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People v. Goods

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

September 12, 2016

THADIEUS GOODS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Rehearing denied October 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 07-CR-15601-03; the Hon. Frank G. Zelezinski, Judge, presiding.

         Reversed and remanded.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and S. Amanda Ingram, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Christine Cook, and Iris G. Ferosie, 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.



         ¶ 1 After a jury trial, defendant, Thadieus Goods, was found guilty of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2010)) and of personally discharging a firearm that proximately caused the victim's death. Prior to trial, defendant's attorney asserted compulsion as an affirmative defense, but the court granted the State's motion to bar this defense because compulsion is not available as a defense to first degree murder in Illinois. In mitigation at sentencing, due to a fear for his safety being threatened if he was known to be a "snitch, " defendant requested to present in camera the testimony of an assistant State's Attorney to whom defendant had provided information while in prison regarding an alleged solicitation of murder of an 11-year-old victim in an unrelated criminal sexual abuse case. The court denied his request and sentenced defendant to 65 years in prison. On appeal, defendant argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to assert self-defense and ask for the corresponding jury instructions, the court failed to properly exercise its discretion in refusing to allow defendant's mitigation witness to testify in camera, and his 65-year sentence was excessive. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Pierre Jordan was found shot to death in the parking lot of an apartment complex located at 3700 174th Court in Lansing on June 30, 2007. Defendant, along with Ronnell Hansbrough, Torrey Hansbrough, and Tina Robinson, was charged with eight counts of first degree murder for Jordan's death.

         ¶ 4 A. Pretrial Motions

         ¶ 5 On July 2, 2007, defendant was arrested by Chicago police on an unrelated misdemeanor offense. He remained in custody until July 4, 2007, when he was brought before a judge for a bond hearing and the misdemeanor charge was dismissed. Immediately after the dismissal, defendant was rearrested by Lansing police in connection with Jordan's murder. While in custody, defendant was interrogated and provided a videotaped statement. Subsequently, defendant was indicted by a grand jury. On July 23, 2009, defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, arguing that his arrest was made without a valid search or arrest warrant and that his conduct prior to arrest did not give rise to probable cause. Defendant also argued that the statement he gave while in custody should be suppressed due to the lack of probable cause. Defendant filed another motion to suppress the statement on April 21, 2011.[1]The second motion to suppress asserted that prior to interrogation, defendant stated that he knew nothing of Jordan's murder and had nothing to say, but that "due to the physical, physiological, mental, educational, emotional and/or psychological state, capacity and condition of the [d]efendant, he was incapable and unable to appreciate and understand the full meaning of his Miranda rights [(Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966))] and any statement was therefore not *** made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently." Defendant also argued that he had been told that his wife had been arrested and that if he did not cooperate she would be charged with murder, rendering the statement defendant ultimately made a product of coercion. On August 24, 2011, after hearing argument, the court denied defendant's motion to suppress, stating that "the State has met their burden at this juncture." The court further stated that it "[felt] that the defendant was appropriately advised of his rights and waived his rights at the appropriate times" and that "there was no right in any way [defendant] be allowed to speak to anybody, be it [his] mother, girlfriend, or whoever."

         ¶ 6 On April 21, 2011, defendant also filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, which was later amended on September 8, 2011. The motion to dismiss asserted that an officer gave false testimony to the grand jury, which resulted in the true bill directed against defendant. The court conducted a hearing on the amended motion to dismiss the indictment on October 18, 2011. At the hearing, the defense argued that at the grand jury, an officer falsely testified that the police had learned defendant and the three other defendants had planned to kill Jordan, as there was no evidence of a plan in any of the defendants' statements. Also, the defense pointed to the officer's grand jury testimony that made it seem as though defendant was the sole person involved in the murder because it was not made clear that codefendant Ronnell Hansbrough was the person who shot Jordan first. The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that there was not a willing falsity or willingness to deceive the grand jury and, thus, not enough to overturn the indictment.

         ¶ 7 B. Trial

         ¶ 8 Prior to the commencement of defendant's jury trial, the State filed a motion in limine seeking to admit the inculpatory portion of defendant's videotaped statement from July 4 and July 5, 2007, and exclude the other portions of defendant's statement that dealt with how he knew Jordan and mentioned the prior time defendant served in prison. The State's motion in limine also sought to preclude defendant from offering any evidence of Jordan's prior bad acts because defense counsel "failed to allege self-defense and/or file a Lynch motion." On March 26, 2007, the day before defendant's trial began, the court heard argument on the State's motion in limine. Regarding the admission of defendant's videotaped statement, the State asserted that it only intended to introduce the inculpatory portion of defendant's statement and the portion showing defendant received Miranda warnings. It would not be showing the portions where defendant talked about how he knew Jordan and their imprisonment together, where defendant denied any involvement in Jordan's murder, or where defendant asked for an attorney. In response, the defense argued that including only the inculpatory portions would be extremely prejudicial to defendant, especially since defendant spent so much time at the beginning of his interrogation denying any involvement. The defense argued that it was not until the police mentioned defendant's girlfriend and her health problems that defendant stated he was involved. The defense conceded that it was amenable to having the portions of the statement that referenced defendant's previous criminal background redacted from the video. The court ruled that it would not allow the jury to hear all of defendant's statement. However, it allowed cross-examination on the issue of what occurred prior to defendant admitting his involvement, how long the interrogation went on, and the fact that defendant initially denied his involvement.

         ¶ 9 The court next addressed the State's motion in limine regarding the use of the victim's prior bad acts. The State asserted that because defense counsel had not alleged self-defense or filed a Lynch motion, any prior bad acts by Jordan should be barred. The defense objected to the State's motion "because we are introducing [an] affirmative defense which may indeed get into prior bad acts which would be why the person felt compelled to do what he did." Defense counsel then confirmed that he was, in fact, alleging the defense of compulsion, not self-defense. The court replied that "[prior bad acts] would not come in for [compulsion] anyway. So that's where we stand. Unless you're alleging self-defense, this is not even an issue. So they're not allowed anyway." Defense counsel then argued that if defendant testified as to why he felt compelled to do what he did, it would be because he knew Jordan had committed prior acts and because of his personal knowledge of Jordan "being in a situation where he has [had] to use a gun in the past." The court ultimately determined that it could not rule on this matter at the time and reserved its rulings for defendant's testimony. The parties then engaged in jury selection.

         ¶ 10 On the following day, March 27, 2012, prior to opening statements, the State raised the argument that the defense of compulsion was not available to defendant in this case because he was charged with murder. Primarily relying on the cases of People v. Anderson, 2011 IL App (1st) 071768, and People v. Gleckler, 82 Ill.2d 145 (1980), the State asserted that "there is 185 years of case law that says that compulsion is not a defense for first degree murder." Defense counsel responded that he was aware of death penalty cases where compulsion was allowed to be asserted and that even though this was not a death penalty case, "it is still a murder case." The court then read directly from section 7-11 of the Criminal Code of 2012 (Code), titled "compulsion, " which reads: "A person is not guilty of an offense other than an offense, punishable with death, by reason of conduct that he or she performs under compulsion of threat or menace of the imminent infliction of death or great bodily harm, if he or she reasonably believes death or great bodily harm will be inflicted upon him or her, or upon his or her spouse or child, if he or she does not perform that conduct." 720 ILCS 5/7-11(a) (West 2012). The court further noted that the statute had not been amended to explicitly include first degree murder, rather than "an offense punishable with death, " even though Illinois no longer recognized the death penalty, thus, requiring the court to look to case law, which made clear that compulsion was a prohibited defense in a first degree murder case. Recognizing this as "black letter law, " the court granted the State's request and barred defendant from asserting compulsion as a defense.

         ¶ 11 Thereafter, the trial began with the parties presenting their opening statements. In its case-in-chief, the State first called Edward Jordan, the father of the victim, to testify. Edward testified that he saw Jordan on June 29, 2007, the evening prior to the murder, and that Jordan appeared "fine" and "healthy." The State next called Juanita Seals, a woman who lived in the apartment complex where Jordan was killed. Seals testified that on June 30, 2007, at approximately 3 a.m., she was asleep in her bedroom in her apartment at 3700 174th Court in Lansing and was awakened by "popping sounds" that were coming from outside her bedroom in the parking lot. Seals testified she originally thought the sounds were firecrackers but then realized they sounded like gunshots, so she "got up and got down on [her] knees and looked out of [her] window, " which looked out on the parking lot. She stated that when she looked out the window, she saw two males standing over another man who was laying flat on his face and that one of the two males who was standing was shooting the man on the ground. Seals testified that she could not see the two men's faces, but she saw that one was heavyset and the other was shorter than the heavier man. The heavyset man was the one she observed shooting downward at the third man, and she could see fire coming from the gun. Seals also testified that she could "hear the sounds of the bullets coming from the gun, the actual shooting, pow, pow, pow, pow." Seals estimated that she observed four to five shots. Then, she crawled back to her bed and called 911. She testified that while on the phone, she was asked to look back out the window, which she did, and saw the two men were gone. The man who was shot was still laying "flat on his face" in the parking lot. Seals testified that she heard additional shots while she was on the phone with 911 but could not see who was shooting. Seals stated that "anywhere from four to six minutes total" elapsed from the time she first heard the popping sounds until she saw the men were gone. Seals also stated that the area in the parking lot was well-lit enough for her to see that there were two male shooters but not well-lit enough for her to see the actual gun, only the fire coming from it.

         ¶ 12 The State then called Officer Todd Yonker, the Lansing police officer who was first on the scene, to testify. Officer Yonker testified that on June 30, 2007, at approximately 3:10 a.m., he was alone on patrol when he received a dispatch regarding gunshots and "a man down in the parking lot" at 3700 174th Court. When he arrived at that location, he saw a man lying face down with his hands tucked underneath his body. He believed the man had been shot because he also saw shell casings and a lot of blood. Officer Yonker testified that he did not touch or move the body and did not allow anyone else to touch or move the body until the evidence technician or photographer arrived.

         ¶ 13 Sergeant Robert Deel of the state police was called next. Sergeant Deel testified that at the time of Jordan's murder, he was working as a crime scene investigator. He arrived at the scene at approximately 7:30 a.m. on June 30, 2007, where he met with Detective Smith of the Lansing police department and conducted a walk-through of the area. He testified that he saw a blue tarp, which he later learned was covering the body of the victim. He took photographs of the scene, including the tarp over the body, as well as the body after the tarp was removed. Sergeant Deel testified that when the tarp was removed, he observed the victim laying face down with his hands underneath his torso in the pockets of his jacket. He also stated that Jordan's vehicle was parked in the parking lot where his body was found and that he recovered 18 cartridge casings and some spent projectiles that were found once the victim's body was rolled over.

         ¶ 14 The State next called Sergeant John Daley of the Burnham police department to testify on its behalf. Sergeant Daley testified that in July 2007, he was working with the south suburban major crimes task force in the investigation of the shooting death of Jordan. On July 5, 2007, he had a conversation with codefendant Ronnell Hansbrough[2] at the Lansing police station. Through his conversation with Ronnell, Sergeant Daley was directed to a Dumpster behind an apartment building in Calumet City, where he saw a black plastic bag in the corner of the Dumpster that was otherwise empty at the time. Inside the bag was a black Glock semiautomatic handgun and an extended, 30-round clip. He stated that he did not recall the exact number of rounds that were in it, but there were "quite a few." There was also one loose round in the bag. An evidence technician from Lansing police department recovered the items, photographed them, and placed the gun into an evidence box separate from the rounds. Next, the State called Officer Dana Tatgenhorst of the Lansing police. Officer Tatgenhorst testified that she was present for Jordan's autopsy on July 1, 2007. She stated the autopsy was performed by Dr. Michelle Jordan. At the autopsy, Officer Tatgenhorst observed Dr. Jordan remove 13 copper bullet jackets from Jordan's body.

         ¶ 15 On the second day of trial, the State called Jeffrey Parise, a forensic scientist of the Illinois State Police forensic science command who specialized in firearms identification. Upon request of the State and with no objection from the defense, Parise was declared an expert in the field of firearms and firearms identification. Parise testified that he received nine exhibits from the Lansing police department that included the gun recovered from the Dumpster, 18 cartridge cases, and a number of projectiles. Parise stated that he examined a Glock semiautomatic pistol with an extended magazine that held 31 cartridge cases. Parise testified that 5 of the 18 recovered cartridge cases were .45 caliber and were fired by the same firearm but not the Glock semiautomatic pistol that was recovered from the Dumpster. Rather, Parise stated that six of the recovered cartridge cases were, in fact, fired from the recovered Glock and that those cases were 9-millimeter caliber. The remaining seven cases were .380 caliber and were not fired from the recovered Glock semiautomatic pistol. Parise testified that these seven .380-caliber cases were fired from a 9-millimeter Makarov, which is a Russian gun, or possibly a 9-millimeter Luger. Parise stated that there were "at least three guns" used here.

         ¶ 16 The next witness called by the State was Dr. Ariel Goldschmidt, an employee of the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Upon request from the State and with no objection from the defense, the court declared Dr. Goldschmidt an expert in the field of forensic pathology. Dr. Goldschmidt testified that he reviewed the autopsy report of Dr. Jordan, the doctor who actually performed Jordan's autopsy. Dr. Goldschmidt stated that Jordan had multiple gunshot wounds, including, inter alia, three to the back of the head, one to the back of the neck, three to the back, one to the shoulder, three to the armpits, two to the left arm, and one to the left chest. There were 13 projectiles recovered from Jordan's body. Dr. Goldschmidt testified that he could not say whether Jordan was deceased before the last gunshot wound was received. However, he testified that there was blood in Jordan's upper chest around his lungs, which meant that although he could have been brain dead, his heart was still pumping after he was shot. Dr. Goldschmidt testified that the cause of Jordan's death was multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was homicide.

         ¶ 17 Sergeant Scott Bailey, a member of the investigation division of the Lansing police department and south suburban major crime task force, was called next by the State. Sergeant Bailey testified that shortly after 3 a.m. on June 30, 2007, he responded to the scene at 3700 174th Court, where he saw a deceased male who had been shot. He testified that pursuant to his investigation, he learned that the names of the people who were involved with Jordan's death were Ronnell Hansbrough, a/k/a "Little Bro, " and Torrey Hansbrough. Regarding the physical build of defendant and Ronnell, Sergeant Bailey stated that defendant "is a lot bigger and heavy, thicker, " and that Ronnell was "thinner, shorter." He also stated that Ronnell, Endo, and Torrey were all brothers. Sergeant Bailey testified that he and Sergeant Daley spoke with defendant on July 5, 2007, at about 4 p.m. in the Lansing police department criminal investigation interview room. He stated that he had spoken with defendant on two previous occasions, where defendant had denied any involvement with Jordan's death. He also testified that the second conversation ended when defendant asked for an attorney.

         ¶ 18 Sergeant Bailey further testified that the conversation with defendant at approximately 4 p.m. began with him "reminding [defendant] of his Miranda [w]arnings." Defendant was also made aware that audio and visual recordings of the conversation were being made. Sergeant Bailey testified that Endo, Ronnell, and Torrey were all brothers and that defendant's girlfriend, Tina Robinson, was also known as "Baby Cakes." On cross-examination, Sergeant Bailey agreed with defense counsel that defendant had concerns for Robinson and kept trying to get the police to put them in the same room so he could talk to her. Sergeant Bailey testified that Robinson became so ill while in custody that she had to be taken to the hospital, and the officers made a point of telling that to defendant.

         ¶ 19 The DVD of defendant's statement from July 5, 2007, was published to the jury. In his statement, defendant stated that Jordan, who defendant knew to be a cocaine dealer, told him that he was "fitting to go in on them, " referring to robbing Endo and Ronnell, because they had "balls of money wrapped up *** in plastic." Jordan asked defendant to get him in the apartment complex, but defendant would not because there were cameras on every door and he did not want to be seen with Jordan. Defendant stated that a couple days to a week before Jordan's murder, he told Endo that Jordan "want to run in your momma house, and he not playing, " to which Endo replied " 'let him run his a*** in there, we gonna off his a*** in there.' " Sometime thereafter, defendant spoke with Jordan and again told him, "I ain't going nowhere to be in front of no camera." Defendant told the officers he knew that "if I got knowledge of [Jordan] running in they crib, he getting down on me when he get through with them."

         ¶ 20 The following day Jordan pulled up to the apartment complex with his girlfriend in the front seat, his daughter in the backseat, and a gun on his lap. Jordan asked defendant if he did his "homework, " and defendant replied that he had after seeing the gun on Jordan's lap. Defendant stated he was thinking "we gotta get this motherf*** out the way, straight up." After seeing Jordan, defendant called Endo and told him that Jordan was at the building. Defendant stated that Endo said, " 'I'm fitting to shoot the s*** out this n***, ' " referring to Jordan. Defendant told the officers that when talking to Endo, he said, " 'My momma live here just like your momma. You know, come on let's-I'm ready to get it over with.' " On Friday, the day before Jordan was killed, defendant was with Robinson over at defendant's mom's apartment. After defendant received a call from Jordan, who said that he was "ready to get it cracking, " he then called Endo and told him to give defendant a gun. Endo was not nearby, so he told Ronnell to get defendant a gun, which he did. Defendant stated that Ronnell gave him a "Russian [9-]millimeter."

         ¶ 21 That night, Jordan picked up defendant, drove around the back of apartment complex, and backed into a parking spot. Defendant stated that at this point, he did not know that Ronnell was already there. Defendant and Jordan both got out of the car, and Jordan went to the trunk and "did something, put on a black jacket." Defendant also said he saw Jordan "fumbling in his waist." Defendant watched Jordan, thinking "you ain't fitting to just pop me and try and run in and they crib because he'll get down like this." Defendant and Jordan walked through the parking lot, then Ronnell "come out of nowhere, boom, hit his a***" and Jordan fell. Defendant stated that Ronnell had "scared the s*** out of me" and when Jordan fell, defendant also fell to the ground. Defendant said he then got up and "[b]oom, boom, boom, I get to giving it to him." Defendant further stated that Ronnell hit Jordan first, then he shot Jordan, and then Ronnell shot Jordan again with Jordan's own gun.

         ¶ 22 Defendant told the officers that after the shooting, he ran to the building. Endo, Ronnell, and "B" came to pick him up and Endo said, " 'I love you, bro, man that was love ***. You didn't have to tell us s***. You could have let that n*** come in on me.' " Defendant told Endo that "[w]hen you can't trust somebody you gotta get them out of the way." Defendant said that he feared for his mother's life like Endo feared for his mother's life. Defendant told the officers, "[w]e was fitting to be gone, " and "had bus tickets and everything." Defendant and the others then went to a Holiday Inn Express where they cleaned the guns. On Sunday, Endo took the guns in a bag and "took them whenever he wanted to take them." Near the end of his interview, defendant stated that "if any motherf*** go down for this case, it gotta be me, Ronnell and Endo. Cause Endo said kill the motherf***, me and Ronnell run up on the n***. Bottom line."

         ¶ 23 Thereafter, the State rested its case-in-chief and the defense moved for a directed verdict, which was denied. On the final day of trial, March 29, 2012, the defense rested without presenting any evidence. Prior to deliberation, the court heard argument on jury instructions. The State proposed that the jury should be given an accountability instruction. The defense objected, arguing that the evidence did not show that defendant was responsible for Ronnell's conduct because he did not know that Ronnell was already at the apartment or that he was going to shoot Jordan at that time. According to defense counsel, defendant did not do anything to promote or facilitate this crime. Rather, he merely told Endo that someone may be coming to the apartment complex to rob or kill him. In response, the State asserted that the evidence had shown that defendant worked in conjunction with Ronnell, planning the murder in advance. The State pointed to the defendant's statement where he admitted he asked Endo to give him a gun. The court overruled the defense's objection and allowed the accountability instruction, which stated: "A person is legally responsible for the conduct of another person when, either before or during the commission of the offense, and with the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of the offense, he knowingly solicits, aids, abets, agrees to aid, or attempts to aid the other person in the planning or commission of the offense." Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Criminal, No. 5.03 (4th ed. 2000). Defendant's counsel did not ask for an instruction regarding self-defense or second degree murder.

         ¶ 24 Then, the parties presented their closing arguments. In his closing, defense counsel argued that there was no plot to murder Jordan. He also stated that defendant did not have a gun "until he was scared to death and got one" after seeing Jordan in his car with a weapon on his lap. Defense counsel reminded the jury that defendant told Endo: "Look, this guy is crazy. He is coming to rip you off. You better be prepared." The defense argued that when defendant went to the apartment complex on the night of the murder, he was afraid of Jordan. Later in the closing argument, defense counsel again stated that defendant was scared, because he had just seen Ronnell shoot Jordan and then Ronnell looked at him like he was going to kill him. The State objected to this statement, but the court overruled the objection and reminded the jury that this was argument, not evidence. At the conclusion of ...

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