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People v. Moore

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

June 21, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
QUENTIN CORLEY MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 05-CF-2900 Honorable Susan Clancy Boles and M. Karen Simpson, Judges, Presiding.

          JUSTICE BIRKETT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion Justices McLaren and Zenoff concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          BIRKETT JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 In 2007, defendant, Quentin Corley Moore, was convicted of attempted first-degree murder. We affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. People v. Moore, No. 2-08-0919 (2010) (unpublished order under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 23). Subsequently, defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition. Counsel was appointed to represent defendant on the petition but was later permitted to withdraw. The court subsequently dismissed the petition on the State's motion. Defendant appeals, challenging the orders granting counsel leave to withdraw and dismissing the petition. We hold that postconviction counsel failed to demonstrate compliance with the mandate of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c) (eff. Feb. 6, 2013) that counsel "ascertain [the defendant's] contentions of deprivation of constitutional rights." We therefore vacate the orders allowing withdrawal of counsel and dismissing the petition, and we remand for further proceedings.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 In December 2005, defendant was indicted on two counts related to an alleged shooting in Aurora on November 22, 2005. Count I charged defendant with attempted first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a), 9-1(a)(1) (West 2004)) and alleged that defendant "performed a substantial step towards the commission of [first-degree murder], in that he without lawful justification and with the intent to kill Julian Ramos, shot Julian Ramos with a firearm." Count II charged defendant with aggravated discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(2) (West 2004)) and alleged that defendant "discharged a firearm in the direction of another person in that he shot at Julian Ramos with a firearm."

         ¶ 4 Prior to jury selection, the State moved to amend count I to allege that defendant "shot at Julian Ramos" (emphasis added) instead of "shot Julian Ramos." Defendant did not object, and the trial court permitted the amendment.

         ¶ 5 In its opening statement, the State anticipated that the evidence would show that, on November 22, 2005, defendant was driving a car with three fellow members of the Latin Kings gang. One of the passengers was Blake Pannell, an informant with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). During the drive, another passenger, Augustin Montes, saw a pedestrian he recognized as Ramos. Montes, armed with a handgun, left the car and shot at Ramos.

         ¶ 6 The evidence at trial was recounted in detail in our disposition on direct appeal. See Moore, No. 2-08-091. Pannell testified that, in November 2005, he was a member of the Latin Kings, working as an informant for the FBI. On November 22, 2005, Pannell was riding around Aurora with three fellow Latin Kings: defendant, Montes, and Ruben Hernandez. Defendant was driving. The four were looking for graffiti that was insulting to the Latin Kings. When they saw such graffiti, they would spray paint over it with insults to the Insane Deuces, a rival gang. For security purposes, they had a gun, which belonged to defendant. Shortly after joining his associates that day, Pannell activated the secret audio-recording device that he was wearing.

         ¶ 7 Pannell testified that, at some point during their drive, Montes remarked that he observed a pedestrian who belonged to the Insane Deuces. The four plotted how to shoot the pedestrian. Defendant drove the car in pursuit of the intended target. Montes twice exited the car with the gun in order to shoot the pedestrian. The first time Montes exited, Pannell also left the car and spray painted over some nearby graffiti. Before Montes exited the second time, Pannell covertly removed the clip from the gun, which left Montes with just the one bullet in the chamber. Pannell witnessed Montes fire the one bullet at the pedestrian. The four then drove in further pursuit of the pedestrian but relented when he reached an area with a number of bystanders.

         ¶ 8 Pannell testified that he observed the pedestrian while the group was pursuing him. However, only in the following exchange did Pannell name the pedestrian:

"Q. Were you ever going to give the clip to [Montes]-for him to complete the shooting of Julian Ramos?
A. No."

         ¶ 9 Pannell testified that, after the encounter with the pedestrian, he and his three associates went to the home of Marina Moreno, an aspiring Latin Queen. Montes hid defendant's gun in Moreno's bedroom ceiling.

         ¶ 10 The State played for the jury a copy of Pannell's audio recording. Voices are heard declaring an intent to shoot someone and then commenting on the subject as he is pursued and flees. Mixed in with the statements are the sounds of a car door shutting. The State also introduced into evidence a transcript of the audio recording. Ramos is not identified by name in the recording itself or in the transcript.

         ¶ 11 Moreno testified that, on November 22, 2005, defendant came to her house with Pannell, Hernandez, and Montes. After the group left, defendant phoned Moreno and told her that there was a gun in the ceiling in her room. About a week later, Moreno took the gun and delivered it to defendant at his request. She was not certain that the gun belonged to defendant, but she had seen him with it on prior occasions.

         ¶ 12 The State also called the FBI agent who worked with Pannell. The agent testified that Pannell contacted her on November 22, 2005, to report a shooting that had just occurred.

         ¶ 13 The State's final witness was an Aurora police officer who testified as an expert on gang activity. The expert explained that animosity between rival gangs can manifest itself in arguments, fights, or shootings. The expert opined that the shooting on November 22, 2005, was gang-related.

         ¶ 14 Following that expert's testimony, the State declared that it had no other witnesses. Ramos had not testified. The State moved to amend both counts of the indictment by substituting "another" for "Julian Ramos." Count I as amended would allege that defendant, "without lawful justification and with the intent to kill another, shot at another with a firearm." Count II as amended would allege that defendant "discharged a firearm in the direction of another person in that he shot at another with a firearm." The State explained that its reason for the proposed amendment was that it "couldn't find" Ramos, though it had subpoenaed him for prior settings of the trial. The State contended that the amendment would conform the indictment to the evidence at trial, which was ...


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