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People v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

March 16, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
THOMAS E. JONES, Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County, Illinois, Circuit No. 06-CF-844. Honorable Walter D. Braud, Judge, Presiding.

          For Appellant: Mr. Peter A. Carusona, Deputy Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Ottawa, IL; Mr. Thomas A. Lilien, Deputy Defender, Mr. Christopher McCoy, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Elgin, IL.

         For Appellee: Mr. Mark A. Austill, State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Ottawa, IL; Mr. John L. McGehee, State's Attorney, Rock Island County Courthouse, Rock Island, IL.

         Justice Lytton concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Carter dissented, with opinion. JUSTICE CARTER, dissenting.

          OPINION

         O'BRIEN, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

          [¶1] Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, defendant, Thomas E. Jones, filed a pro se petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2012)). After 90 days passed, the petition advanced to the second stage and the trial court appointed counsel to represent defendant. Appointed counsel amended the petition arguing that defendant's appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise arguments on direct appeal concerning evidence presented at trial of the victim's autopsy photographs and a redacted video recording of defendant's statements to police.

          [¶2] Following a hearing on the State's motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed the petition at the second stage. Defendant appeals, arguing appointed counsel failed to provide reasonable assistance of postconviction counsel. Specifically, defendant argues that appointed counsel failed to satisfy his duty under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c) (eff. Feb. 6, 2013) to make amendments to his pro se petition necessary to adequately present the defendant's contentions. We reverse the order dismissing defendant's petition and remand the matter for further second-stage proceedings and the appointment of new postconviction counsel to amend the petition as necessary.

         [¶3] FACTS

          [¶4] Defendant was charged with first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2006)) and aggravated battery of a child (720 ILCS 5/12-4.3(a) (West 2006)) based on the death of his two-month-old son, K.C. Both counts alleged that defendant " violently shook" K.C. causing his death.

          [¶5] Before trial, the State filed a motion in limine notifying defendant of its intent to present a redacted video recording of defendant's statements to police. In the redacted video recording, defendant demonstrated how he handled K.C. Defense counsel filed a motion in limine seeking to bar the State from introducing the redacted version of the video recording.

          [¶6] Defendant's motion argued:

" [defense counsel] has been made aware that the State seeks the introduction of video and audio recordings of the Defendant's statements which would be edited to highlight certain respects of his interrogation or questioning by law enforcement representatives. It is improper to introduce into evidence audio recordings that have been changed, augmented, or deleted.

          [¶7] In arguing the motions before the trial court, the following colloquy occurred:

" [Defense Counsel]: Judge, these demonstrations are--I have seen them. I have been through the evidence--are all in response to specific questions and a chain of questions leading up to the demonstrations ***. That all needs to be played in context so the jury has that context in which to place his statements. Just having blurps without context, Judge, is improper.
THE COURT: What context are you talking about?
[Defense Counsel]: The questioning. The series of questioning, what leads up to this. Cleary & Graham in their handbook of Illinois Evidence, Judge, state that the federal courts established the elements of the foundation for these videotapes and audiotapes and Item 4 of what they enumerate, what needs to be made clear here, is that changes, additions, or deletions have not been made to the recording. That's one of the requirements. So snipping it, cutting it, putting it in ...

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