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People v. Wideman

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

May 28, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LAWRENCE WIDEMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

Rehearing denied July 25, 2013

Modified August 5, 2013

Held [*]

The denial of defendant’s petition for leave to file a successive postconviction petition alleging newly discovered evidence of his actual innocence was affirmed, since the purported newly discovered evidence did not qualify as such, the documents from codefendants purporting to be affidavits were not notarized, they were not valid affidavits, especially in the absence of any explanation as to why the documents were not notarized, and defendant’s self-verified statement did not constitute newly discovered evidence.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 00-CR-7694; Hon. Charles P. Burns, Judge, presiding. Judgment Affirmed as modified.

Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and Todd T. McHenry, all of State Appellate Defender’s Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State’s Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Marie Quinlivan Czech, and Margaret G. Lustig, Assistant State’s Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Panel JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Hoffman and Justice Delort concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE

¶ 1 This appeal arises from a June 21, 2010 order entered by the circuit court of Cook County, which denied defendant-appellant Lawrence Wideman (Wideman) leave to file his successive postconviction petition. On appeal, Wideman argues that he properly raised a claim of actual innocence pursuant to section 122-1 of the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (the Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 (West 2010)). For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Following a jury trial, Wideman was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery, and was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 43 years and 10 years, respectively. Wideman and codefendants Frad Muhammad (Muhammad), Marvin Treadwell (Treadwell), and Jovan Mosley (Mosley), were charged with first-degree murder for allegedly beating and bludgeoning Howard Thomas (the victim) to death on or about August 6, 1999, in the course of robbing him of money and a beverage.

¶ 4 The evidence at Wideman's trial showed that a group of young men, including Wideman and his codefendants, attacked the victim. Codefendant Muhammad repeatedly struck the victim with a baseball bat. While the victim was on the ground, the other men kicked him. The group then fled, leaving the victim severely wounded on the ground. The victim's autopsy found multiple broken bones, cerebral hemorrhages, and a torn kidney among his injuries. While several witnesses heard and/or saw the attack, only one witness identified Wideman as participating in the attack. Another witness identified codefendant Treadwell as one of the men kicking the victim, but could not identify Wideman as one of the attackers though she had seen Wideman previously in the neighborhood. After his arrest, Wideman gave a statement admitting to participating in the attack, which was intended to be a robbery to obtain money to buy liquor. In his statement, Wideman admitted that after the attack, he and all the men in the group drank from a bottle of soda that the victim had been carrying. At trial, Wideman did not testify in his own behalf, and he presented no defense evidence beyond the stipulated testimony of a police detective regarding a police report.

¶ 5 On direct appeal, this court affirmed Wideman's conviction and sentence. This court rejected Wideman's arguments regarding his unsuccessful pretrial motions to: (1) quash arrest for lack of probable cause; and (2) suppress his postarrest statement for lack of Miranda warnings and for being involuntary. People ...


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