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The People of the State of Illinois v. Everett L. Howard

May 29, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EVERETT L. HOWARD,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Knox County, Illinois Circuit No. 09-CF-393 Honorable Stephen C. Mathers, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge

JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Presiding Justice Schmidt dissented, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Everett L. Howard, was convicted of aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a) (West 2008)), a Class 2 felony, and sentenced to 30 months' probation and 60 days in jail. He appeals his conviction, arguing that the evidence failed to establish that he was in a dating relationship with the victim and, therefore, his conviction should be reduced to aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(a) (West 2008)), a Class 3 felony. We agree and reduce defendant's conviction from aggravated domestic battery to aggravated battery.

¶ 15 PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHMIDT, dissenting:

¶ 16 The issue before us, as the majority concedes (supra ¶ 9), is whether after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found that the defendant and his victim have or have had a dating relationship. People v. Collins, 106

Ill. 2d 237 (1985); 725 ILCS 5/112A-3(3) (West 2008).

¶ 17 The victim testified that sometime after meeting defendant through friends, her relationship with him evolved into more than just friends, although she testified she was "not really" dating defendant. Nonetheless, there is evidence that defendant and his victim "hung out" together, drank together, played pool together, talked on the phone and spent time at each other's homes. They had sexual relations approximately 15 times, including the night of the incident. This relationship was not the "intimate friendship and intimate working relationship" referred to in People v. Young, 362 Ill. App. 3d 843, 851 (2005).

¶ 18 I am also troubled by the majority's apparent requirement that a dating relationship for the purposes of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (the Act) (750 ILCS 60/101 et seq. (West 2008)) is made to include a "shared expectation of growth." (Emphasis added.) Supra ¶ 10. I do not want to even guess what percentage of domestic relationships that requirement would exclude from coverage under the Act. It would seem that very often in a relationship expectations of growth are not mutual. Also, the majority finds it significant that defendant never sent flowers to the victim. Supra ¶ 10. Well, there goes at least another 80% of the relationships! Under the statute, the victim and the accused must have simply have or have had a dating relationship. Because I believe reasonable people could find, based on the evidence presented, that this is or was a dating relationship regardless of what the participants called it, a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. With all due respect, I submit that the majority has improperly engaged in a reweighing of the evidence.

¶ 19 I would affirm the trial court. Therefore, I respectfully dissent.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 Defendant was charged with aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a) (West 2008)), unlawful restraint (720 ILCS 5/10-3(a) (West 2008)), and domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(1) (West 2008)). The cause proceeded to a bench trial.

ΒΆ 4 At trial, the victim testified that on the night of the incident she met up with defendant and other friends at a local bar. While there, she agreed to meet defendant at his residence after they left the bar separately. At defendant's house, the victim and defendant had a couple beers and then engaged in sexual intercourse. When they were finished, defendant went to the bathroom, and when he returned to the bedroom, he was angry. He grabbed the victim by the hair and pulled her off the ...


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