from the Circuit Court of Effingham County. No. 14-CF-25
Honorable Allan F. Lolie, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate
Defender, Ellen J. Curry, Deputy Defender, Ian C. Barnes,
Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate
Defender, Fifth Judicial District, .
Attorneys for Appellee Honorable Bryan M. Kibler, State's
Attorney, Effingham County Government Center Patrick Delfino,
Director, David J. Robinson, Acting Deputy Director, Patrick
D. Daly, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys
JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Cates and Barberis concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 After a stipulated bench trial in the circuit court of
Effingham County, defendant, Albert D. Church, was convicted
of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) under
an accountability theory (720 ILCS 570/401(d)(i) (West 2012))
and sentenced to three years and six months in the Department
of Corrections to be followed by two years of mandatory
supervised release. The issues raised on appeal are (1)
whether defendant was proven guilty of delivery of a
controlled substance by accountability beyond a reasonable
doubt and (2) whether defendant knowingly and voluntarily
waived his right to a jury trial. We affirm.
3 Jessica James, age 29, died as the result of a heroin
overdose on February 5, 2014. Jay Miller (Jay),
defendant's roommate, sold the heroin to James on
February 4, 2014. On February 12, 2014, defendant was charged
by information with one count of delivery of a controlled
substance on a theory of accountability after a police
investigation revealed that defendant was involved in
arranging the heroin purchase between James and Jay.
Defendant was later charged by indictment with the same
count. Defendant entered a written plea of not guilty and a
demand for a speedy trial.
4 On June 27, 2014, the State filed a second count, charging
defendant with criminal drug conspiracy (720 ILCS 570/405.1
(West 2012)). On August 28, 2014, defendant stated on the
record that he waived his right to a jury trial as he
simultaneously signed a waiver. The prosecutor stated that as
"part of the consideration that [defendant] used in
waiving his jury trial right was that the People were going
to dismiss Count 2, and the trial before your Honor will
solely be on Count 1." On September 17, 2014, the case
proceeded via a stipulated bench trial.
5 Defendant admitted that his roommate, Jay, supplied heroin
to James. The only point of contention during the stipulated
trial was whether defendant was accountable for Jay's
delivery of the heroin to James. The State submitted six
6 People's Exhibit 1 contains the stipulated facts.
People's Exhibit 2 is a series of screen shots of
Facebook conversations between a Facebook account in the name
of Jessica James and an account in the name of defendant.
People's Exhibit 3 shows incoming and outgoing calls and
text messages from defendant's phone and includes
communications between him, James, Jay, and Jay's
girlfriend, Tomeka Price. People's Exhibit 4 is a map of
central Illinois between Effingham and Decatur and shows the
digital pinging of Christopher Miller's (Christopher)
phone between the two cities on February 4, 2014. Christopher
gave a stipulated statement that he and Jay (no relation)
went to Decatur on February 4, 2014, purchased heroin, and
then returned to Effingham. People's Exhibit 5 is the
transcript of defendant's interview with police that took
place on February 7, 2014. People's Exhibit 6 is a DVD
copy of the interview.
7 The State introduced Facebook conversations that took place
between defendant and James, dating back to April 2013.
Several of the conversations revolve around James's
attempts to procure drugs. For example, in July 2013, the
following conversation occurred between defendant and James:
"[James:] can u get anything? Like pills, etc?
[Defendant:] hold on let me ask some ppl
[James:] omg please
[Defendant:] wait what kind lol
or anything reall[y]
[Defendant:] right on I just didn't know up or down
[James:] yep down
or h possibl? Ahh need something
do u still have my number ...