JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Chief Justice Karmeier and Justices Freeman, Thomas,
Kilbride, Garman, and Theis concurred in the judgment and
1 Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Peoria
County, the defendant, Archie Howard, was convicted of
violating section 11-9.3(b) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720
ILCS 5/11-9.3(b) (West 2010)). This provision generally makes
it unlawful for a child sex offender to knowingly loiter
within 500 feet of a school while persons under the age of 18
2 Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence presented at
his trial was insufficient to prove him guilty of
"loitering" within the meaning of the statute and
that the statutory provision was unconstitutionally vague.
The appellate court affirmed defendant's conviction, with
one justice dissenting. 2016 IL App (3d) 130959.
3 For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the
5 At trial, Peoria police officer Chris Lenover testified
that on the morning of November 8, 2012, he was patrolling in
the area near Irving Elementary School when he noticed a car
parked "partially in" a T-intersection in front of
the school. Lenover stated that the car was about 15 feet
from school property and was facing toward the school. It was
a weekday, and according to Lenover, there were 80 to 100
young children playing in the school yard.
6 Lenover ran the license plate on the vehicle and discovered
that the car was owned by defendant, who was a registered
child sex offender. Lenover approached the parked car,
verified that the driver was defendant, and asked defendant
what was going on. According to Lenover, defendant admitted
that he was a child sex offender and that he knew he was not
supposed to be around the school. Lenover asked defendant to
exit the vehicle and informed him that he was under arrest
for loitering within 500 feet of a school.
7 Following Lenover's testimony, the trial court took
judicial notice of the fact that defendant is a child sex
offender, having been convicted in 2003 of aggravated
criminal sexual abuse involving a minor.
8 Defendant, testifying on his own behalf, stated that on the
morning of November 8, 2012, he drove a friend, Tumika
Jordan, to the grocery store and then to a McDonald's
restaurant, where she purchased lunches for her
grandchildren, who attended Irving Elementary School.
Defendant then drove Jordan to the school so she could
deliver the lunches. Defendant stated that he dropped Jordan
off and then parked on a street in front of the school.
Defendant remained inside the car while he waited for Jordan
to return and spent the time balancing his checkbook and
9 Defendant testified that when officer Lenover approached
him, he explained that he was waiting for a friend who had
gone into the school to deliver lunch to her grandchildren.
As they were speaking, Jordan returned to his vehicle and
confirmed to Lenover that defendant had given her a ride to
her grandchildren's school so she could drop off lunch
for them and that she had been inside the school for only
four to five minutes. Defendant denied telling Lenover that
he knew he was not supposed to be near the school.
10 After hearing this evidence, the trial court found that
defendant was in his parked car within 500 feet of the school
while children were present and that he was, therefore,
"in direct violation" of section 11-9.3(b). The
court further held that the "reason given for
[defendant's] presence at the school has no merit in this
case." Defendant was sentenced to 30 months'
11 The appellate court affirmed defendant's conviction,
with one justice dissenting. Interpreting section 11-9.3(b),
the majority held that a child sex offender who is neither a
parent nor a guardian of a school child "loiters, "
within the meaning of the statute, if he remains within
"the restricted school zone for any purpose, lawful or
unlawful, while children under age 18 are present." 2016
IL App (3d) 130959, ¶ 40. The court rejected
defendant's contention that the statute is
unconstitutionally vague and concluded that the evidence was