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People v. Steger

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

May 4, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PATRICK STEGER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of De Kalb County. No. 13-CF-537 Honorable Robert P. Pilmer, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Schostok concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          BURKE, JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Patrick Steger, was charged by information with one count of felony disorderly conduct (720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(6) (West 2012)) and by complaint with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct (id. § 26-1(a)(1)). The felony information alleged that, on or about August 2, 2013, defendant

"knowingly called 911 for the purpose of making a false complaint and reporting information when at the time the call or transmission was made, he knew there was no reasonable ground for making the call and further knew that the call could result in the emergency response of any public safety agency in that said defendant called 911 and reported that he needed an officer with the State Police to remove his child because the Deputy on scene was unwilling to do his job."

         The misdemeanor complaint alleged that, on or about August 2, 2013, defendant

"knowingly stood outside the residence of [the complainant, Debra, ] after being arrested for Disorderly Conduct to which [Debra's] Fiancé was the victim[, ] in such an unreasonable manner as to alarm and disturb [Debra] and provoke a breach of peace."

         ¶ 2 Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of both counts and sentenced to 24 months' conditional discharge. Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to convict him on either count. We affirm.

         ¶ 3 I. FACTS

         ¶ 4 The following facts were taken from the trial. Debra and defendant had a romantic relationship when they were both teenagers. During that time, they had a son, N.E., who was five years old at the time of trial. Debra later married Mark, and she and Mark lived together with N.E. in Sycamore, Illinois. Defendant lived in Algonquin, Illinois. Defendant had scheduled visitations with N.E. The custody exchanges took place at the McDonald's in Genoa.

         ¶ 5 Debra testified that on Friday, August 2, 2013, she and Mark drove N.E. to McDonald's for a custody exchange as scheduled. When they pulled into the parking lot, they saw the police handcuffing defendant and placing him into the back of a squad car. Debra knew that charges had been filed against defendant for a prior incident that had occurred between Mark and defendant. The police told Debra that they would let defendant stop at an ATM to retrieve money to "bond out" and that someone would call them about the custody exchange. Debra and Mark knew that the exchange would still take place later that day.

         ¶ 6 Debra, Mark, and N.E. drove home. At some point, Debra looked out her window and saw defendant in the side yard between her house and the neighbor's house. Then she saw defendant run across the street. Defendant placed his hands behind his head, crossed his feet, and leaned back against a street sign. He stood there for about two to five minutes. Defendant did not knock on the door, make any gestures, or say or yell anything. This "freaked [her] out" because defendant was not allowed to come to her home; "that's why we do the exchanges at a public place." Then Debra saw defendant run back across the street onto her side of the road and he disappeared from view. Debra called the nonemergency police line to report that defendant had been standing across the street from her house.

         ¶ 7 Mark testified that he and Debra did not get along with defendant. Mark was involved in the custody exchanges, which were sometimes difficult. Mark noted an exchange that happened in June 2013 at the De Kalb County Sheriff's office. As Mark entered, defendant jumped out of a chair and ran to get closer to him and N.E. Mark placed his hands on N.E.'s shoulders to say goodbye, and defendant leaned over and threatened Mark, stating: "If you touch my son again, I will rip your fucking head off." Mark testified that this made him nervous, and he backed away so as not to escalate the situation in front of N.E.

         ¶ 8 Mark also related another encounter with defendant, in July 2013 at the De Kalb County courthouse. He and defendant were in the same courtroom, and Mark waited for defendant to leave the room first to avoid any altercation. When Mark left, he saw defendant sitting on a bench in the hallway outside of the courtroom. Mark tried to walk past him, but defendant got up and threatened Mark, stating: "If you touch my son again, I will fucking burn you." Mark stated that this frightened him ...


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