from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois, Circuit No. 15-CF-321 Honorable Sarah F.
Jones, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Wright concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Justice McDade dissented, with opinion.
1 Defendant, Venus M. Lilly, appeals following her conviction
for aggravated battery. She argues that the circuit court
incorrectly admonished the venire under Illinois Supreme
Court Rule 431(b) (eff. July 1, 2012), and that she is
entitled to a new trial under the plain error doctrine
because the evidence was closely balanced. We affirm.
3 The State charged defendant with a single count of
aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12- 3.05(d)(4)(i) (West
2014)). The indictment alleged that defendant made contact of
an insulting and provoking nature with Jason Mitchem, knowing
Mitchem to be a peace officer performing his official duties.
4 Jury selection commenced on September 28, 2015. During that
process, the court posed the following question to the
"Do you understand and accept the following, that a
person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent of the
charges against him or her, and the presumption of innocence
stays with the Defendant throughout the trial and is not
overcome unless from all the evidence you believe the State
has proved his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?"
potential juror, proceeding one-at-a-time, responded
"Yes." The court then asked the following:
"Do you understand and accept the following, that the
State has the burden of proving the Defendant's guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt? The Defendant does not have to
prove his innocence, does not have to present any evidence on
his or her own behalf. Do you have any disagreement with
those principles of law?"
potential juror, again individually, responded
5 Following the trial, the jury found defendant guilty of
aggravated battery. The court sentenced defendant to a
30-month term of probation. This appeal follows.
7 Defendant argues that the circuit court incorrectly
admonished potential jurors under Illinois Supreme Court Rule
431(b) (eff. July 1, 2012). More specifically, defendant
asserts that it was error for the court to ask whether the
potential jurors had any disagreement with certain principles
immediately after asking if they understood and accepted
those principles. Admitting that she failed to preserve the
error, defendant requests that this court review for ...