Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 10 CR 12696. Honorable Vincent M. Gaughan, Judge Presiding.
Defendant's conviction for failing to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act was reversed, where the evidence showed that he timely reported at a registration unit following his release from prison and made a good-faith effort to register but was turned away due to the officer's refusal to complete the registration, for reasons other than any voluntary act by defendant.
For APPELLANT, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL (Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, S. Emily Hartman, of counsel).
For APPELLEE, Cook County State's Attorney, Chicago, IL (Anita Alvarez, Alan J. Spellberg, Mary L. Boland, Heather Fahrenkrog, of counsel).
JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Neville and Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Following a jury trial, defendant Daniel Wlecke (Wlecke) was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2010)) (the Act) and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
[¶2] The Act requires a person convicted of a criminal sexual offense to register with the police or other law enforcement authority in whatever jurisdiction the offender resides. 730 ILCS 150/2 et seq. (West 2010). Section 3 of the Act provides that a sex offender " shall register *** with the chief of police in the municipality in which he or she resides or is temporarily domiciled for a period of time of 3 or more days." 730 ILCS 150/3(a) (West 2010).
[¶3] Section 6 of the Act provides in relevant part:
" Any person who lacks a fixed residence must report weekly, in person, to the appropriate law enforcement agency where the sex offender is located. *** If any person required to register under this Article lacks a fixed residence or temporary domicile, he or she must notify, in person, the agency of jurisdiction of his or her last known address within 3 days after ceasing to have a fixed residence and if the offender leaves the last jurisdiction of residence, he or she, must within 3 days after leaving register in person with the new agency of jurisdiction." 730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2010).
[¶4] The Act defines a " fixed residence" as " any and all places that a sex offender resides for an aggregate period of time of 5 or more days in a calendar year." 730 ILCS 150/2(I) (West 2010). Taking these provisions together, a convicted sex offender must register (1) a fixed residence address (anywhere the offender lives for five days or more during a calendar year), (2) a temporary residence address ( e.g., while on vacation, at school or visiting relatives for three or more days) or (3) every week if the offender lacks a fixed residence.
[¶5] The obvious purpose of the Act is to assist law enforcement agencies in tracking the whereabouts of sex offenders
and to provide the public information about where they are residing. Wlecke was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault in 1992 and was thus required to register under the Act. In 2010, when Wlecke was released from prison on an unrelated offense, he was required to re-register with the Chicago police department. For the reasons that follow, we find that the State failed to prove Wlecke guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We therefore reverse Wlecke's conviction.
[¶7] Wlecke was tried on two counts of failure to register as a sex offender under the Act: one count for failing to register in person within three days of establishing a residence or temporary domicile (730 ILCS 150/3(a)(1) (West 2010)), and one count for failing to report weekly while lacking a fixed residence (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2010)). Although not explicitly stated, these charges were in the alternative as Wlecke could not simultaneously have a residence that he was required to register under section 3 and lack a fixed residence, thus subjecting him to the weekly reporting requirement of section 6.
[¶8] The State introduced the following evidence at Wlecke's trial. On June 11, 2010 Wlecke was released from the Dixon Correctional Center. Kathy Chavera, a counselor at the prison, testified that prior to Wlecke's release, she completed a sex offender registration form with Wlecke. The reverse side of the form listed the requirements of registration, including the requirement to register within three days of his release, by June 14, 2010. Chavera read those ...