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People v. West

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

January 17, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ESAU WEST, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County 12 CR 1930 Honorable Neil J. Linehan, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Hyman and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          MASON JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Esau West was convicted of (1) armed habitual criminal (AHC), (2) aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW), and (3) unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) by a felon. The trial court imposed a six-year imprisonment term for each conviction, to be served concurrently. On appeal, West claims that (1) his jury waiver was invalid because the trial court failed to adequately admonish him, (2) the AHC statute is facially unconstitutional, and (3) his AUUW conviction must be vacated because it was based on the same physical act-possession of a loaded firearm-as his AHC conviction. Because we find no merit in West's claims regarding the invalidity of his jury waiver and the facial unconstitutionality of the AHC statute, we affirm West's AHC and UUW by a felon convictions and sentences. But, as the State concedes we should, we vacate the less serious AUUW conviction as violating the one-act, one-crime rule and direct the clerk of the circuit court to correct the mittimus accordingly.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Because the police found West in possession of a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition, the State charged him with (1) one count of AHC, (2) four counts of AUUW, and (3) two counts of UUW by a felon. After the trial court denied West's motion to dismiss, his case proceeded to trial.

         ¶ 4 Before his trial began, West signed a written jury waiver form, which was tendered to the trial court. The written jury waiver form stated that "I, the undersigned, do hereby waive the jury trial and submit the above entitled cause to the Court for hearing." Thereafter, the following colloquy occurred between the trial court, defense counsel, and West.

"THE COURT: All right. And your client has executed a Jury Waiver, is that correct?
MR. GREENBERG [Defense Attorney]: Yes.
THE COURT: Mr. West, is this your signature on this document?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Understand that by signing that document and handing it to me, you're indicating that you wish to waive your right to a jury trial? THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Do you understand by tendering that document to me, I'll hear the evidence rather than a jury, is that ...

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