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People v. Raney

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 4, 2014

CHRISTOPHER D. RANEY, Defendant-Appellant

Page 634

Appeal from Circuit Court of Piatt County. No. 11CF30. Honorable John P. Shonkwiler and Chris E. Freese, Judges Presiding.

Affirmed in part and remanded in part with directions.


In a prosecution for aggravated battery, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, and criminal trespass to a residence, defendant's convictions and sentences were upheld over his arguments that his prior conviction for felony domestic battery was improperly admitted for impeachment, his sentence was enhanced on the basis of the victim's age, which is an inherent factor of aggravated battery of a senior citizen, that the victim impact statement of his ex-wife's son was improperly considered at sentencing, and that his posttrial claims of ineffective assistance of counsel were not considered by the trial court; however, the cause was remanded for an informal Krankel inquiry into defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Michael J. Pelletier, Karen Munoz, and Amber Corrigan, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.

Dana Rhoades, State's Attorney, of Monticello (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and James C. Majors, all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE POPE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Knecht and Holder White concurred in the judgment and opinion.



Page 635

[¶1] The State charged defendant, Christopher D. Raney, with aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(1) (West 2010)), domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(1) (West 2010)), unlawful violation of an order of protection (720 ILCS 5/12-30(a)(1)(i) (West 2010)), and criminal trespass to a residence (720 ILCS 5/19-4(a)(1) (West 2010)). The jury found defendant guilty of all four counts. The trial court sentenced defendant to 5 years in prison on count I and 364 days in prison on both counts III and IV, all terms to be served concurrently.

[¶2] Defendant appeals, arguing the trial court (1) erred by allowing the State to introduce his prior conviction for felony domestic battery to impeach his testimony, (2) improperly enhanced his sentence based on factors inherent in the offense of aggravated battery, (3) erred by considering his ex-wife's son's victim impact statement at sentencing, and (4) failed to inquire into defendant's posttrial claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm in part and remand in part with directions.


[¶4] In July 2011, the State charged defendant with aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(1) (West 2010)) (count I), alleging on July 20, 2011, defendant knowingly caused bodily harm to a person 60 years of age or older; felony domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(1) (West 2010)) (count II), alleging in the same incident, defendant knowingly caused harm to a family member and had a prior conviction

Page 636

for domestic battery; unlawful violation of an order of protection (720 ILCS 5/12-30(a)(1)(i) (West 2010)) (count III), alleging defendant knowingly drove his motor vehicle into the driveway of his ex-wife's residence; and criminal trespass to a residence (720 ILCS 5/19-4(a)(1) (West 2010)) (count IV), alleging defendant knowingly and without authority entered his father and stepmother's residence.

[¶5] Before trial, defendant filed a motion in limine to preclude the State from introducing defendant's two prior felony convictions for domestic battery in 1996 and 2006. The State conceded the 1996 conviction was too old to be used for impeachment and argued the 2006 conviction could be used to impeach defendant's credibility as a witness should he testify. The trial court allowed the State to use the 2006 conviction for impeachment.

[¶6] The following is a summary of relevant information from defendant's January 3, 2012, jury trial. Carol S., defendant's ex-wife, testified she obtained an order of protection against defendant on June 28, 2010, effective until June 28, 2012. The order required defendant to stay at least 300 feet from Carol's residence in Mansfield, Illinois.

[¶7] Carol's 19-year-old son, Matthew, testified he lived with his mother in Mansfield. In the early morning hours of July 20, 2011, Matthew was in the garage with two friends when he saw a vehicle pull into the driveway, stay for about a minute, and pull into the neighbor's driveway for approximately five minutes before leaving. Matthew recognized the vehicle as defendant's gold Ford Explorer with gray trim and the personalized license plate, CRaney2. Matthew called the Piatt County sheriff's department. A deputy came to the residence for about five minutes and then left for about two hours. When the deputy returned he took Matthew and his friends to a grain elevator, where Matthew identified the vehicle as the car that drove into the driveway.

[¶8] William Raney, defendant's father, testified he recently turned 80 years old. William testified on July 20, 2011, between 2 and 2:30 a.m., defendant was intoxicated and came to his home. William told defendant to go home but defendant would not leave. Defendant grabbed both his father's arms and broke the skin on William's right arm.

[¶9] Sandra Raney, defendant's stepmother, testified in the afternoon of July 20, 2011, she saw defendant and told him he could come to the home later that evening. Defendant had not been drinking at that time. Sandra woke up at 3 a.m. and heard defendant and his father arguing loudly. Defendant appeared drunk and defendant was not welcome at their home when drunk. Sandra witnessed William telling defendant to leave and defendant refusing to leave and went back to her room to change her clothes. When Sandra returned, William showed her a mark on his arm where " the skin was tore off" and " said [defendant] had done it." Her husband's skin was easily abraded because he had been on " chemo and radiation." A neighbor called the sheriff's department. A police officer arrived and took defendant away.

[¶10] Deputy Chad Lauden testified he was working for the Piatt County sheriff's department on July 20, 2011. Lauden responded to Matthew's call. After talking to Matthew, Lauden concluded a possible violation of an order of protection had occurred and began looking for the vehicle described by Matthew. Lauden then received another call from dispatch regarding a domestic disturbance. Lauden responded and observed defendant and his father on the front porch of William's home. Lauden heard both William and

Page 637

Sandra tell defendant to leave but defendant refused to leave. Lauden asked William and Sandra to go inside for their safety and repeatedly asked defendant to come into the street. Defendant refused and opened the door to his father's home, attempting to step into the front door. Lauden placed defendant under arrest. Lauden observed William's injuries, " two fresh wounds where the skin was partially peeled back by what appeared to be fingernails." Lauden took photographs of the injuries, which were admitted as exhibits.

[¶11] Lauden returned to Matthew and Carol's home and asked Matthew and his two friends to follow him to the grain elevator. All three separately identified the vehicle parked there as the vehicle that pulled into the driveway. Lauden determined the vehicle was registered to defendant. The State rested its case.

[¶12] Defendant testified on the night of the incident he drank alcohol for the first time in two years. Defendant was crying and upset because he missed his six-year-old son Nicholas, who lives with his ex-wife, Carol. Defendant stated he was driving to his father's home and, on the way, pulled into his ex-wife's driveway. Defendant knew the order of protection prohibited him from going to his ex-wife's home. Defendant left his ex-wife's residence and drove to the grain elevator, located about half a block away from his father's home, where he parked and " started slamming Tequila." Defendant then went to his father's house carrying the half-empty bottle of tequila.

[¶13] When defendant arrived at William's house, his father told him to leave, but defendant responded he could not because he was drunk. Defendant reached for his father " to give him a hug, and he said 'get off of me,' because he's not the hugging type." After defendant's father pulled away, defendant noticed a piece of skin was torn from his father's wrist. Defendant explained his watch might have pulled his father's skin and that he never intended to injure William.

[¶14] The State then read to the jury, " in 2006 in Piatt County, [defendant] was convicted of domestic battery in this county." The trial court then stated, " evidence of a defendant's previous conviction of an offense may be considered by you only as it may [a]ffect his believability as a witness, and must not be considered by you as evidence of his guilt of the offense with ...

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