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The People of the State of Illinois v. Aaron S. Kazenko

July 2, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
AARON S. KAZENKO,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois Circuit No. 10-DT-2060 Honorable Joseph C. Polito, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Carter

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

Justice Holdridge concurs with the judgment and opinion.

Presiding Justice Schmidt specially concurred with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Aaron S. Kazenko, was charged by way of a traffic ticket with driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs (the DUI(a)(5) charge) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(5) (West 2010)). On the scheduled trial date, more than 160 days after defendant had filed a speedy trial demand, the State was allowed leave to file an amended information to add a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol (the DUI(a)(2) charge) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2010)) against defendant. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the DUI(a)(2) charge on speedy-trial grounds. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The State brought this interlocutory appeal to challenge the trial court's ruling. We reverse the trial court's judgment and remand this case for further proceedings.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 On December 19, 2010, defendant was charged with the original DUI(a)(5) charge in this case. The charge was brought against defendant on a uniform citation and complaint form, i.e., a traffic ticket, which was filled out by the arresting officer. The DUI(a)(5) ticket alleged that defendant was driving a motor vehicle while under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. Defendant was released from custody on bond or recognizance on the original DUI(a)(5) charge while the case was pending.

¶ 4 On December 20, 2010, defendant filed a written speedy-trial demand as to the original DUI(a)(5) charge and served notice of the demand upon the State. In court, the case was continued on two occasions and the speedy-trial period was tolled by agreement. The case was eventually set for a trial date of June 3, 2011. The speedy-trial term was tolled on the original DUI(a)(5) charge from the initial court date of February 4, 2011, to the bench trial date of June 3, 2011.

¶ 5 On June 2, 2011, the State filed an emergency motion for leave to file an amended information so that it could add a charge of DUI(a)(2) against defendant. When the case was before the trial court the following day, the State was allowed to file the amended information over defendant's objection. Defendant subsequently moved to dismiss the DUI(a)(2) charge on speedy-trial grounds. A hearing was held on the motion to dismiss. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found that the DUI(a)(2) charge was a new or additional charge for speedy-trial purposes and granted defendant's motion to dismiss the DUI(a)(2) charge on speedy-trial grounds. The State filed a certificate of impairment and brought this interlocutory appeal to challenge the trial court's ruling.

¶ 6 ANALYSIS

¶ 7 On appeal, the State argues that the trial court erred in granting the motion to dismiss the DUI(a)(2) charge on speedy-trial grounds. The State asserts that the trial court erred in finding that the speedy-trial term had been violated as to the subsequent DUI(a)(2) charge because: (1) the compulsory-joinder rule, upon which the trial court's speedy-trial determination was made, does not apply to the charges in the present case because the original DUI(a)(5) charge was brought by way of a uniform citation and complaint form; and (2) even if the compulsory-joinder rule applies in the present case, the delays attributable to defendant as to the original DUI(a)(5) charge are also attributable to defendant as to the subsequent DUI(a)(2) charge because DUI is but a single offense and the subsequent DUI(a)(5) charge was not a new and additional charge that would have caused surprise to defendant or required additional preparation.

¶ 8 Defendant argues that the trial court's grant of the motion to dismiss was proper and should be affirmed. Defendant asserts that: (1) the State forfeited the uniform-citation argument by failing to raise it in the trial court; (2) even if the uniform-citation argument is not forfeited, that rule does not apply here because the rationale for the rule is not applicable in the present case; and (3) the prior delay is not attributable to defendant on the later-filed DUI(a)(2) charge because the DUI(a)(2) charge is a new and additional charge that requires significantly different proof and gives rise to distinctly different defenses.

ΒΆ 9 In reply, the State asserts that its uniform-citation argument is not forfeited, even if it was not specifically referenced in the trial court, because: (1) the trial court's failure to follow that rule renders the trial court's dismissal order void; and (2) it is intertwined with the issue of whether defendant's speedy-trial rights were violated. In the alternative, the State asserts that this court should consider the merits of its argument, regardless of any possible forfeiture, because the issue before this court involves only a question of law, a matter of statutory construction of the compulsory-joinder ...


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