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People v. Smock

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

April 4, 2018

LENARD A. SMOCK, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Saline County. No. 13-CF-328 Honorable Walden E. Morris, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Jacqueline L. Bullard, Deputy Defender, Warner S. Brockett, Assistant Appellate Defender, Catherine Hart, Assistant Appellate Defender, Attorneys for Appellant

          Hon. Michael Henshaw, Patrick Delfino, Director, David J. Robinson, Acting Deputy Director, Chelsea E. Kasten, Staff Attorney, Attorneys for Appellee

          JUSTICE CATES delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.Presiding Justice Barberis and Justice Welch concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Saline County, the defendant, Lenard A. Smock, was convicted of methamphetamine possession (720 ILCS 646/60(a) (West 2014)) and disorderly conduct (720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1) (West 2014)). He was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment for possession of methamphetamine and 30 days in the Saline County jail for disorderly conduct to run concurrently with the 5-year sentence. On appeal, the defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained incident to a warrantless arrest in his home, (2) the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to appoint substitute counsel from outside the public defender's office, (3) the circuit clerk erroneously assessed $124.80 in witness fees, and (4) he is entitled to a $5 per diem presentence credit against his eligible fines. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the defendant's convictions and remand for further proceedings.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On November 27, 2013, the defendant was charged by criminal information with possession of methamphetamine (count I), possession of a hypodermic needle (count II), and disorderly conduct (count III). These charges arose from the investigation of a noise complaint that resulted in the warrantless arrest of the defendant inside of his trailer.

         ¶ 4 The trial court appointed Assistant Public Defender Lowell Tison to represent the defendant. On December 12, 2013, the defendant instructed Tison, via notarized letter, to file a motion to suppress evidence, claiming that the police had violated the defendant's fourth and fourteenth amendment rights when they entered his home to effectuate a warrantless arrest. Despite this letter, Tison did not move to suppress the evidence. On March 21, 2014, the defendant filed a pro se "Motion to Quash and Suppress." At a hearing held that same day, Tison declined to adopt the pro se motion on the defendant's behalf. The defendant then asked the trial court to appoint him an attorney from outside of the public defender's office. The defendant explained to the court that he had prior experience with having been represented by the assistant public defenders in Saline County and did not believe that they would adequately represent his interests. The court refused to appoint substitute counsel, and the defendant opted to proceed as his own attorney.

         ¶ 5 On April 1, 2014, the trial court held a hearing on the defendant's pro se motion to suppress. The defendant and the two arresting officers testified at the hearing. Generally, the testimony established that on November 23, 2013, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Detective Curt Hustedde and police officer Kenny Shires responded to a noise complaint from a resident in a trailer park. They proceeded to 28 West Park Street in Harrisburg, Saline County. The officers met with the complainant, Bradley Reed, who indicated that someone inside the trailer next door was banging on its walls, while yelling and cursing. As the officers were speaking with Reed, they too were able to hear the noise coming from inside the trailer. The officers asked Reed if he would like to file a complaint against the defendant for disorderly conduct. Reed indicated he would like to do so and filed a written statement with the officers alleging the defendant had committed the offense of disorderly conduct. The officers proceeded next door to the defendant's residence to arrest him for disorderly conduct.

         ¶ 6 The defendant testified that when the officers knocked on his front door, he told them three times not to enter his house without a warrant. He assured the police officers he "would cease and desist as far as the noise was concerned." The officers told the defendant they would not enter his home. Nevertheless, when he opened the door, Officer Shires informed the defendant that he was under arrest and reached out to grab the defendant by the hand.

         ¶ 7 On cross-examination, the defendant was asked by the State whether the officers asked him to come out of his home. The defendant responded, "Yes, sir, they did. And I told them I wasn't coming outside." The defendant then testified that when Officer Shires reached out to grab him, he ran inside his trailer. The defendant stated that when he ran, "They chased me from my porch into my living room." One of the officers tazed the defendant in his living room before placing him under arrest.

         ¶ 8 On direct examination, Detective Curt Hustedde testified that when he arrived at Reed's residence, Reed expressed his frustration that the officers had been there in the past because of the banging on the wall and other disturbances caused by the defendant, yet nothing had been done. Detective Hustedde indicated that if Reed were willing to file a complaint against the defendant for disorderly conduct, the officers would arrest the defendant. Reed signed the written statement, and the officers proceeded next door to arrest the defendant. The defendant refused to come outside when Detective Hustedde and Officer Shires knocked on the defendant's door. The officers assured the defendant that they just needed to talk to him. When asked whether the defendant came outside, Detective Hustedde responded, "He didn't come outside, he opened the door." Detective Hustedde further testified that when the defendant retreated into the trailer, the officers pursued him through the open door, intending to place the defendant under arrest. When they entered the kitchen area, the defendant threatened Officer Shires with a two-liter plastic bottle. Detective Hustedde explained that this was his reason for tazing the defendant to subdue him. The officers then placed the defendant under arrest.

         ¶ 9 On cross-examination, Detective Hustedde testified that he had been to the defendant's trailer on other occasions because of complaints from the residents in the trailer park. On some of those prior occasions, the defendant had been outside of the trailer "wandering and banging." However, on the night in question, they were responding to "the noise from inside [the defendant's] residence." Detective Hustedde confirmed that the defendant told the officers to leave his property if they did not have a warrant. He also testified that he told the defendant that they just needed to talk with him and that they would not leave until he opened the door. On redirect, ...

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