Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 CR 15650
Honorable Gregory Robert Ginex, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hoffman and Justice Cunningham
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 After a joint jury trial with co-defendant Saul Sandoval,
defendant Juan Ramos was convicted of armed robbery with a
firearm and sentenced to 29 years in prison. Critical to the
State's case was historical cell site analysis (HCSA)
evidence which was presented to the jury in the form of
testimony from a detective. We find that this evidence was
inadmissible hearsay and was prejudicial. We reverse
defendant's conviction and remand for a new trial.
3 In June 2015, the State charged defendant by indictment
with, among other things, one count of armed robbery. 720
ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2) (West 2014). The gist of the indictment was
that defendant robbed Francisco Vivas of jewelry while
brandishing a firearm. The case proceeded to a jury trial.
4 At trial, 71-year-old Francisco Vivas testified that on
August 3, 2014, he went to Swap-O-Rama, a flea market located
at 42nd Street and Ashland Avenue in Chicago, to sell
jewelry. Around 4:30 p.m., Vivas left and drove to the Berwyn
Fruit Market, a grocery store on Harlem Avenue in Berwyn,
Illinois. To travel to the Berwyn Fruit Market from
Swap-O-Rama, Vivas took Ashland Avenue to Interstate 55
(I-55), exited I-55 at Harlem Avenue, and proceeded north on
Harlem Avenue until reaching the destination. After
completing that stop, Vivas drove to Kathleen Snyder's
house in Riverside, Illinois, some 1.5 miles away from the
Berwyn Fruit Market, to drop off some jewelry.
5 When Vivas arrived at Snyder's house, two men
approached him from behind and attacked him. One of the men
pulled Vivas's shirt over his head, and the other took
his car keys, opened his car, and removed several bags
containing gold jewelry. At that point, Snyder came outside
and saw that Vivas was under attack. Vivas heard Snyder
yelling and saw one of the men point a gun at her and tell
her to "shut up."
6 Kathleen Snyder testified that she saw Vivas pull into her
driveway around 5:30 p.m. When she walked outside to greet
him, she heard him saying "call the police" and saw
a person, whom she later identified at trial as defendant,
beating Vivas's head against one of her car's tires.
Snyder also saw another man, whom she later identified at
trial as Sandoval, a little further away "dancing around
or something." Snyder testified that the attackers had
t-shirts covering their faces like masks, so that only their
eyes and the middle portion of their faces were visible.
Snyder asked defendant and Sandoval what they were doing. In
response, according to Snyder, Sandoval pointed a gun at
Snyder and said, "[t]his doesn't concern you,
bitch.' " They fled in a van shortly thereafter.
7 Two days later, Vivas and Snyder went to the police station
to view a lineup. When the subjects were first presented,
their faces were covered with t-shirts so that only their
eyes and the middle portion of their faces were visible,
similarly to how the attackers appeared during the robbery.
However, Snyder told a police officer that one of the
suspects had a goatee and asked that the suspects lower their
masks. Snyder then saw that one of the men had a goatee. That
man was defendant, whom Snyder informed the police was the
person she saw assaulting Vivas. Snyder later identified
Sandoval as the person who pulled a gun on her based on the
fact that he had "goofy" eyes. Vivas did not make
an identification because his head had been covered by his
own shirt during much of the attack. However, on August 8,
Vivas identified two pieces of jewelry-an earring and a
bracelet-that the police recovered during their investigation
which he claimed were taken during the robbery.
8 Detective Frank Lara testified that he worked for the
Riverside police department and that he assisted with the
robbery investigation. Detective Lara testified that he
interviewed Snyder at her home. After that conversation, he
explained that he "was looking for two male
Hispanics" who had t-shirts wrapped around their heads
and faces and "were between 5'8" and
5'10" and *** had medium builds."
9 The following day, Detective Lara went to the Berwyn Fruit
Market. There, he met with the store manager and viewed
surveillance footage of the store's parking lot. The
video showed that at 5 p.m., a white Acura driven by Vivas
pulled into the lot and parked. Vivas exited his vehicle and
entered the store. A silver SUV then drove down the parking
aisle towards the store, passed Vivas's car, and entered
the parking lot of an O'Reilly's Auto Shop located
across the street, at which point the SUV parked. Twenty
minutes later, Vivas returned to his car, left the parking
lot, and began traveling North on Harlem Avenue. When Vivas
passed O'Reilly's Auto Shop, the silver SUV exited
the parking lot and began traveling north on Harlem Avenue.
10 Detective Lara checked the SUV's license plate number
and learned that it was registered to Rene Abeja. That lead
ultimately led Detective Lara to a residence at 4909 West
30th Street in Cicero, Illinois, where Detective Lara set up
surveillance with another police unit. Detective Lara
observed three people emerge from a house, walk into an
alley, and load furniture and boxes into a white truck. Two
of the individuals, whom Detective Lara later identified as
defendant and Sandoval, were male Hispanics, between
5'8" and 5'10", had medium builds, and had
shirts wrapped around their heads. A short while later,
Detective Lara observed the silver SUV which he had seen on
the surveillance footage emerge from the alley, drive past
Detective Lara's car, and park. As the SUV passed
Detective Lara, he saw Abeja in the driver's seat. At
that point, Detective Lara pulled behind the SUV, activated
his emergency lights, and detained Abeja. At the same time,
officers from the other surveillance unit went into the alley
and detained defendant, Moya, and Sandoval. Custodial
searches produced a credit card, cell phone, and a gold
earring from defendant, and a cell phone from Sandoval.
11 On August 5, 2014, Detective Lara searched the SUV and
recovered a clear necklace and a gold bracelet. Vivas
identified the bracelet as belonging to him. Later in the
investigation, Detective Lara went to Swap-O-Rama, where he
met with the manager and viewed surveillance footage from
August 3, 2014. That footage showed Vivas leave Swap-O-Rama
around 4:30 p.m., get into his car, and leave traveling south
on Ashland Avenue. Then, "within a minute or two, "
a silver SUV exited the parking lot and also began traveling
south on Ashland ...