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People v. Lovelace

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

May 22, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CURTIS T. LOVELACE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 14CF488 Honorable Robert G. Hardwick, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Harris and Justice DeArmond concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In August 2014, an Adams County grand jury indicted defendant, Curtis T. Lovelace, for first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2012)). Defendant's first trial ended in a mistrial because the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

         ¶ 2 Subsequently, the trial court reduced defendant's bail to $3.5 million. In June 2016, various third parties posted a $350, 000 cash bond on defendant's behalf to secure his release pending trial. The trial court ordered electronic monitoring of defendant as a condition of his release.

         ¶ 3 In September 2016, the trial court granted defendant's motion to change venue. In March 2017, a Sangamon County jury found defendant not guilty. The trial court entered an order releasing defendant from all conditions of his bond but ordered the circuit clerk to retain the bond "pending an assessment of applicable costs."

         ¶ 4 Later in March 2017, defendant filed a motion for return of bond in which he requested that the entire bond should be returned less the actual costs of electronic monitoring. In April 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on the amount of the bond that should be refunded. Ultimately, the court ordered the circuit clerk to retain $35, 000, which was 10% of the posted cash bond and which the court noted was provided by statute (725 ILCS 5/110-7(f) (West 2016)), and $5433.75 in electronic monitoring costs.

         ¶ 5 Defendant appeals, raising nonconstitutional and constitutional challenges. For his nonconstitutional claims, defendant argues the trial court (1) failed to exercise its discretion under the statute or (2) abused its discretion by considering inappropriate factors when it ordered the retention of 10% of the posted bond. As to his constitutional claims, defendant argues that the 10% bail bond statute (id.) (1) is facially unconstitutional; (2) violates due process because it did not provide for a hearing on defendant's ability to pay; (3) is unconstitutional as applied to him, based upon the Supreme Court's holding in Nelson v. Colorado, 581 U.S., 137 S.Ct. 1249 (2017), because he was acquitted; (4) violates the equal protection clause of the federal constitution and the uniformity clause of the Illinois Constitution; and (5) is an excessive fine in violation of the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution's proportionate penalty provision. We disagree with all of these contentions and affirm.

         ¶ 6 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 7 A. The State's Charges and the First Trial

         ¶ 8 In August 2014, an Adams County grand jury indicted defendant on the charge of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2012)). The trial court set defendant's bail at $5 million. Defendant was unable to post bond and remained in custody through his first trial, which occurred in February 2016. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, and the court declared a mistrial.

         ¶ 9 B. Defendant's Motion To Reduce Bail

         ¶ 10 Later in March 2016, defendant filed a motion to reduce bail, stating that he had exhausted all of his assets in defending the first trial. His motion added that "[i]f the Court were to set a more reasonable bond, there are friends who would post security *** sufficient to ensure his release from custody and appearance at trial." In May 2016, the trial court denied his request to reduce bail.

         ¶ 11 In May 2016, defendant filed a "Renewed and Unopposed Motion to Reduce Bail, " explaining the State did not oppose a reduction in bond to $3.5 million. Defendant's motion stated "committed friends and supporters *** are willing and able to post the cash needed for a $3.5 million bond."

         ¶ 12 In June 2016, the trial court granted defendant's motion and reduced bail to $3.5 million. As a condition of release, the court ordered defendant to be confined to his home, wear an electronic monitoring device, and pay specified fees associated with electronic monitoring, with payment to come from the bond.

         ¶ 13 The appearance bond in the record indicates defendant paid $350, 000 as 10% bond on June 6, 2016. However, the parties agree-and, as explained below, the trial court found-the cash bond was in fact paid by third parties.

         ¶ 14 C. Change of Venue and the Second Trial

         ¶ 15 In September 2016, defendant filed a motion for change of venue. Defendant argued extensive media coverage and his status in the community had resulted in a tainted jury pool. The trial court granted the motion and transferred the case to Sangamon County for trial.

         ¶ 16 In March 2017, after a two-week trial, the jury found defendant not guilty of first degree murder. The trial court entered an order releasing defendant from all conditions of bond but ordered the bond "to be retained by the Adams County Circuit Clerk pending assessment of applicable costs."

         ¶ 17 D. Proceedings Related to the Return of Bond

         ¶ 18 1. The Trial Court's Proposed Order

         ¶ 19 Approximately two weeks after the acquittal, the court, on its own initiative, entered an order providing as follows:

"On June 7[, ] 2016, the Defendant had $350, 000.00 cash bond posted for him by others, all without a bond assignment. The Defendant has been found not guilty in Sangamon County after a jury trial with that verdict coming on March 10, 2017.
The bond, after applicable fees, needs to be returned. The Court proposes that the bond held by the Adams County Circuit Clerk be returned as in the proposed Order to Refund Bonds attached as Ex. "A."
A hearing on this matter is scheduled for: April 19, 2017[, ] at 3:00 pm at the Cass County Courthouse, Virginia, IL.
If any interested party objects to the return of the bond as proposed in the attached Ex "A" they should file a written objection with the Adams County Circuit Clerk with a copy to Judge Bob Hardwick ***."

         A copy of the order was sent to the State, defendant, the law firm of Beckett & Webber, and Rich Herr.

         ¶ 20 The proposed order noted the defendant had bond posted for him and "Beckett & Webber attorneys[-]Urbana, IL" paid $300, 000 and Rich Herr paid $50, 000. The proposed order further stated "[t]he only applicable fees to be assessed against those sums are the 10% bond fees plus the electronic monitoring fees of $5433.75 (which have been paid)." In the order, the court proposed the "fees/expenses" would be shared pro rata. Accordingly, the order allocated $30, 000 of the $35, 000 bail bond fee to Beckett & Webber and $5000 to Rich Herr. In addition, the order calculated Beckett & Webber was responsible for six-sevenths of the electronic monitoring fees totaling $4657.50, while Rich Herr bore the remaining $776.25. The proposed order concluded by directing the clerk to "refund the balance of the bonds, " as follows: "Beckett & Weber [sic] $265, 342.50[, ] Rich Herr $44, 223.75."

         ¶ 21 2. Defendant's Motion

         ¶ 22 Defendant filed a motion in March 2017 for return of the cash bond. In his motion, defendant calculated the costs of hook-up and monitoring-previously ordered to be paid out of his bond-to be $5696.25. As such, defendant requested the court order $344, 303.75 returned to the individuals who posted the bond on defendant's behalf. His motion did not contain any substantive arguments.

         ¶ 23 3. The ...


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