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The People of the State of Illinois v. Ronald Patterson

June 29, 2012


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Ellen Beth Mandeltort, Judge Presiding. 09 CR 1455

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Neville

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

Presiding Justice Steele and Justice Murphy concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 The trial court entered judgment on a jury verdict finding Ronald Patterson, a minor, guilty on three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. On appeal, Patterson argues that the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (704 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq. (West 2008)), in its provision for automatic transfer of certain cases to criminal court for the prosecution of minor defendants as adults, violates the state and federal constitutions. Patterson also challenges the trial court's decision to admit into evidence a statement Patterson signed at the police station and the decision to bar evidence that the alleged victim had sexual intercourse with a different man before the doctor examined her.

¶ 2 We follow other cases upholding the constitutionality of the automatic transfer provision in the Juvenile Court Act (704 ILCS 405/5-130 (West 2008)). But we find that the trial court erred when it allowed into evidence a statement Patterson signed at the police station, because police did not attempt to contact Patterson's parents, and no concerned adult helped Patterson during questioning. We also hold that on remand, if the prosecution again presents testimony that physical findings show that the alleged victim had sexual intercourse shortly before her medical examination, the court should permit Patterson to present evidence that the alleged victim had intercourse with her boyfriend. We reverse and remand for a new trial.


¶ 4 On Sunday, December 14, 2008, after 5 p.m., E.C., who worked for Streamwood Behavioral Health Systems (SBHS), drove an SBHS van to Hinsdale to pick up Ronald Patterson, then 15 years old, at the end of Patterson's visit with his family. E.C. and Patterson returned to the SBHS facility where Patterson lived around 6:30 p.m. Once Patterson returned to his living unit, with the doors locked, E.C. told a co-worker that Patterson had raped her. E.C. and her co-worker called police, who came to SBHS and talked to E.C.. An ambulance took E.C. to a hospital where a doctor examined her and photographed her bruises and some areas of scraped skin.

¶ 5 Police arrested Patterson at the SBHS facility around 9 p.m. that evening, and took him to the Schaumburg police station. Detective Joe Kaminski interviewed E.C. at the station and then, shortly before 10 p.m., he called the director of the SBHS facility that housed Patterson, and left him a message notifying him that police intended to question Patterson about the incident with E.C. Detective Kaminski also called and left a message for Patterson's case worker shortly before 10 p.m. No officer made any attempt to contact Patterson's parents.

¶ 6 Police began questioning Patterson two minutes after Detective Kaminski left his message for Patterson's case worker. Detective Kaminski acted as the youth officer, while Detective John Atamian questioned Patterson. Initially, Patterson told Detective Atamian that E.C. said she wanted to have sex with Patterson and that he agreed. After further questioning, Patterson signed a typewritten statement. According to the statement, Patterson admitted that he forced E.C. to perform and receive oral sex, and to have vaginal intercourse with him. A grand jury charged Patterson with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, with one count for each form of contact. The Juvenile Court Act required the court to try Patterson as an adult. 705 ILCS 405/5-130(1)(a) (West 2008).

¶ 7 The court ordered a psychological evaluation of Patterson. The psychiatrist found Patterson fit for trial, legally sane at the time of the alleged offense, and able to understand Miranda warnings.

¶ 8 Patterson filed a motion to suppress his typewritten statement. At the hearing on the motion, Patterson testified that police did not read him his rights before he signed the typewritten statement. He admitted that he initialed the part of the typewritten statement that set out the Miranda rights. Detective Kaminski testified that he read Patterson his rights at 10 p.m., directly before Detective Atamian started questioning Patterson. The trial court denied the motion to suppress.

¶ 9 At trial, E.C. testified that while she was driving Patterson from Hinsdale to the SBHS facility, he grabbed her arm and told her to exit from the highway. Because he weighed much more than twice E.C.'s weight, E.C. decided to take the exit. Patterson directed E.C. to a parking lot near some empty buildings. She tried to reach her cell phone, but he slapped it out of her hand. She opened the door and tried to run, but Patterson grabbed her coat. As he got out of the van, he ripped out a global positioning device that E.C. had plugged into the van's cigarette lighter. The frayed cord fell onto the parking lot. E.C. tried to strike Patterson, but her blows had no effect. Patterson pushed E.C. against the van's side door, pinning her against the van.

¶ 10 E.C. testified that Patterson slid the door open and pushed E.C. into the van. When she tried to scramble to the door on the other side of the van, Patterson grabbed her feet and pulled her back, saying "Don't make me hurt you." He ripped off her jeans, then he pulled down his pants and choked her to get her to open her mouth. He put his penis in her mouth for perhaps 30 seconds. He pushed her legs apart and put his tongue in her vagina. He then shoved his penis into her vagina for 30 seconds. When he pulled out, without ejaculating, he laid on top of E.C., hugged her and told her he loved her. They dressed and got out of the van, and they found E.C.'s cell phone in the parking lot. E.C. then drove back to the SBHS facility. When she returned to the parking lot later that night with a police officer, they found the cord that had been ripped from E.C.'s global positioning device.

¶ 11 An officer took pictures, admitted into evidence, showing the cord in the parking lot and the van's door with an area that showed cloth had rubbed against the side door. The officer who talked with E.C. at SBHS testified that she saw a red mark on E.C.'s neck, but she did not make any reference to that mark in her report. Pictures of E.C. taken at the hospital show some fresh scrapes, bruises, and redness, but her throat had, at most, a very slight discoloration.

¶ 12 The doctor who examined E.C. on December 14 testified that he found several bruises on E.C.'s arms and hip. He did not note any marks on E.C.'s neck. He swabbed her vagina. The parties stipulated that laboratory tests of the swab did not contain any of Patterson's DNA. The doctor testified that he used a speculum to look into E.C.'s vagina, and he found redness on the cervix consistent with recent sexual intercourse.

¶ 13 Patterson sought to introduce evidence that the swab taken from E.C.'s vagina included semen with DNA from E.C.'s boyfriend. Defense counsel explained that he needed to rebut the inference that the reddened cervix showed that E.C. had intercourse with Patterson, when intercourse with her boyfriend could have produced the same effect. The trial court held that the rape shield law barred the evidence. 725 ILCS 5/115-7(a) (West 2008).

ΒΆ 14 Detective Atamian read to the jury the typewritten statement Patterson signed. The statement corroborated ...

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