Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County No. 10CF135 Honorable Jennifer H. Bauknecht, Judge Presiding.
Justices Pope and Holder White concurred in the judgment and opinion.
STEIGMANN PRESIDING JUSTICE
¶ 1 Following a November 2011 bench trial, the trial court convicted defendant, Michael S. Young, on three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(c)(1)(i) (West 2010)). The court found that during three separate incidents, defendant caused two minor girls to rub their hands on his penis for the purpose of defendant's sexual gratification. For that conduct, the court sentenced defendant to eight years in prison.
¶ 2 Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court (1) violated his constitutional right to be present during the critical stages of his trial when the court considered digital video disc (DVD) recordings of the victims' interviews outside of his presence and (2) erred by denying his motion to suppress his confession, given that he invoked his right to counsel. Because the record shows that defendant (1) was present at all critical stages of his trial and (2) waived his right to counsel, we affirm.
¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 4 A. The State's Charges
¶ 5 In June 2010, the State charged defendant with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(c)(1)(i) (West 2010)). The State alleged that defendant—who was 30 years old at the time—(1) caused a seven-year-old girl to rub his penis for defendant's sexual gratification and (2) caused a nine-year-old girl to rub his penis on two separate occasions for defendant's sexual gratification.
¶ 6 B. The State's Section 115-10 Motion and the Subsequent Hearing
¶ 7 Defendant's case proceeded to an October 13, 2010, hearing on the State's motion to admit the child victims' out-of-court statements under section 115-10 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/115-10 (West 2010) (permitting hearsay statements of a child victim under the age of 13 as substantive evidence in, among others, cases involving sex crimes)). Defendant was present at that hearing, and the State presented testimony from the children's mother and two other witnesses about the out-of-court statements. The State also submitted as exhibits (1) the DVD interviews of the children and (2) a written transcript of the content of the DVDs. Shortly thereafter, the State suggested that, due to time constraints, the court review the DVDs at its leisure. Turning to defense counsel, the court asked whether counsel wanted to "view the DVDs in open court or [whether] there [was] an objection if [the court] view[ed] them and [came] back for a ruling?" Defense counsel responded, as follows:
"Your Honor, I would just like the opportunity to argue.
[I]t does not matter when the Court reviews them. I'm not asking that they are reviewed right now. I just would like an opportunity to argue, and I can put it in writing or we can come after[ward]."
¶ 8 When defendant's section 115-10 hearing resumed on October 29, 2010, the State indicated that the child victims would be available to testify. After considering the evidence presented, including the DVDs—which the trial court had reviewed on its own—the court found the children's out-of-court statements admissible under section 115-10.
¶ 9 C. Defendant's Motion To Suppress His Confession to Police and the Subsequent Hearing
¶ 10 In February 2011, defendant filed a motion to suppress his confession. At the April 2011 hearing on defendant's motion, the parties presented testimony ...