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The People of the State of Illinois v. Mary Minor

December 9, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARY MINOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. TP 082 537 The Honorable Pamela M. Leeming, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lampkin

JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice R. Gordon and Justice Garcia concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The State appeals the trial court's dismissal of the driving under the influence (DUI) case against defendant, Mary Minor, on speedy trial grounds (725 ILCS 5/103-5(b) (West 2006)). The trial court initially denied defendant's motion to dismiss the case, but granted dismissal on a motion to reconsider its original ruling. The trial court then denied the State's motion to reconsider the dismissal. On appeal, the State contends the trial court erred where defendant waived her speedy trial demand by failing to appear on a subsequent court date. Based on the following, we reverse and remand.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 Defendant was charged with DUI on November 27, 2007. Following her arrest, defendant was released on her own recognizance with bail set at $3,000. On April 21, 2009, defendant filed a speedy trial demand pursuant to section 103-5(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code). 725 ILCS 5/103/5(b) (West 2006). The case was set for trial on June 5, 2009. On June 5, 2009, defendant again filed a speedy trial demand. On that date, the case was continued on the State's motion to August 4, 2009. Defendant was in court when the continuance date was given.

¶ 4 On August 4, 2009, defendant failed to appear in court and the State answered that it was ready for trial. Defense counsel asked the court to hold defendant's case until 1 p.m. because counsel was attempting to get in contact with defendant. The court agreed, but issued a bond forfeiture warrant when defendant did not appear in the afternoon. Defendant appeared in court the next day, August 5, 2009. Defense counsel informed the court that he attempted to reach defendant twice on the telephone the previous day, but defendant did not receive the messages until after 1 p.m. because she was at a doctor's appointment. The trial court admonished defendant and quashed and recalled the warrant. The case was continued on defendant's motion until October 19, 2009.

¶ 5 On October 19, 2009, defendant again filed a speedy trial demand. The case was continued on the State's motion until January 6, 2010.

¶ 6 On January 4, 2010, defendant filed a motion to dismiss as a result of a speedy trial violation. The motion was argued on January 6, 2010. Defendant argued that January 6, 2010, was 183 days after defendant's first speedy trial demand on April 21, 2009, which violated the speedy trial statute's requirements of bringing defendant to trial within 160 days. 725 ILCS 5/103-5(b) (West 2006). The State responded that defendant waived her right to a speedy trial in relation to the April 21, 2009, demand by failing to appear in court on August 4, 2009, citing People v. Patterson, 392 Ill. App. 3d 461, 912 N.E.2d 244 (2009). The State continued that defendant's waiver caused the speedy trial term to restart on October 19, 2009, when she next demanded trial. Defendant responded, instead, that her speedy trial period was tolled from August 4, 2009, until October 19, 2009; therefore, upon filing the October 19, 2009, demand the earlier demands were included in her speedy trial period. The trial court denied defendant's motion to dismiss, relying on the "express language" of subsection (b) of the speedy trial statute. 725 ILCS 5/103-5(b) (West 2006).

¶ 7 On January 25, 2010, defendant filed a motion to reconsider. The next day, the State filed a response. On February 18, 2010, the trial court granted defendant's motion to reconsider, reversing its prior order denying defendant's motion to dismiss. In so doing, the trial court reasoned that subsection (f) of the speedy trial statute incorporated subsection (b), such that defendant's speedy trial period was "suspended" from August 4, 2009, when she failed to appear in court, until October 19, 2009, when she filed her latest speedy trial demand. The trial court, therefore, dismissed the case for want of speedy trial. The State filed a motion to reconsider citing the recent case People v. Zakarauskas, 398 Ill. App. 3d 451, 924 N.E.2d 578 (2010).

¶ 8 On March 18, 2010, the court held a hearing on the State's motion. Defendant was represented by new counsel. The trial court directly questioned defendant regarding her absence on August 4, 2009. Defendant initially blamed her prior attorney for providing the incorrect date. Defendant then explained that she could not attend one of her court dates because her husband passed away. Defendant finally explained that she mixed up the August 4, 2009, date with August 5, 2009. The court denied the State's motion to reconsider, finding the Zakarauskas case distinguishable because defendant was not a "fugitive" when she appeared one day after her scheduled trial date. Relying on the "Appellate Court First District" case, the court found important the distinction between "explained" and "unexplained" failures to appear. The trial court found that, unlike the defendant in Zakarauskas, defendant provided an explanation for her absence, and, therefore, the speedy trial period was tolled. The court affirmed the dismissal of defendant's DUI case.

¶ 9 DECISION

ΒΆ 10 The question before us is whether defendant waived her speedy trial period by her absence in court on August 4, 2009, or if the period was tolled from that date until she next demanded trial on October 19, 2009. In order to resolve this ...


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