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People v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

September 21, 2016

JOSHUA JACKSON, Defendant, Appellee.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 12 CR 920 (02) The Honorable Thaddeus L. Wilson Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE LAVIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Fitzgerald Smith and Justice Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Joshua Jackson was convicted of armed robbery with a firearm and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment for armed robbery with a firearm, which included a 15-year enhancement for possessing a firearm during the offense, and 6 years' imprisonment for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, to be served concurrently. On appeal, defendant asserts that (1) the evidence was insufficient to show that the object used in the offense was a firearm; (2) he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing in light of recent legislation; (3) his sentence was unconstitutional; and (4) the fines, fees and costs assessed against him must be reduced. We vacate certain fines, and order that presentence custody credit be applied against others, but affirm the judgment in all other respects.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On November 22, 2011, two individuals put a gun to Quintin Kimbrough's back, beat him and absconded with his backpack. Defendant and codefendant Randy McKnight were subsequently charged with armed robbery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2) (West 2010)), armed robbery with a dangerous weapon (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(1) (West 2010)), aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(f)(1) (West 2010)) and aggravated battery on a public way (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(c) (West 2010)). Defendant, who was 17 years old at the time of the offense, was tried as an adult.[1]

         ¶ 4 At trial, Kimbrough testified that at about 7:30 p.m. on the night in question, he was walking north on Pulaski when three men approached him. Kimbrough did not recognize them at the time, but later identified defendant from a photo array and a physical line-up. When they asked if Kimbrough had any change, he responded that he did not. The three men then crossed the street, but Kimbrough kept an eye on them as they continued walking on Pulaski. After one of the men, who was never identified, turned onto a side street, defendant and codefendant returned to Kimbrough's side of the street.

         ¶ 5 Pulaski was well-lit from streetlights and automobile headlights. As Kimbrough approached a somewhat darker section of Pulaski, he felt "the long piece of a gun" on his upper back, just above the top of the backpack he was wearing. Kimbrough acknowledged, however, that he had not seen a gun at this point. He quickly said, "You don't have to do anything. I'll give you [sic] it to you." Defendant and codefendant told Kimbrough to keep walking and subsequently took his backpack, which contained clothes, an iPod, credit cards and a couple of dollars. Defendant and codefendant then pushed Kimbrough into a dark area and instructed him not to look back. Despite this instruction, he looked back and was immediately struck in his right eye with the handle of a firearm. Furthermore, he recognized the object as a firearm because he had seen firearms when visiting relatives who hunt.

         ¶ 6 When Kimbrough fell to the ground, defendant and codefendant began kicking and hitting him. After being struck several times, Kimbrough got up and attempted to escape his attackers but was hit in his left eye and knocked him to the ground again. Eventually, Kimbrough made his way into the middle of the street, where a bus driver assisted him. Paramedics took Kimbrough to the hospital, where he received treatment for his badly swollen eyes, bruised arms and bruised back. He ultimately had surgery on both eyes.

         ¶ 7 Officer Deltoro testified that when he responded to the scene, Kimbrough was "badly battered" and "[h]is face, his eye was swollen, his right eye, bloody, very huge, bad shape." In addition, Kimbrough described his attackers as "[t]hree male blacks, young, somewhere between the ages of 17 to 21 *** but average height, maybe 5-foot-10 to 6 feet, thin."

         ¶ 8 Several witnesses testified on defendant's behalf. Justin Jackson, defendant's brother, testified that defendant was at school on the day in question. Additionally, Justin, Tamara Boughton and Danisha Cockrell testified that they, as well as defendant, attended basketball games in the gym until 7 or 8 p.m. Afterward, Justin waited with Cockrell and defendant for a southbound bus, and Boughton crossed the street to wait for a northbound bus. When the southbound bus arrived, defendant and Cockrell boarded it. This was the last time Justin and Boughton saw defendant that night. Justin testified that at no time did he see defendant with a firearm or with codefendant. Additionally, Cockrell testified that she rode the bus with defendant until the Pulaski and Lake stop, where he exited the bus and walked up the stairs to the Green Line train platform.

         ¶ 9 Defendant testified on his own behalf that he neither robbed nor battered Kimbrough, and was never with codefendant on the day in question. Instead, he spent the day at school and subsequently attended basketball games with Justin, Cockrell and Boughton. Afterward, he took the bus home. Although defendant initially told police that he was at wrestling practice after school that day, the police reminded him that practice had been cancelled, leading defendant to remember that he had been watching basketball instead.

         ¶ 10 Following closing arguments, the trial court found defendant guilty of all counts and entered a special finding of great bodily harm. The court ultimately sentenced defendant to 21 years' imprisonment for armed robbery with a firearm and 5 years' imprisonment for aggravated battery, to be served concurrently. Defendant's armed robbery sentence included a 15-year enhancement for possession of a firearm.

         ¶ 11 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 12 A. ...

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