled T.V.'s breast and vagina and attempted to put his penis into her vagina during the first incident. Defendant further admitted that he fondled T.V.'s breast and vagina, kissed her vagina, placed his finger into her vagina, and penetrated her vagina and anus with his penis during the second incident. Defendant then agreed to have his statement memorialized in writing. Defendant signed each page of the statement. Defendant instructed ASA Kross to make a number of corrections to the statement, which he then initialed.

¶ 11 Defendant's statement was read into the record. The statement related to the September 3 incident provided:

"Eric states that [his girlfriend] got a call and left the house with her daughter. Eric states that he then went into the bedroom where [T.V. and her nine-year-old brother D.V.] were. Eric states that [D.V.] was [asleep]. Eric states that [T.V.] [was] also asleep. Eric states that he laid on the bed with [T.V.] Eric states that he fondled [T.V.] on her breast under her t-shirt. Eric states that he then fondled [T.V.]'s vagina over her underwear. [Eric] then states that he pulled [T.V.'s] underwear drown [sic] and kissed on her vagina. Eric states that he got on top of [T.V.] and tried to place his penis into her vagina. He stated [he] did not get his penis all the way inside [T.V.]'s vagina because he started to feel bad about what was happening. He states he got up and left the room. Eric states that when he was still in the room, [T.V.] looked at him with a really mean look on her face, then turned her head. Eric states that [D.V.] did not wake up."

In relation to the September 14 incident, defendant's statement provided:

"Eric states that he, [T.V.] and [D.V.] were watching a movie together in the bed in the room where [T.V.] and [D.V.] were to sleep. Eric states that [D.V.] fell asleep. Eric states that [he] was laying on the side of [T.V.] with [T.V.]'s back to him. Eric states that he began to fondle [T.V.'s] breasts over and under her shirt. Eric states that he then pulled [T.V.]'s shorts down. Eric states that he pulled his penis out and placed it in the area of her butt. Eric states that [T.V.] started to squirm. Eric states that he held his arm over her body. Eric states that because [T.V.] was squirming, he turned her over. Eric states that he pulled up [T.V.'s] shirt and began to kiss her breast. Eric states that he put his finger into [T.V.'s] vagina. Eric states that he then kissed [T.V.]'s vagina. Eric states he then got on top of her and placed the head of his penis into [T.V.]'s vagina. Eric states that he felt bad again and stopped. Eric states that [T.V.] was mumbling and gave him a mean look again. Eric states that he left and went to his room. Eric states that [D.V.] did not wake up. Eric states that he took both [T.V.] and [D.V.] home on Saturday, 9/15/07. Eric states that on both occasions, he told [T.V.] not to tell anyone and to keep it a secret. Eric states that he is sorry that he did what he did to [T.V.]. Eric states that he knows that he was wrong and that he does not want to do any of these things again. Eric states that he feels really bad and knows he needs help. Eric states that he has been treated well by the police and by ASA Kross. ***. Eric states that no threats or promises had been made to him to get him to give this statement, and he was giving this statement freely and voluntarily. ***. Eric states that he was allowed to make any changes or corrections to his statement and that he put his initials by any change or correction. Eric states everything contained in the statement is true and correct."

¶ 12 After the State rested its case-in-chief, the trial court granted defendant's motion for a directed finding on seven counts,*fn3 all pertaining to contact between defendant's penis and T.V.'s anus.

¶ 13 Defendant testified that two detectives took him to the police station following his arrest on September 27, 2007. At approximately 9 a.m., one of the detectives informed him of the basis of the arrest. The detective then asked him if he wanted to talk about the situation or make a statement. Defendant testified that he told the detectives he did not want to talk to them at that time. Defendant was then placed in a holding cell for a few hours.

¶ 14 According to defendant, at about 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m., the detectives returned and asked defendant if he wanted to respond to statements made against him. Defendant was read a statement of T.V.'s accusations. Defendant testified that one of the detectives made him feel "really bad" for what had occurred. Defendant told the detective that "all of this" was because of alcohol and drug addictions. Defendant testified that one of the detectives told him that they would assist him in receiving treatment in jail. Defendant was then returned to the holding cell and told to think about making a statement. According to defendant, "I didn't know about the criminal arrest procedures and stuff at this time because this is my first time going through the, you know, questioning part being arrested."

¶ 15 At about 4 p.m., the detectives returned yet again, and defendant made a detailed statement of the events in question. Defendant testified that when he asked for help obtaining treatment the detectives told him he needed to make a statement in order to receive that help. Defendant "explained to the two detectives that everything in the charges [was] exactly true, but [he] played a majority role in it, and the majority of the charges against [him], [he] played a role in it, but everything wasn't all the way true."

¶ 16 Defendant further testified that he agreed to speak with the ASA and provide a handwritten statement. Defendant testified that some of the statement he provided to the ASA was not true. Defendant did not elaborate as to what portions of the statement were not accurate. Defendant said he did not inform the ASA that portions of the statement were not true. Defendant testified that the detectives were present when he made his statement to the ASA and they repeatedly stopped defendant during the statement when he attacked the veracity of the statement, stating, "no, well, this is what the statement is saying that you did." According to defendant, he agreed with the statement and signed it because he wanted to receive treatment.

ΒΆ 17 On cross-examination, defendant admitted he told the detectives he committed some of the crimes because it was the truth. Moreover, defendant testified that "most" of the statement taken by the ASA was true and that he made corrections to the statement. Defendant admitted that on September 3, 2007, he fondled T.V.'s breast, kissed her vagina, and inserted his finger into her vagina. Defendant initially stated that his penis did not have contact with T.V.'s vagina on that date, but later during cross-examination admitted having contact between his penis and T.V.'s vagina on September 3, 2007. Defendant, however, denied threatening T.V.'s life if she told her mother about the incident. Defendant further admitted that on September 14, 2007, he fondled T.V.'s breasts, removed T.V.'s boxer shorts, placed his head between T.V.'s legs, kissed her vagina, placed his finger in her vagina, got on top of T.V. while he had an erection, held his arm around T.V., and made contact with her vagina with his penis in an attempt to have sexual intercourse. Defendant, however, denied telling the detectives that he forced T.V.'s legs open with his weight or that he had sexual contact with ...

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