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People v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

July 31, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KEVIN JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 4451 Honorable Frank G. Zelezinski, Judge, presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE CONNORS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Simon and Mikva concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CONNO PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Kevin Jones was convicted of failing to register weekly to the Robbins police department in violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) (730 ILCS 150/3(a) (West 2012)). The trial court sentenced him to 3 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, arguing that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt both that he was required to register as a sex offender pursuant to SORA and that he lacked a fixed place of residence. For the reasons set forth herein, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         ¶ 2 Defendant was charged with one count of violation of section 6 of SORA (730 ILCS 150/6 (West 2012)) in that, "having been previously convicted of attempt criminal sexual assault under case No. 78-5878, he lacked a fixed residence and failed to report weekly with the Robbins police department." Defendant waived his right to a jury trial, and on October 14, 2014, the case proceeded to bench trial.

         ¶ 3 Officer Samuel Olloway testified that, on January 2, 2013, he was working as a day shift sergeant supervisor for the Robbins police department when he learned that a U.S. Marshal had stopped defendant in Robbins pursuant to an active warrant out of South Montgomery County.[1]Olloway took defendant into custody based on the warrant and transported him back to the Robbins police department. There, defendant was Mirandized and fingerprinted so that Olloway could view defendant's complete criminal background. Olloway learned that defendant was a registered sex offender. Olloway spoke with records department officer Tawasha Walker and inquired into whether defendant was up to date on his sex offender registration. After speaking with Walker, Olloway spoke to defendant, who indicated that he was homeless and unaware that he was required to register weekly. Defendant also indicated to Olloway that he was not up to date with his registration.

         ¶ 4 On cross examination, Olloway conceded that none of his reports detailed his conversation with defendant and that there was no documentation which indicated that defendant waived his Miranda rights.

         ¶ 5 Officer Tawasha Walker testified that she was employed as a records advisor officer for the Robbins police department. On June 29, 2012, defendant came into the Robbins police department to be registered pursuant to SORA. Walker had registered defendant in the past. Defendant had previously registered as homeless and, on June 29, 2012, did not report a change of this status. Walker went over a SORA registration form with defendant, and defendant initialed next to stipulations regarding an offender's duty to report. Walker explained to him that he was required to register on a weekly basis. Defendant's signature appears under paragraph stating "I have read and/or had read to me the above requirements. It has been explained to me and I understand my duty to register on or before July 5th, of 2012." After Walker testified to the contents of defendant's SORA registration form, the State entered the form into evidence.

         ¶ 6 Defendant did not register or report to the Robbins police department on or after July 5, 2012, and Walker did not receive information about defendant registering with any other police department. Walker tried to contact defendant but was unable to do so. In January of 2013, Walker received an Illinois State Police LEADS notification which stated that defendant was "overdue for registration." Walker then instructed officers of the Robbins police department, including Olloway, to try to "reach [defendant] so that he could come in and register."

         ¶ 7 On cross examination, Walker stated that officers from the police department generally "canvas the area" to determine whether a registrant is homeless. She explained that she does not personally go through procedures to verify if a registrant is homeless but that the information provided on the registration is verbally provided by the registrants.

         ¶ 8 The State then entered into evidence a certified copy of defendant's 1979 conviction for attempt rape, for which he initially received 24 months' probation. Defendant violated this probation and was sentenced to 4 years' imprisonment.[2]

         ¶ 9 Defendant made a motion for a directed verdict, which the trial court denied. The trial court found defendant guilty of failure to register. Defendant did not file any posttrial motions. On November 13, 2014, the trial court sentenced defendant to three years' imprisonment.

         ¶ 10 Defendant appeals, arguing that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had a duty to register under SORA. Alternatively, he argues that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he lacked a fixed place of residence.

         ¶ 11 As an initial matter, the State argues that defendant has forfeited his claims as he did not raise this issue at trial or in a posttrial motion. However, "when a defendant makes a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, his or her claim is not subject to the waiver rule and may be raised ...


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