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People v. Glenn

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

June 5, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Respondent-Appellee,
v.
CLARISSA GLENN, Petitioner-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court Of Cook County. No. 06 CR 810 The Honorable Leroy Martin, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Mason and Justice Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          NEVILLE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 When corrupt police officers demanded a bribe from Ben Baker, Baker and his wife, Clarissa Glenn, told the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards (OPS) about the crime. The OPS did nothing to slow down the criminals. Instead, it informed the corrupt officers about the complaint, and named the source. Corrupt officers arrested Baker and Glenn and used perjured testimony to induce the court to find Baker and Glenn guilty of felonies. Years later, federal authorities successfully prosecuted some of the criminals on the police force who induced the felony convictions of Baker and Glenn. Baker and Glenn petitioned for certificates of innocence under section 2-702 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code). 735 ILCS 5/2-702 (West 2016). The State's Attorney did not oppose the petitions. The circuit court granted Baker's petition but denied Glenn's petition because she received a sentence of probation for the felony conviction. Glenn appealed. The State's Attorney has not opposed the appeal.

         ¶ 2 We find that section 2-702, interpreted in accord with our supreme court's construction of the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2016)), permits the circuit court to issue a certificate of innocence to a person sentenced only to probation. We reverse the circuit court's judgment and remand with directions to grant Glenn's petition.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In June 2004, Baker learned from a friend that Sergeant Ronald Watts of the Chicago Police Department intended to charge Baker with possession of heroin. Charles Lawrence, an associate of Watts, told Baker that Watts wanted to talk to Baker. Lawrence brought Baker to a pay phone, where Lawrence made a call. Lawrence told Baker he could avoid the charge of heroin possession if he gave Watts $1000. Baker took the phone and spoke directly with Watts. Baker told Watts he would not pay the extortion demanded.

         ¶ 5 On July 12, 2004, Watts and other officers entered and searched the home Baker and Glenn shared. Although the officers found nothing, they arrested Baker and charged him with possession of heroin, claiming that they found heroin in Baker's mailbox. Baker stayed in jail four months before obtaining release. Alvin Jones, a member of Watts's team, told Baker, "next time, *** it will stick."

         ¶ 6 On March 23, 2005, members of Watts's team arrested Baker and charged him with possessing heroin. Baker and Glenn contacted OPS and reported Watts's efforts to extort a bribe from Baker. On December 12, 2005, before trial on the March charge, Jones and other officers from Watts's team arrested Baker and Glenn and charged both of them with possessing heroin with intent to deliver.

         ¶ 7 The March 2005 charge came to trial in May 2006. Officer Nichols testified that on March 23, 2005, he saw Baker holding a clear plastic bag containing smaller bags of white powder. Nichols testified that Baker admitted that the bags contained heroin and it belonged to him. Baker testified about his prior contacts with Watts and the officers who worked with Watts. Baker said the officers brought the heroin presented in court. The trial court found Baker guilty and sentenced him to 18 years in prison.

         ¶ 8 The December 2005 charge came before the court in September 2006, when Baker and Glenn agreed to plead guilty to charges of possession in exchange for a sentence of 4 years' imprisonment for Baker and one year of probation for Glenn. The trial court imposed the agreed sentences and said:

"I know *** what your position has been with regard to these police officers. ***
There has not been [a] sufficient showing *** that these are renegade police officer[s]. ***
If that should happen here in this case I would have no hesitation but to vacate all of the guilty findings, ...

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