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People v. Stephenson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

September 12, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ANTHONY STEPHENSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 13-CR-21817; the Hon. William G. Lacey, Judge, presiding.

         Affirmed.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Manuel S. Serritos, 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 Iris G. Ferosie, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

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

          OPINION

          MIKVA JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 After a bench trial, defendant Anthony Stephenson was convicted of burglary and possession of burglary tools and was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of nine and three years, respectively. On appeal, Mr. Stephenson contends that the charging instrument was fatally deficient based on its misidentification of the owner of the burglarized property. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Mr. Stephenson was charged by indictment with two counts of burglary and one count of possession of burglary tools. The indictment for count I stated that Mr. Stephenson committed the offense of burglary on or about October 24, 2013:

"[I]n that HE, KNOWINGLY AND WITHOUT AUTHORITY, ENTERED A BUILDING, TO WIT: A WAREHOUSE BUILDING, THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER, TO WIT: ARONSON FURNITURE CORPORATION, LOCATED AT 2020 NORTH AUSTIN AVENUE, IN CHICAGO, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, WITH THE INTENT TO COMMIT THEREIN A THEFT,
IN VIOLATION OF CHAPTER 720 ACT 5 SECTION 19-1(a) OF THE ILLINOIS COMPILED STATUTES[.]"

         ¶ 4 Because Mr. Stephenson has focused his appeal on the adequacy of the charging instrument, we will address the evidence presented at trial only to the extent necessary for an understanding of the appeal.

         ¶ 5 The State presented two witnesses at trial: Keith Henderson, Jr., and Carlos Salvador, both employees of Peter Aaronson. Each testified that Peter Aaronson owned the warehouse at 2020 North Austin Avenue (the warehouse). When asked whether Peter Aaronson was "of the Peter Aronson Furniture Company, " Mr. Henderson responded "[n]o, it's not."

         ¶ 6 Mr. Henderson and Mr. Salvador testified that, at approximately 7:30 a.m. on October 24, 2013, they were driving together in a pickup truck when they saw three men coming out of the main door of the warehouse, where only employees were permitted to be. Both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Salvador testified that the three men did not have permission to be in the warehouse and that they were carrying bags. Mr. Henderson and Mr. Salvador also both testified that one of the three men was Mr. Stephenson and they saw him carrying a fish tank with a hammer inside of ...


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