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The People of the State of Illinois v. Rickey Black

July 31, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RICKEY BLACK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09 CR 20278 The Honorable Thomas V. Gainer, Jr., Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Harris

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

Justices Cunningham and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Rickey Black, appeals his conviction after a bench trial of being an armed habitual criminal and his sentence of seven years' imprisonment. On appeal, he contends (1) the statute that makes being an armed habitual criminal a criminal offense violates his constitutional right to bear arms; (2) his conviction violates the ex post facto clauses of the Illinois and United States Constitutions because one of his qualifying offenses occurred before the effective date of the armed habitual criminal statute; and (3) his fines, fees, and costs should be reduced by $335. For the reasons that follow, we affirm Black's conviction and sentence but reduce the fines, fees, and costs assessed to him by $335.

¶ 2 JURISDICTION

¶ 3 The trial court sentenced Black on December 2, 2010, and he filed a timely notice of appeal on December 2, 2010. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to article VI, section 6, of the Illinois Constitution and Illinois Supreme Court Rules 603 and 606, governing appeals from a final judgment of conviction in a criminal case entered below. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6; Ill. S. Ct. R. 603 (eff. Oct. 1, 2010); R. 606 (eff. Mar. 20, 2009).

¶ 4 BACKGROUND

¶ 5 Black was charged with being an armed habitual criminal. At his bench trial, Sergeant Don Markham testified that on October 17, 2009, approximately 20 officers from the Chicago police department narcotics squad went to an apartment at 8739 S. Racine to execute a search warrant. Officers knocked on the door and announced "Chicago police -- search warrant." They heard running on the other side of the door and Officer Gutkowski used a ram to force entry into the apartment. Black and three other people were in the apartment. Upon entry, Officers Markham and Gutkowski saw Black holding a bluesteel handgun as he ran into a bedroom. Officer Markham yelled "gun" and he followed Black into the bedroom. He then observed Black throw the gun through the window. Officer Gutkowski ran outside and recovered the gun near some broken glass. He also found a magazine containing ammunition nearby. Black was placed under arrest.

¶ 6 The officers proceeded to search the apartment. On a coffee table in the bedroom they found a clear knotted plastic baggie containing nine smaller bags of suspected crack cocaine, two bundles of money, and a February Comcast bill in Black's name. The parties stipulated as to the chemical composition of the substance found in the baggies. The State also presented certified copies of Black's prior convictions for aggravated robbery to which Black pled guilty on August 16, 1999, and for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon to which Black pled guilty on June 26, 2006.

¶ 7 Martin McFarland testified for the defense. He stated he and Black were watching television when he heard a "big boom." Officers came into the room and ordered him and Black to the ground. Officers handcuffed them. McFarland testified that his daughter lived in the apartment with her mother, aunt, and grandmother. Black would visit but he was unsure whether Black stayed in the apartment. He stated that he did not see Black run or throw anything out of the window.

¶ 8 The trial court found Black guilty of one count of being an armed habitual criminal and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon. The trial court merged the unlawful use of a weapon charges into the armed habitual criminal charge and sentenced Black to seven years' imprisonment. The court also assessed Black $660 in fines, fees, and costs. Black filed this timely appeal.

¶ 9 ANALYSIS

ΒΆ 10 Black contends that his armed habitual criminal conviction based on his possession of a handgun violates the second amendment right to bear arms. Section ...


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