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The People of the State of Illinois v. Tyron L. Patrick

December 30, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
APPELLANT,
v.
TYRON L. PATRICK,
APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice Kilbride

Unpublished opinion

CHIEF JUSTICE KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The issue in this appeal is whether the trial court erred in refusing to consider the defendant's pro se posttrial motions alleging ineffective assistance of counsel because those motions were not timely filed under section 116-1(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/116-1(b) (West 2006)). We hold that the trial court was required to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the factual basis of the defendant's ineffective assistance allegations. Accordingly, we affirm the appellate court's judgment remanding this matter to the trial court for a preliminary examination of the defendant's allegations.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Defendant Tyron L. Patrick was charged by indictment in the circuit court of Lake County with reckless homicide (720 ILCS 5/9-3(a) (West 2006)) and four counts of failing to report an accident involving death or injury (625 ILCS 5/11-401(b) (West 2006)). The charges arose from a collision between two vehicles resulting in the death of one person and injuries to three others.

¶ 4 The evidence at trial established that Holly Graham was driving her vehicle with Tiara Langston in the front passenger seat. Gary Nixon and Jauqtel Foster were in the backseat of the car. Graham's car was struck by another vehicle while traveling through an intersection. Graham died as a result of the collision and her three passengers suffered severe injuries.

¶ 5 Lieutenant Richard Theis of the North Chicago police department testified that he was on patrol shortly after midnight when he saw a black car traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle failed to stop at an intersection. Theis turned around and accelerated to follow the vehicle, but he could not catch up to the black car. Theis estimated that the car was traveling approximately 80 miles per hour in a 30-miles-per-hour zone. Theis lost sight of the vehicle and called for backup. One to two minutes after he lost sight of the vehicle, the officers approached a collision between two vehicles at an intersection. Theis observed the black car stopped in the southbound lanes of the street and a white car against a tree. There were no occupants in the black car.

¶ 6 Officer Donald Florance testified that he responded to Lieutenant

Theis's call for backup. When they arrived at the scene, he observed a black Monte Carlo with no occupants and a white Mercury with three people inside. Another passenger had been thrown from the Mercury. Florance further testified that approximately two weeks prior to this incident, he observed defendant standing by a gray Cadillac. When defendant got into the Cadillac and drove away, Officer Florance followed and activated his emergency lights to make a traffic stop. Defendant began traveling 50 to 60 miles per hour in a 25-miles-per-hour zone. Florance eventually ended his pursuit when defendant accelerated to about 90 miles per hour.

¶ 7 Officer Morris Wade testified that two days after the crash, defendant called and asked what charges would be filed if he surrendered. Wade told defendant that the investigation had not been completed and he was unsure of potential charges. When Wade asked defendant if he had received medical treatment for any injuries, defendant responded that he was not injured. Defendant stated he would turn himself in, but did not identify himself as the driver of the black vehicle.

¶ 8 Sergeant Salvatore Cecala testified that he recovered blood samples from the driver-side air bag and the driver-side floor of the black Monte Carlo. Cecala opined that the blood on the air bag could have come only from the driver. Cecala found a purse on the front passenger-side floor of the vehicle containing the identification of Tarielle Walls. He also found three cell phones in the car, one on each floorboard in the front and one plugged into the back console. One of the cell phones was marked with the name "Monique." Based on his investigation, Cecala estimated that the vehicle was traveling approximately 95 miles per hour.

¶ 9 Cecala further testified that while taking a DNA sample from defendant, he noticed injuries above defendant's eyebrow, above his nose, on his shoulder, and on his back. The State presented testimony that the DNA profiles from the air bag and floorboard of the car matched defendant's DNA profile.

¶ 10 After the State rested, defendant called Tarielle Walls. Walls testified that she was at a club with her sisters, Marielle and Monique, and her cousin when she met defendant and a man named "D." She had known defendant for approximately two years, but met "D" for the first time that night. Walls testified that "D" was driving the black Monte Carlo that night, she was in the front passenger seat, and defendant was in the backseat. A white car pulled out from a stop sign and the cars collided. "D" and defendant both left the vehicle. A woman helped Walls get out of the car and she sat on the curb until police officers arrived. Walls testified that the car was traveling at the speed limit, not 90 miles per hour.

ΒΆ 11 On February 27, 2008, the jury found defendant guilty of reckless homicide, failing to report an accident involving a death, and three counts of failing to report an accident involving an injury. Defendant filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, for a new trial. On May 16, 2008, the trial court denied that motion and sentenced defendant to consecutive nine-year terms for reckless homicide and failing to report an accident involving a death. He was ...


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