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The People of the State of Illinois v. Freddie Davis

September 5, 2012


Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 09-CF-853 Honorable John Baricevic, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Goldenhersh

NOTICE Decision filed 09/05/12. The text of this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a Petition for Rehearing or the disposition of the same.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Donovan and Justice Wexstten concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 Defendant, Freddie Davis, appeals from his conviction for burglary after a jury trial (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2008)). He argues on appeal (1) that he was not proven guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt because the State failed to prove that he remained, hid, or secreted himself within the building, (2) that the prosecutor violated Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), by improperly striking a potential juror, and (3) that the mittimus should be amended to a mandatory supervised release (MSR) period of two years rather than three years since he was convicted of a Class 2 felony (two-year term), even though due to prior convictions, he was sentenced as a Class X felon and, accordingly, ordered to serve three years of MSR. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.


¶ 3 The law office of Weilmuenster & Wigginton at 3201 West Main Street in Belleville (the law office) was the scene of the charged crime of burglary. Office hours were from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Present in the law office at the time of the charged offense were Jennifer Stone, a legal assistant, Karen Harriman, the receptionist, John Brian Manion, an attorney, and Steve Wigginton, a partner. Karen Ives was the office manager. All of these individuals testified at trial.

¶ 4 Jennifer Stone testified her office window faced the front door of the law office, so she could see anybody entering. Stone saw defendant enter on July 29, 2009, at about 4:30 p.m. Harriman was preparing to leave around that time, so her purse was on her desk. Stone went to check and saw defendant "on the wrong side of [the] reception counter." Stone asked defendant if she could help him and saw defendant "knee deep in [Harriman's] purse." Stone told defendant he could not take the wallet. Defendant then "darted out of the door." Defendant said, "I'm just here for my wallet." Stone saw Harriman's wallet tucked inside defendant's sling. Defendant turned and threw the wallet back at Stone.

¶ 5 A partner and one of the associates of the law office chased defendant after Stone told them that he had just stolen Harriman's wallet. Stone then called 9-1-1. The police brought defendant back to the law office, and Stone identified defendant.

¶ 6 Harriman testified she worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meetings with attorneys were by appointment only. On July 29, 2009, at around 4:30 p.m., Harriman got her purse and the mail, and she placed them on her desk. Her boss, Steve Wigginton, asked her to get a file, and she went back in to get it for him. Harriman heard Stone say, "Stop him, he's stealing [Harriman's] wallet." Harriman saw defendant fleeing from the office. Defendant did not ask for help when he entered the office.

¶ 7 Harriman had seen defendant on Monday, July 27, 2009, around 4:30 p.m. Karen Ives had spoken with defendant outside the law office door. Defendant had not entered the law office. Defendant's arm was covered in a dark blue sling. On July 29, 2009, defendant took Harriman's wallet from her purse, but threw it back into the law office from outside. Harriman identified defendant through the window from inside the law office.

¶ 8 Manion was in Wigginton's office discussing a case. He was walking into the reception area when he heard Stone say, "He took her wallet." Wigginton yelled, "Chase him." Manion and Wigginton both went outside. Manion turned the corner and saw a man, defendant, running from the law office. Manion lost sight of defendant between the two buildings. Manion and Wigginton split up at an alley. Manion asked an individual whether he had seen someone run by and was told "yes." Around an apartment building, he saw defendant by a dumpster and yelled at him to stop. Defendant started running to the right and Manion ran after defendant. A vehicle pulled up. Wigginton got out of the vehicle and held up a prosecutor's badge. Wigginton tripped defendant and held him. The man driving the vehicle called 9-1-1. Defendant told Manion that he did not have the wallet. Defendant also stated that he had not been in the law office.

¶ 9 Wigginton testified that on July 29, 2009, around 4:30 p.m., he was preparing for a meeting in Alton and asked Harriman to get a file for him. Wigginton heard a commotion and stepped into the reception area. Stone was screaming and yelled, "Stop him, stop him." Stone said defendant had Harriman's purse or wallet. Wigginton saw defendant fleeing from the law office. Wigginton stated that he and Manion chased defendant. Manion went left in the chase, and he went right, around a house. Wigginton stated he lost sight of defendant. He stated he got into a car with an older gentleman and he saw defendant running down the street. Wigginton testified that he jumped out of the car and caught defendant. Wigginton then showed his badge as an assistant prosecutor in Madison County and held defendant down until the police arrived.

¶ 10 Belleville police detective Mark Heffernan went to the 3200 block of Martha Street where he saw Manion and Wigginton detaining defendant. There was a blue sling underneath defendant. Heffernan's police report reflected Harriman said she did not witness the incident. Harriman also stated that she "did not get a good look at the subject."

¶ 11 Belleville police officer William Cook saw defendant in the 200 block of North 32nd Street. Cook was told defendant entered the law office, took a wallet, and then fled. Cook took defendant back to the law office. At the law office, Cook spoke with Harriman and Stone. Harriman positively identified defendant.

¶ 12 After defendant's motion for a directed verdict was denied, he presented the following witnesses. Dr. Benjamin Laux was a chiropractor. His office was at 3200 West Main Street, Belleville. Laux saw defendant for a job-related injury. Laux stated that he first saw defendant on July 15, 2009, and treated him on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Laux told defendant to consult an attorney. Laux also saw defendant on Monday, July 27, 2009, and Wednesday, July 29, 2009. Laux never referred defendant to the law office where the incident took place.

¶ 13 Karen Ives had seen defendant at the law office on July 27, 2009. Defendant asked, "Is there an attorney here that I can speak to?" Ives told defendant there were no attorneys present and he would have to come back tomorrow. Ives closed the law office's door and locked it. Ives was not present on July 29, 2009.

¶ 14 On July 30, 2009, defendant was charged in a two-count information with burglary. Count I alleged that defendant knowingly and without authority entered the law office with the intent to commit therein a theft. Count II alleged that defendant remained within the law office with the intent to commit a theft.

ΒΆ 15 During jury selection, defense counsel raised a Batson v. Kentucky challenge to the State's exercise of a peremptory challenge to juror 185, Jeshon Green. When questioned by the circuit court as to the reason for the strike, the prosecutor indicated she was concerned about the juror's prior criminal history, because "she did not come forth with a misdemeanor disorderly that she had," and she was single and had a "toddler son." The circuit court noted the State had not questioned Green about the conviction, and it rejected this explanation as a valid concern by the State. The prosecutor continued to claim the strike was based on Green being single and having a "toddler son." The circuit court denied the Batson challenge without further comment. The jury found defendant not guilty of burglary ...

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