Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 MC4 000919. Honorable Kristyna C. Ryan, Judge Presiding.
For APPELLANT: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, Philip D. Payne, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, First Judicial District, Chicago, Illinois.
For APPELLEE: Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, County of Cook, Alan J. Spellberg, Assistant State's Attorney, Whitney Bond, Assistant State's Attorney, Chicago, Illinois.
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Palmer and Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Following a bench trial, defendant Courtney Taylor was found guilty of aggravated assault based on mere words and then sentenced to six months' supervision. On appeal, defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove her guilty of aggravated assault beyond a reasonable doubt. We reverse.
[¶3] The evidence adduced at trial shows that in the afternoon hours of February 15, 2013, defendant was arrested by a deputy sheriff at the Maywood courthouse. The deputy testified that she was working security at the courthouse that day and responded to a call in the bond courtroom. She and her partner asked everyone to step away from the bond room door and then told a woman to put away her cell phone. Defendant was standing next to the woman with the phone and said " f*** you, I don't have my cell phone on." The deputy then asked defendant to leave, and, as the deputy escorted her to the exit of the building, defendant continued to shout at the deputy using profane language. At the exit, defendant entered the first set of automatic airlock doors, which the deputy testified could be easily pulled open. After the doors shut, defendant turned around to face the deputy, who was 7 to 10 feet away outside the doors, and said " I'm going to get you. I'm going to kick your ass." The deputy testified that defendant's comments made her feel that she was " going to receive a battery."
[¶4] Deputy Sheriff Robert Schaefer testified that he was working security at the front door of the Maywood courthouse when he observed the deputy and defendant, who was yelling profanities, approaching the door. Defendant then walked out the sliding glass door away from the deputy who was directly behind her. As the doors started to close, defendant said " I'm going to get you. I'm going to get your ass." Deputy Schaefer testified that defendant appeared angry, but made no physical gesture, and then left the building after making that statement.
[¶5] Defendant testified on her own behalf that she was in the bond room on February 15, 2013, to support two of her friends who were charged with felonies. When one of her friends tried to turn around to look at his girlfriend, who was with defendant, one of the court officers told the women to leave the courtroom. In the hallway outside, two sheriffs, one of whom was the deputy, came down the stairs and asked defendant and the woman she was with to step away from the bond courtroom door. The woman who was with defendant took her phone out and the deputy told her to put it away. The deputy told defendant that those were the rules and if she did not like them, she could leave. Defendant responded that she did not have a phone out and did not understand why the deputy was " yelling in [her] face." The deputy again informed defendant that if she did not like the way things were, she could leave.
[¶6] Defendant decided to do so and observed the deputy running up the stairs after her, asking defendant if she had threatened her. Defendant replied that she did not and then asked for the location of the building exit. The deputy pointed her toward the exit, then followed her out the door, speaking to the two officers standing guard at the front door. Once defendant was outside the door, the deputy told defendant to put her hands up and that she was under arrest.
[¶7] On cross-examination, defendant testified that she was not upset until the deputy followed her up the stairs and that she maintained a conversational tone throughout their encounter and never shouted any profanities or made any threats toward the deputy. Defendant further testified that, although she looked back at the deputy when she went through ...