Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 10 CR 3493
Honorable Mary Margaret Brosnahan, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Neville and Justice Mason
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Norman Brown appeals from the first-stage dismissal of his
postconviction petition for relief under the Post-Conviction
Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2010)).
Brown contends that the trial court erred in dismissing his
petition because he presented an arguable claim that his
trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and
present to the jury the knife used by the victim during the
altercation in which Brown shot the victim.
2 We affirm. Brown could have raised counsel's failure to
investigate or obtain the knife on direct appeal.
Accordingly, this claim is forfeited and was properly
dismissed as frivolous and patently without merit. And, even
if not forfeited, Brown's allegation that trial counsel
was ineffective for failing to investigate the knife is
meritless. We also correct the mathematical miscalculation in
the fines, fees, and costs order. But, Brown cannot resurrect
in this appeal issues on the merits of assessments (which
would have been properly raised, if preserved, in his direct
appeal) as if he were applying the ministerial correction of
a mathematical calculation called for under section 110-14 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/110-14
(West 2010)). Brown has not persuaded us to ignore the lack
of appellate jurisdiction. See People v. Griffin,
2017 IL App (1st) 143800, ¶ 21 (rejecting effort to
"revest" appellate court with jurisdiction when
jurisdiction never revested in trial court).
4 In September 2010, Brown went to a jury trial on one count
of aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1)
(West 2010)) for shooting Robert Jacks. The facts presented
at trial follow.
5 In 2010, Brown and Mary Chatman were married but divorcing.
Brown lived in Indiana; Chatman in Chicago. They shared
custody of their daughter. On January 10, 2010, Brown was
scheduled to return their daughter to Chatman after a weekend
visitation. Chatman told Jacks, her friend and second-floor
neighbor, that she was worried about how the exchange would
go with Brown.
6 That evening, Brown brought their daughter up to
Chatman's apartment instead of meeting Chatman downstairs
as arranged. Chatman asked Brown to leave and texted Jacks,
alerting him to Brown's arrival. Brown used her bathroom,
made sexual advances toward her, and attempted to discuss
7 Jacks and his daughter, Tracy, left their apartment to meet
the child in the front of the building, but no one was there.
Jacks called the police and went upstairs with Tracy to check
on Chatman. Their arrival agitated Brown. He pushed them out
into the hallway and locked the door. Tracy used a spare key
to reenter, further agitating Brown. He yelled, pushed Tracy
down, and grabbed Jacks's arm. Jacks grabbed Brown's
arm. Tracy was a few feet inside the apartment; Jacks was in
8 Chatman left the apartment with their daughter. Jacks
blocked Brown from following them. Brown backed Jacks and
Tracy into the hall. Tracy was between Brown and Jacks. Jacks
testified that Brown drew his gun and aimed it at him and
Tracy. In response, Jacks pulled out a knife, which he
testified was small, sharp-pointed, and primarily used for
cutting small items like butter. He kept the knife with him
for protection in the neighborhood. Jacks testified that he
did not swing the knife at Brown or threaten him with it.
9 Brown fired at the ground in front of Jacks' feet
several times, hitting Jacks' leg with his last shot.
Jacks was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that
the bullet went through his leg. Tracy testified that she was
in front of her father and never saw a knife.
10 Chicago police officer Edwin Jones, an evidence
technician, recovered one fired .32-caliber bullet and
.32-caliber bullet casing and observed blood on the hallway
floor outside of Chatman's apartment. He recovered
nothing else in either the hallway or apartment.
11 Brown testified that he drew his gun after Jacks pulled
out a kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade, reached around
Tracy, and tried to cut Brown with it, nicking his arm. He
repeatedly told Jacks to drop the knife, telling him
"[d]rop the damn knife[, ] I'm not playing with
you." He "wasn't trying to shoot [Jacks]. [He]
just figured he was a damn fool in the first place."
Asked whether he shot Jacks on purpose or to scare him, Brown
responded that he "just wanted him to drop the
knife" and "wasn't planning on shooting at
all." He "just wanted to let [Jacks] know he
wasn't playing with him" where Jacks had "came
out like a coward and reached around and came straight
at" him. After the shooting, Brown immediately left and
drove back to Indiana. He admitted he discarded the gun along
12 In closing, defense counsel argued that Jacks was
irrational and "unbalanced" and Brown was justified
in discharging his gun because Jacks was coming at him with a
knife and Brown had no alternative. The jury ...