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People v. Aikens

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

September 12, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JANSEN AIKENS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Rehearing denied October 17, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 12-CR-20502; the Hon. James B. Linn, Judge, presiding.

         Judgment affirmed in part; sentence reversed and remanded with directions; mittimus corrected.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Caroline E. Bourland, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

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

          Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE CONNORS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CONNORS PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Jansen Aikens was found guilty of several counts of attempted first degree murder of a peace officer, attempted first degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW). The trial court sentenced defendant to 20 years' imprisonment for the attempted murder convictions, with an additional mandatory 20-year enhancement for personally discharging a firearm, for a total of 40 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that the former exclusive jurisdiction provision of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-120 (West 2012)) violates the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution, the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution, as well as federal and state due process rights. Defendant also contends that Illinois's sentencing scheme violates the requirement that a juvenile's youth must be considered before imposing mandatory adult minimum penalties. Defendant additionally alleges that his convictions violate the one-act, one-crime doctrine. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in part, reverse the sentence, remand for resentencing, and correct the mittimus.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 At trial, the State presented evidence that on October 13, 2012, Chicago police officers George Georgopoulos, Adamiak, and Stevens were patrolling the area of Sunnyside Avenue and Sheridan Road in plain clothes and in an unmarked car. Shortly after midnight, the officers observed Paris McKinley, a known "Black P-Stone, " standing at the northwest corner of Sunnyside Avenue and Sheridan Road with two other young men, including defendant. The officers testified that the corner was known territory of a rival gang. The officers decided to stop McKinley and question him. Officer Georgopoulos approached McKinley while the other two officers remained in the car. The officers in the car saw the other two men quickly walk away, so they followed them in the unmarked police car. Defendant held his waistband and began running.

         ¶ 4 All three officers testified that defendant then stopped walking, retrieved an item from the right side of his waistband, turned, and stood with both hands on a handgun and fired multiple shots at the unmarked police car. Defendant then continued walking away. Defendant was stopped near 4530 North Broadway Street, and a Smith and Wesson model 36 five-shot .38-caliber revolver was recovered a few feet away from where defendant was detained. The cylinder contained five spent cartridge cases.

         ¶ 5 Following defendant's arrest, he signed a statement that indicated on the night in question he was on the corner of Sunnyside Avenue and Sheridan Road with McKinley and another man he did not know, watching for rival gang members. Defendant stated that an unmarked police car pulled up and an officer asked to talk to McKinley. Defendant stated that he began to walk away but then started running when he saw the police car following him. Defendant stated that he then stopped running, pulled out a gun, took a position by a parked car, and shot at the police car four to five times. Defendant stated that he tried to hit the police because he wanted them to stop chasing him. He then ran toward Broadway Street, but the police kept chasing him. He dropped the gun and got on the ground, at which time he was arrested.

         ¶ 6 The State put into evidence a certification from the Illinois State Police that indicated that defendant did not possess a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card on October 13, 2012.

         ¶ 7 At the close of evidence, defendant was found guilty of all charges. At sentencing, Christina Cariglio, a mitigation specialist, submitted a mitigation report and testified. Cariglio testified that defendant's mother abused drugs and alcohol when she was pregnant and that, when she had another son, defendant became that boy's parent and protector because their mother was not there for him. They were eventually placed in foster care and later adopted by Deidre Aikens. Cariglio averred that as a teenager defendant lived on the street with his girlfriend for some time, as well as an apartment she shared with gang members, during which time he joined a gang for protection. When defendant was a junior in high school, he received an early acceptance letter from the Illinois Institute of Technology due to his academic excellence.

         ¶ 8 Cariglio stated that, since the time of defendant's arrest, he cut off all ties with his gang and that a jail guard had informed her that defendant was "the most well mannered boy [he] ha[d] ever come across while working in Division 9." Cariglio concluded her mitigation report by stating:

"I have not yet come across a client so full of potential as [defendant]. Nor have I met a more supportive family than the Aikens family. I have complete faith that [defendant] will rehabilitate and go on to become a successful contributing member of our society. [Defendant] is blessed with intelligence, creativity, a kind heart, an appreciation for those less fortunate, a terrific support system in his family, and a selflessness that puts most adults to shame. I ...

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