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People v. Andrews

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

December 16, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CLEO ANDREWS, Defendant-Appellant.

Held[*]

In imposing a sentence of 10 years on defendant for aggravated battery of a handicapped person, the trial court did not reconsider the victim's disability as an aggravating factor when it merely mentioned his condition during sentencing, the sentence was not excessive, and no evidence supported defendant's claim that the sentence was punishment for rejecting an offer of a sentence of 9 years in return for pleading guilty to a Class X offense of home invasion; however, defendant's mittimus was corrected to reflect a conviction for aggravated battery of a handicapped person, not a pregnant/ handicapped person.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-CR-13275; the Hon. Stanley J. Sacks, Judge, presiding.

Counsel on Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and Carson R. Griffis, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Matthew Connors, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

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

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM JUSTICE

¶ 1 Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant Cleo Andrews was found guilty of aggravated battery and sentenced to the maximum extended term of 10 years' imprisonment. On direct appeal, the defendant argues that: (1) the court improperly considered the victim's disability as an aggravating factor in sentencing when that disability was an element of the offense; (2) his sentence is excessive in light of the mitigating factors he presented; and (3) this court should amend his mittimus to properly reflect the crime of which he was convicted. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 On or around August 19, 2011, the defendant was charged with home invasion and the aggravated battery of Corey Williams, who is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. On April 3, 2012, the defendant's jury trial commenced in the circuit court of Cook County. At trial, Williams testified that the defendant was a friend who would occasionally drink with him at his home. Williams stated that shortly after midnight on August 5, 2011, he came out of his bedroom and saw the defendant looking through his refrigerator, appearing to be "stumbling drunk." The defendant did not have an "open invitation" and he was not invited over on the night in question. Williams yelled at the defendant and told him to leave. Williams testified that the defendant then hit him on the right side of the face, the force of which knocked him off his wheelchair. The defendant then hit him four or five more times as he was lying on the ground. Williams stated that he went to the bathroom to clean up his face and observed that he was "bleeding bad; bleeding from [his] nose, bleeding from [his] mouth, and [his] eye was swelling up on [him]." When he came out of the bathroom, he saw the defendant asleep on the couch. Williams stated that he then left his residence, called the police, and waited outside for the police to arrive. He testified that he did not go to the hospital for his injuries because he was too upset and wanted to go back inside the house and sleep.

¶ 4 Officer Faith Reeves (Officer Reeves) testified that she responded to the call and was waved down by Williams, who was waiting outside. She observed that Williams was upset and crying, and that his right eye was swollen. After speaking to Williams, Officer Reeves and her partner entered the residence and saw the defendant sleeping in the front room. As they attempted to wake him, Officer Reeves observed that the defendant smelled of alcohol and was "sluggish and slow to respond."

¶ 5 The defendant testified that he and Williams were "good drinking buddies" and that he would often spend the night at Williams's house after drinking too much. On the night of the incident, he telephoned Williams to tell Williams that he was coming over, and Williams raised no objection. Later, while he and Williams were drinking on the front porch, they began to argue. During that argument, the defendant made fun of Williams's disability and Williams became upset. At some point thereafter, the defendant told Williams that he "was going to need" to spend the night at Williams's house since he had had too much to drink. Williams told the defendant there was "no way he was going to allow [the defendant] to spend the night" after making fun of him. Williams then went to the bathroom, and the defendant "passed out" on the couch. The next thing the defendant remembered was being awakened by police. The defendant testified that he never hit Williams. Also, the defendant stated that he was never specifically asked to leave and it was not clear to him that Williams did not want him to spend the night.

¶ 6 In rebuttal, the State called Detective DeWilda Gordon (Detective Gordon), who testified that he interviewed the defendant following the incident. Detective Gordon stated that the defendant admitted that he hit Williams in the face once, but denied having "beat him up." Detective Gordon also testified that he spoke to Williams prior to his interview with the defendant and observed that Williams's face and lip were bruised.

ΒΆ 7 After the close of evidence and closing argument, the jury returned a verdict finding the defendant not guilty of home invasion, but guilty of aggravated battery. On April 30, 2012, the trial court held the defendant's sentencing hearing. The State argued in aggravation that the facts of the case and the defendant's long history of criminal activity made it appropriate for the court to sentence the defendant to the maximum extended-term sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. Defense counsel contended that the defendant's criminal history and the offense at issue were caused by the defendant's long history of substance abuse problems. In allocution, the defendant apologized for "any trouble that I've caused my friend and also for bringing any kind of problem ...


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