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The People of the State of Illinois v. Julie E. Liekis

July 31, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JULIE E. LIEKIS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 09-DT-3383 Honorable Joseph R. Waldeck, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Burke and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The trial court found defendant, Julie E. Liekis, guilty of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) (West 2008)) and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2008)). It appears from the record that the trial court entered judgment only on the DUI count and sentenced defendant to one year of conditional discharge and various fines and fees. On appeal, defendant argues that: (1) the court erred by denying her motion to quash her arrest and suppress evidence; and (2) she is entitled to a new trial because the record does not reflect that she made an understanding waiver of her right to a jury trial in open court. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 We provide here only the facts necessary to an understanding of this appeal. On December 20, 2009, defendant was charged with violations of sections 11-501(a)(1) and 11-501(a)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) (West 2008) ("the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is 0.08 or more"); 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2008) ("under the influence of alcohol"). Defendant filed a motion to quash her arrest and suppress the evidence that was the product of the arrest.

¶ 4 The hearing on the motion to quash and suppress began with defense counsel's direct examination of defendant, who testified as follows. On December 20, 2009, around 9:30 p.m., defendant was driving "by the Advertiser in Antioch" when she was "pulled over" by "the Antioch Police Department." There were no warrants out for defendant's arrest at that time. After she was pulled over, the officer had defendant get out of her car and asked her to "do a sobriety test." Subsequently, defendant was placed under arrest.

¶ 5 Defense counsel then stated: "[W]e would ask now that we established she was arrested in Lake County, Illinois, without a warrant, we ask to shift the burden for the State to prove the statutory warrant requirements." The prosecutor disagreed with defense counsel. The trial court agreed that there was insufficient testimony to shift the burden but asked the prosecutor: "However, will you accept the burden or do you want more?" The prosecutor replied, "At this point I prefer more." Defense counsel stated that "case law says that [all] defense counsel needs to prove [is] that the defendant was arrested without a warrant" for the burden to shift to the State. The prosecutor disagreed with defense counsel's assertion and stated that he was not familiar with case law that shifted the burden to the State "after a mere allegation that there was no arrest warrant." Defense counsel then tendered People v. Collins, 53 Ill. App. 3d 253 (1977). The prosecutor stated that he was not familiar with defense counsel's "line of argument" or Collins and that he did not know if he could respond appropriately at that time, because he needed to do research. The prosecutor then stated: "I would defer to the Court in ruling on the matter. This is quite frankly a novel issue that I've never come across." The trial court stated:

"[B]ased upon the fact that [defendant] testified there was no warrant, I will find that is sufficient enough to have the State assume the burden at this point."

¶ 6 The prosecutor cross-examined defendant, who testified that to arrive at the Advertiser she traveled through the intersection of Route 59 and Grass Lake Road. Defendant told the officer who stopped her that she had been drinking and had consumed six beers. Defendant performed field sobriety tests. She was unable to recite the alphabet on her first attempt because she was upset. Defendant took a "breath" test.

¶ 7 The prosecutor introduced a video recording of defendant's stop. The video recording showed only from when the field sobriety tests began until defendant was placed under arrest. Defendant testified that the video recording was a fair and accurate depiction of what occurred on the night in question. The trial court admitted the video recording into evidence.

¶ 8 The trial court denied the State's motion for a directed finding. The trial court again stated that the burden had shifted to the State.

¶ 9 The State presented its case, calling as its sole witness Deputy Felix Pena of the Lake County sheriff's office. Pena testified that, on the evening in question, he received a dispatch concerning a hit-and-run accident. The complainant gave her name, a description of the vehicle, the vehicle's license plate number, the direction the vehicle was traveling, and the location of the accident, the intersection of Route 59 and Grass Lake Road. Pena received updates from dispatch regarding the location of the vehicle; dispatch was receiving location updates from the complainant. Pena told dispatch to inform the Antioch police department dispatch to try to "get a unit toward that vehicle." Pena was dispatched to the Advertiser parking lot, where Officer Manders*fn1 and Deputy Yanacheck*fn2 were at the scene with defendant. Defendant's vehicle matched the description of the vehicle by the complainant. Defendant's eyes were bloodshot and "glossy" and there was an odor of alcohol "emanating from her breath and person." Defendant said that she had consumed several drinks; her speech was "slightly slurred and thick tongue[d]." Defendant performed field sobriety tests. Defendant failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. Pena opined that defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

ΒΆ 10 On May 19, 2010, the trial court found that there was probable cause and denied defendant's ...


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