from the Circuit Court of Logan County, No. 16-CF-9; the Hon.
William G. Workman, Judge, presiding.
E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Joshua M. Bernstein, of State
Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.
Jonathan Wright, State's Attorney, of Lincoln (Patrick
Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Allison Paige Brooks, of
State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of
counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice Knecht
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In February 2016, the State charged defendant, Donald E.
Sturgeon, with (count I) unlawful participation in
methamphetamine manufacturing in that defendant knowingly
participated in the manufacture of 900 grams or more of a
substance containing methamphetamine, (count II) aggravated
unlawful participation in methamphetamine manufacturing in
that defendant knowingly participated in the manufacture of
400 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine
and the manufacturing occurred within 1000 feet of a school,
(count III) unlawful possession of methamphetamine
precursors, and (count IV) unlawful possession of
methamphetamine with the intent to deliver. 720 ILCS
646/15(a)(2)(E), 15(a)(2)(D), 15(b)(1)(H), 20(a)(2)(C),
55(a)(2)(A) (West 2016).
2 In September 2016, a jury found defendant not guilty of
count I but guilty of counts II, III, and IV. In November
2016, the trial court sentenced defendant to 45 years in
prison for count II, 45 years in prison for count III, and 14
years in prison for count IV and ordered the sentences to run
3 Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the State failed to
prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for aggravated
participation in the manufacture of 400 or more grams of
methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school, (2) he received
ineffective assistance of counsel, (3) the trial court erred
during sentencing by considering his drug addiction as an
"aggravating" factor, (4) the trial court erred by
"punishing" him for going to trial after he
rejected the State's guilty plea offer, and (5) the trial
court erred by not identifying various fines and fees which
it imposed. We affirm.
4 I. BACKGROUND
5 A. The Charges Against Defendant
6 In February 2016, the State charged defendant with (count
I) unlawful participation in methamphetamine manufacturing in
that defendant knowingly participated in the manufacture of
900 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine,
(count II) aggravated unlawful participation in
methamphetamine manufacturing in that defendant knowingly
participated in the manufacture of 400 grams or more of a
substance containing methamphetamine and the manufacturing
occurred within 1000 feet of a school, (count III) unlawful
possession of methamphetamine precursors, and (count IV)
unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to
7 B. The Rule 402 Conference
8 In August 2016, the trial court conducted a conference
pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(d) (eff. July 1,
2012) ("Upon request by the defendant and with the
agreement of the prosecutor, the trial judge may participate
in plea discussions.").
9 At the conference, in exchange for defendant's pleading
guilty to count I, the State offered to dismiss counts II,
III, and IV and agree to a 25-year prison sentence. The trial
court noted that based upon the information in the complaint
and defendant's prior criminal history, the court was
"more inclined to sentence [defendant] in the extended
term range of at least 30 years, if not more."
Ultimately, defendant rejected the State's offer, and a
jury trial was conducted.
10 C. The Jury Trial
111. Sergeant Robert Sherren
12 In September 2016, at defendant's jury trial, Sergeant
Robert Sherren of the Lincoln Police Department testified
that defendant and Ashley Davis were suspected of using and
manufacturing methamphetamine. Sherren stated that on the
evening of January 14, 2016, he saw a vehicle pull into the
driveway of the residence located at 1006 7th Street,
Lincoln, Illinois (hereinafter the residence). Sherren
observed defendant get out of the vehicle and ordered him to
get on the ground. Sherren stated that defendant "took
off running" but that Sherren caught him a few moments
later. Sherren testified that defendant had "thrown an
object" during the chase and that a jar containing a
white powdery substance was later found where the chase had
occurred. Sherren stated that after defendant was subdued, he
was handcuffed and placed into the back of a police car.
Sherren testified that another officer believed he smelled
methamphetamine at the residence.
13 On cross-examination, Sherren noted that Brandon Lovelett
and Robyn Johnson lived at the residence and that Rodney
Lovelett was the brother of Brandon Lovelett. Sherren stated
that when he pulled into the driveway, one of the Lovelett
boys was in the driveway.
14 2. Officer Ryan Sullivan
15 Officer Ryan Sullivan, a patrol officer with the Lincoln
Police Department, stated that he was investigating
activities related to methamphetamine manufacturing on
January 14, 2016. Sullivan testified that, after a vehicle
pulled into the residence, defendant ran out of the vehicle
and Sherren caught him. Sullivan further testified that he
then searched defendant and found "a clear plastic
sandwich bag with multiple white pills." He stated that
there were approximately 50 pills, and he found no evidence
of a prescription.
16 3. Rodney Lovelett
17 Rodney Lovelett testified that he was currently in custody
and had five pending criminal charges against him, including
conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, unlawful
possession of drug paraphernalia, and unlawful possession of
hypodermic needles. He stated that he had a prior conviction
for threatening a public official and, in January 2016, he
was on parole for that offense.
18 Rodney testified that in April 2016, he entered into a
cooperation agreement with the State. In exchange for his
testimony, he would plead guilty to a new charge of unlawful
possession of methamphetamine precursors and that the charge
for methamphetamine conspiracy would be dismissed. He noted
that he would receive a 5½-year prison sentence.
19 Rodney stated that both he and Brandon, his brother, were
arrested on January 14, 2016. Rodney testified that Brandon
and Robyn Johnson were living at the residence in January
2016. Rodney stated that he used to live at the residence but
had recently moved out prior to defendant's arrest.
Rodney described the general layout of the residence.
20 Rodney admitted that he used heroin and methamphetamine on
January 14, 2016. He testified that defendant had given him
the methamphetamine and prevented him from entering a room
where methamphetamine was later discovered. Rodney further
testified that he told the police that there might be a
methamphetamine lab in the residence after defendant was
21 On cross-examination, Rodney admitted to being a drug
addict and that using drugs altered his thoughts and
perception. He also admitted that he did not originally
implicate defendant. Rodney testified that he had never been
to prison and did not want to go there. He noted that he was
originally charged with a Class X felony with a 15-year
minimum, 60-year maximum sentence that would be served at
75%. He further noted that as a result of his cooperation
agreement, he would be sentenced only to 5½ years in
prison, to be served at 50%.
22 4. Ashley Davis
23 Ashley Davis stated that she was currently in custody and
that she entered into a cooperation agreement with the State
in September 2016. She noted that as a result of the
agreement, she would plead guilty to unlawful possession of a
methamphetamine precursor and that the State would dismiss a
methamphetamine conspiracy charge.
24 Davis noted that on January 14, 2016, she had used
methamphetamine with defendant in a bedroom at the residence.
She stated that the bedroom had Gatorade bottles and funnels.
She testified that later that day, she observed defendant
placing methamphetamine into little plastic bags. She further
stated that later that evening, she and defendant were
arrested at the residence.
25 On cross-examination, Davis conceded that she was a
methamphetamine addict and that she used methamphetamine on
January 14, 2016. She noted that she did not implicate
defendant until August 2016. She conceded that as a result of
her September 2016 cooperation agreement with the State, the
amount of time she would spend in prison had been drastically
26 5. Special Agent Brian Hayes
27 Brian Hayes testified that he was a special agent with the
Illinois State Police and was assigned to the Methamphetamine
Response Team. Hayes stated that he was dispatched to the
residence. He stated that in one of the bedrooms, he found
sulfuric acid, lye, salt, tubing, pliers, stripped lithium
batteries, Gatorade bottles, camp fuel, funnels, coffee
filters, and a box of cold packs. Hayes testified that, based
on his experience, these materials were commonly used in the
production of methamphetamine.
28 Hayes testified that he found two methamphetamine
"cooks" at the residence. Hayes noted that he found
a Gatorade bottle in a bedroom, which he believed was used
for making methamphetamine. Hayes stated that he weighed the
substance inside the bottle and photographed the weighing
process. Pictures that the trial court admitted into evidence
purported to show that the substance inside the bottle
weighed 550.3 grams. Hayes stated that he took a
representative sample of the substance but that the remainder
of the substance was destroyed pursuant to safety protocol. A
picture of the representative sample was introduced into
evidence as State's exhibit 34. Regarding how he weighed
the substance, Hayes testified as follows on direct
"Q. Did you seek to weigh the contents of that [bottle]?
Q. How do you go about doing that?
A. I take a-I get my scale out. I check the internal
components of it with weights. Then I take a sterile vessel.
I will place it on the scale, record the weights on a ***
worksheet, as well as photograph it. Then I will empty the
contents of the bottle into that same vessel and record that
weight, subtract the empty weight from the total weight,
which gives me my net weight of the contents.
Q. You did that in this case with this [bottle]?
Q. And you calibrated this machine before you used it?
A. Not necessarily calibrated it, but I just checked it
against the known weights."
29 Hayes stated that he found additional bottles in a
bathroom that he believed contained methamphetamine. Pictures
that the trial court admitted into evidence purported to show
that the substance inside the bottles weighed 560.9 grams.
Hayes stated that he took a representative sample of the
substance but that the remainder was destroyed for safety
purposes. A picture of this representative sample was
introduced into evidence as exhibit 38.
30 On cross-examination, Hayes noted that he did not attempt
to lift fingerprints from the crime scene. Defense counsel
did not cross-examine Hayes regarding how he ensured that the
scale he used to weigh the substance was working properly.
31 6. Inspector Joseph Meister
32 Inspector Joseph Meister of the Lincoln Police Department
testified that he found defendant's state identification
card in the bedroom where methamphetamine was found. Meister
stated that he also found an electric grinder that had
pseudoephedrine residue inside it.
33 Meister testified that the residence was "about 609
feet" away from Jefferson Elementary School. However,
Meister never testified how he determined the distance
between the residence and the elementary school. Instead, his
only testimony regarding that distance was as follows:
"Q. As part of your investigation in this case, did you
investigate whether 1006 7th Street [Lincoln, Illinois, ] was
in proximity to any locations that are considered to be an
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And what did your investigation ...