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The People of the State of Illinois v. Mark A. Jasoni

August 8, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MARK A. JASONI,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 10-CF-989 Honorable Gary V. Pumilia, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hudson

JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 I. INTRODUCTION

¶ 2 Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Winnebago County, defendant, Mark A. Jasoni, was convicted of one count of aggravated battery pursuant to section 12-4(b)(10) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(10) (West 2008) (now 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05 (West 2010)) and one count of domestic battery under section 12-3.2 of the Code (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 (West 2008)). The court did not enter judgment on the domestic battery charge. Defendant now appeals, arguing that his conviction of aggravated battery should be reversed and, in its place, defendant asks that we enter judgment on the domestic battery count. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

¶ 3 II. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 On August 29, 2009, defendant was charged with one count of aggravated battery (victim 60 years of age or older) and one count of domestic battery to Edna Briggs-Gunther. He was tried before a jury in Winnebago County on January 19, 2011. Briggs-Gunther testified first for the prosecution regarding an altercation that took place on August 28, 2009, the day before defendant's arrest. On that day, Briggs-Gunther was 68 years old. She had known defendant for 20 years. Defendant had been married to Briggs-Gunther's daughter, but she had died in 2005. They had a son together, who was seven years of age on the day of the battery. The battery took place at defendant's home in Loves Park, where defendant lived with his son and Harold Briggs, who is Briggs-Gunther's son. Briggs-Gunther would often come to the apartment to visit her grandson, and she testified that she was concerned about her grandson living with defendant because she thought defendant had a drinking problem.

¶ 5 Briggs-Gunther explained that on August 28, 2009, she received a call from Briggs asking her to come to his and defendant's home immediately. Upon arrival, she noticed that defendant was extremely drunk and agitated. When defendant saw Briggs-Gunther, he rushed up to her, screamed in her face, and put his hands on her shoulders. Briggs-Gunther slapped defendant and called for Briggs, who then pushed defendant onto a couch. She saw her grandson curled up in a ball with a blanket over his head. She grabbed her grandson and exited the home, walking toward her car. As she exited, defendant tipped the dining room table over, with many of the items on it smashing on the floor. Defendant followed her to her car and shoved her against it. As a result, Briggs-Gunther sustained bruises on her arm and thigh, and she reaggravated a torn meniscus in her right knee.

¶ 6 Officer Michael McCamond testified next for the prosecution. McCamond stated that on August 29, 2009, he was working as a police officer for the Loves Park police department. Briggs-Gunther entered the police station and filed a report. When McCamond interviewed her, he noticed bruises on her right thigh and right hand, which he photographed. She asserted that the bruises were a result of being pushed into her car by defendant.

¶ 7 The prosecution then called Briggs to testify. He stated that on August 28, 2009, he called Briggs-Gunther because he was concerned for the well-being of defendant's son. He saw that defendant was drunk and agitated, and he did not think defendant should be around his son in such a condition. Briggs-Gunther arrived at the home shortly thereafter. When defendant saw her, he began shouting in her face and became physically aggressive toward her. Briggs pushed defendant away from Briggs-Gunther. Defendant then flipped the dining room table over in the direction of Briggs-Gunther, breaking many of the items on it. Defendant and Briggs-Gunther continued to argue outside. Briggs was inside the home during this argument, but he heard Briggs-Gunther scream. When he went outside, he saw that his mother was limping.

¶ 8 The State rested, and defendant then testified on his own behalf. He related that on August 28, 2009, at around 8 p.m., he was at his home when Briggs-Gunther arrived. He claimed that he had "one, maybe two beers" that afternoon around 4 p.m., but by 8 p.m. he did not feel drunk. He started arguing with Briggs-Gunther over the amount of rent he was paying her. (Briggs-Gunther leased the apartment in which defendant lived.) He then asked her to leave, but she refused to do so, instead sitting at the dining room table. Briggs then tackled him onto the couch, and defendant hit his head on a table. He tried to pull the dining room table toward himself, and it accidentally tipped over. Briggs then grabbed him and threw him into a wall. Defendant's stepdaughter intervened to separate the men. Defendant decided to leave the home, and he saw his son in the back of Briggs-Gunther's car. When he told his son to exit the car, Briggs-Gunther ran out of the home and slapped him in the face. She then tried to open the car door, but slipped and fell on her backside. Defendant testified, "It serves her right, you know, running out, and-like that to fall down." He claimed that he never touched Briggs-Gunther.

¶ 9 The prosecution recalled Briggs-Gunther in rebuttal, and she testified that she slapped defendant not because he told his son to exit her car; rather, she slapped defendant in self-defense, inside the home, because he was attacking her. She also claimed that she did not slip outside; rather, she fell because defendant pushed her.

ΒΆ 10 The jury found defendant guilty of domestic battery and aggravated battery. The court did not enter judgment on the domestic battery charge, because it was based on the same act as the aggravated battery count. Defendant and defense counsel filed motions for a new trial, but the court denied both motions. Defendant was sentenced to 2 years' probation, subject to 90 days in the ...


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