Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Richardson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

May 12, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAVONTE RICHARDSON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 11 CR 14227 Honorable Dennis J. Porter, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Delort concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CUNNINGHAM JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant-appellant Javonte Richardson was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (UUWF). On appeal, the defendant argues that: (1) his prior conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW), premised on a statutory provision held unconstitutional by our supreme court, could not serve as a predicate felony to support his UUWF conviction; (2) the State's indictment for the charge of UUWF "failed to state a cause of action" because the defendant's predicate AUUW felony was based on an unconstitutional statute; and (3) the arresting police officer's pat-down search of the defendant was unconstitutional. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 In 2010, in a prior case, the State charged the defendant (who was known at the time as Pierre Robinson), with a Class 4 violation of Illinois' AUUW statute. See 720 ILCS 5/24- 1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) (West 2010). The defendant pleaded guilty to the AUUW violation, a felony, and was sentenced to two years' probation.

         ¶ 4 This subsequent case arose in August 2011, when the defendant was arrested in possession of a handgun following a traffic stop in Chicago, Illinois. The defendant was charged with one count of UUWF and nine counts of AUUW. The UUWF charge alleged that the defendant possessed a firearm after being adjudicated a felon, based on his 2010 guilty plea to AUUW.

         ¶ 5 Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, arguing that the arresting officers did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle in which the defendant was riding. On October 14, 2011, the trial court conducted a hearing on the motion to suppress. Ayokunle Akinbusuyi, the Chicago police officer who arrested the defendant, testified that he and his partner, Officer Mark Johnson, were on patrol on August 21, 2011 at 11:09 p.m. when they received a report of a vehicle theft at 742 East 79th Street. The officers drove to the address and spoke to the victim of the theft, Aaron Edwards. Edwards described the stolen vehicle as a green, Ford Taurus station wagon. Edwards was unable to provide a license plate number or any other distinguishing characteristics of the car but did tell the officers that his culinary tools were inside the vehicle.

         ¶ 6 Approximately ninety minutes after leaving Edwards, while driving in the area of 7400 South St. Lawrence Avenue, the officers identified a vehicle matching the description provided by Edwards. The officers stopped the vehicle and observed two individuals inside, the driver and a passenger (the defendant) in the front passenger seat. Officer Akinbusuyi approached the vehicle from the passenger's side while Officer Johnson approached the driver's side. Officer Johnson requested that the driver exit the vehicle after the driver was unable to produce a driver's license or insurance information. As the driver exited the vehicle, Officer Akinbusuyi observed the defendant mumbling and reaching "into the center console with his right hand but with his left hand it was stuffing something in his waistband." Officer Akinbusuyi testified that he found the defendant's actions unusual, because "he had no reason to be doing that after I verbally told him let me see your hands." Officer Akinbusuyi testified that his "best judgment was that he was hiding something in his waistband." Based on his experience, he believed that "[i]t was mostly likely a weapon, drugs or something he didn't want me to find."

         ¶ 7 Officer Akinbusuyi asked the defendant to exit the vehicle, and the defendant complied. Officer Akinbusuyi handcuffed the defendant, "patted down the area" and discovered a handgun in the defendant's waistband. The officers subsequently searched the vehicle and found Edwards' culinary tools.

         ¶ 8 The defendant testified at the hearing on the motion to suppress that Eric Cochran, the driver of the green Ford Taurus, had picked him up approximately ten to fifteen minutes before the police stopped the vehicle. The defendant recalled that Cochran told the officers that he did not have a driver's license or insurance information. However, the defendant's testimony differed from Officer Akinbusuyi's testimony that he conducted a pat-down search. According to the defendant, the officers removed Cochran and himself from the vehicle before commencing a search of the vehicle, in which the officers found both the firearm and Edwards' culinary tools.

         ¶ 9 The trial court, in its findings of fact, adopted the testimony of Officer Akinbusuyi. The court initially agreed with the defendant that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, and thus granted the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence on October 14, 2011. The State filed a motion to reconsider, arguing that the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle because it fit the description of a vehicle reported stolen in the area earlier that evening. After hearing argument, the trial court reversed its previous ruling and denied the defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence on November 4, 2011. At that time, the defendant elected a bench trial.

         ¶ 10 The court conducted a bench trial on January 18, 2012, during which Officer Akinbusuyi gave testimony consistent with his earlier hearing testimony. Also at trial, the State entered a certified copy of conviction showing that the defendant had pleaded guilty to the Class 4 AUUW felony charge in 2010. No further evidence was introduced at the bench trial. After closing arguments, the trial court found the defendant guilty of count one, the UUWF violation, and ruled that counts six, seven, and ten, merged into count one. The State declined to prosecute the remaining counts. Thus, the defendant was convicted of a single count of UUWF.

         ¶ 11 The defendant filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the State failed to prove his guilt and that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The trial court denied the defendant's motion for a new trial. On February 17, 2012, the court sentenced the defendant to four years' imprisonment, to be followed by ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.