from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 13CF418 Honorable
Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Steigmann and DeArmond concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 A jury found defendant, Staten D. Taylor, guilty of
aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a) (West
2012)) for beating his brother-in-law. The Macon County
circuit court sentenced defendant to 15 years in prison.
Defendant appealed, claiming (1) he was denied a fair trial
on several grounds, (2) his trial attorney rendered
ineffective assistance, (3) the court failed to give adequate
consideration to his pro se allegations of
ineffective assistance of counsel, and (4) his sentence was
excessive. We affirmed defendant's convictions, finding
(1) he forfeited review of the errors he claimed had deprived
him of a fair trial, (2) his ineffective assistance of
counsel claims should be raised in postconviction proceedings
where a better record can be made, (3) the court conducted an
adequate Krankel inquiry (People v.
Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (1984)) into
his pro se posttrial allegations of ineffective
assistance of counsel, and (4) his sentence was not
excessive. People v. Taylor, 2015 IL App (4th)
140060, 44 N.E.3d 1234. Defendant filed a petition for leave
to appeal with the Supreme Court of Illinois.
2 On September 27, 2017, the supreme court denied
defendant's petition for leave to appeal but issued a
supervisory order (People v. Taylor, No. 120425
(Ill. Sept. 27, 2017) (nonprecedential supervisory order on
denial of petition for leave to appeal)), directing this
court to vacate our prior judgment and reconsider our
decision in light of People v. Veach, 2017 IL
120649. There our supreme court noted "ineffective
assistance of counsel claims may sometimes be better suited
to collateral proceedings but only when the record is
incomplete or inadequate for resolving the claim."
Veach, 2017 IL 120649, ¶ 46. On remand to this
court, the parties filed supplemental briefs, addressing the
application of the Veach decision to the facts of
this case. On December 1, 2017, this court filed a new
opinion, in which we reconsidered our decision in light of
Veach and again found defendant's ineffective
assistance of counsel claims should be raised on collateral
review because they depended on proof of matters outside the
3 Defendant filed a petition for rehearing, asserting this
court's December 2017 opinion failed to meaningfully
address Veach and acknowledge the parties'
supplemental briefs on remand. We granted defendant's
petition for rehearing. The State filed an answer to the
petition for rehearing, and defendant filed a reply to the
answer. This court has again reconsidered defendant's
ineffective assistance of counsel arguments in light of
Veach and now addresses those claims. We affirm the
circuit court's judgment.
4 I. BACKGROUND
5 Dawnette Sigmon, defendant's estranged wife, began
living in a rented single- family home on Church Street in
Decatur with her three young children in September 2012, a
few months before she met defendant. Dawnette and defendant
met in November 2012 and married in January 2013. Dawnette
asked defendant to move out of the home in March 2013 after
an undisclosed "incident." After this
"incident, " Dawnette and her children frequently
stayed with a friend in Warrensburg. Whenever Dawnette wanted
to return to her Church Street home, she would call on her
brother, Jashua Sigmon, to check the home to ensure no one,
meaning defendant, was there. On April 5, 2013, she reached
out to Jashua and asked for a security check of the home.
6 Jashua testified at defendant's jury trial that on
April 5, 2013, he received a call from his sister, asking him
to check on her house. At approximately 10 p.m., Jashua drove
to the Church Street residence, where he saw defendant
standing in the driveway, talking to individuals in a van
from the van's driver's side window. Jashua parked
his vehicle behind the van and approached defendant, telling
defendant he was not supposed to be there. Defendant told
Jashua that Dawnette had given him permission to stay there
for the last few days. As Jashua approached, defendant shoved
him, and Jashua shoved defendant back. Defendant punched
Jashua in the face. Jashua grabbed defendant in an attempt to
take him to the ground. An unidentified man exited the van
and grabbed Jashua from behind, holding his arms behind his
back while defendant continuously punched Jashua in the face.
The man threw Jashua to the ground, where defendant and the
man repeatedly kicked Jashua in his back. Jashua crawled to
his vehicle while being kicked. He estimated the two men
kicked him between 15 and 25 times. Defendant eventually told
the man to stop the beating, saying Jashua had enough to know
not to " 'come around here anymore.' "
7 Jashua made it to his car and drove home, where he and his
girlfriend cleaned the blood from his face. He said he did
not want to call the police because he was on parole and he
feared he would be sent back to prison. He went to the
emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a broken nose. He
was released after several hours and had surgery to repair
his nose several days later.
8 Dawnette also testified, corroborating Jashua's
testimony regarding her request for the welfare check on her
home. She denied giving defendant permission to be at her
house. She said his name was not on the lease, he did not
contribute to the rental payments, and he did not have a key.
9 Jason Danner, a Decatur police officer, testified he met
with Jashua after the hospital had called the police to
report the battery incident. Officer Danner said both Jashua
and Dawnette cooperated with his investigation. After
speaking with the siblings, Officer Danner drove to the
Church Street residence, hoping to find defendant. He
eventually saw defendant at the house and arrested him there.
Officer Danner noticed defendant had a cut on his finger and
his fists were red and swollen.
10 In defendant's case in chief, he presented, by
stipulation, the testimony of Greg Bell, defendant's
parole officer. If Bell were called to the witness stand, he
would testify that defendant was on parole on the date of the
incident. He would also testify that defendant's home
record listed his address as the Church Street residence.
11 After deliberations, the jury found defendant guilty of
aggravated domestic battery. Defendant filed a pro
se motion for ineffective assistance of counsel. The
circuit court conducted a Krankel hearing, wherein
defendant complained his counsel did not (1) introduce
evidence on his behalf at trial, (2) meet with him to discuss
the trial, and (3) discuss the State's plea offer before
trial. The court asked defendant to explain each allegation
in detail. The court then asked defendant's counsel to
respond. To the court's satisfaction, counsel explained
the issues complained of were either (1) matters involving
trial strategy or (2) nonmeritorious. The court denied
12 Counsel filed a posttrial motion, claiming the State's
evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict.
The court denied the motion and proceeded to sentencing. We
note that, on the day before the sentencing hearing,
defendant filed a pro se motion
"appealing" the circuit court's denial of his
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.
13 At sentencing, defendant testified on his own behalf in
mitigation. He said that, at the time of the incident, he and
Dawnette were married and living together. He was employed
and contributing to the household expenses. They were
expecting a child together. With regard to the incident,
defendant explained he attempted to break up the fight
between the unidentified male and Jashua. He said he spoke
with Jashua after the incident and apologized. They maintain
a personal relationship. Defendant admitted he has a problem
with alcohol addiction.
14 During sentencing recommendations from counsel, the State
advised the court defendant was to be sentenced as a Class X
offender because he had twice previously been convicted of
residential burglary, a Class 1 felony, in 1995 and 2001. See
730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) (West 2012). After considering
defendant's testimony, the presentence investigation
report, counsels' recommendations, and ...