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People v. Walker

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

July 10, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ERIC D. WALKER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois, Circuit No. 16-CF-767 Honorable Daniel L. Kennedy, Judge, Presiding.

          James E. Chadd, Peter A. Carusona, and Amber Hopkins-Reed, for of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Ottawa, Appellant:

          James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Patrick Delfino, Thomas D. Arado, and Stephanie L. Raymond, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          O'BRIEN JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and Lytton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          O'BRIEN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Eric D. Walker, pled guilty to aggravated battery and was subsequently sentenced to a term of three years' imprisonment. He filed a pro se postconviction petition alleging, inter alia, that defense counsel had been ineffective for failing to share and discuss discovery documents with him. The trial court dismissed the petition as frivolous and patently without merit. On appeal, defendant argues that the dismissal was erroneous. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On April 14, 2016, the State charged defendant with aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12- 3.05(f)(1) (West 2016)). The indictment alleged that "defendant cut Jamella Martinez about the body with a knife." The aggravated battery charge was given case No. 16-CF-767. The State would later amend the indictment, removing all references to a knife and instead alleging that defendant "struck" Martinez about the body "while on a public place of accommodation." See id. § 12-3.05(c).

         ¶ 4 On April 27, 2016, the State charged defendant with burglary (id. § 19-1(a)-(b)). The indictment alleged that on February 15, 2016, defendant "knowingly entered a motor vehicle of Timothy Kable *** with the intent to commit therein a theft." That charge was labeled case No. 16-CF-864. The State amended this indictment as well, charging defendant instead with attempted burglary. See id. §§ 8-4, 19-1(a)-(b).

         ¶ 5 Defendant pled guilty to both charges at a single proceeding on September 29, 2016. As a factual basis for the aggravated battery charge, the State averred that defendant engaged in an argument with a number of people while at Fenton's Motel and struck Martinez about the body. With respect to the attempted burglary charge, the State averred that defendant could be seen on surveillance video reaching into a vehicle that did not belong to him in the parking lot of a restaurant. The court accepted the plea and sentenced defendant to a term of three years' imprisonment for aggravated battery, to be served concurrently with the attempted burglary sentence imposed in case No. 16-CF-864.

         ¶ 6 On March 17, 2017, defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition. The petition raised numerous claims, many of which related to the representation defendant had received. In the petition, defendant alleged that his attorney, an assistant public defender, conspired against him with the State and intentionally misled and misrepresented him. Defendant also accused counsel of failing to file the motions he requested, failing to seek additional discovery, and refusing to speak to his witnesses.

         ¶ 7 Most relevant to the present appeal, defendant alleged that counsel refused "to allow the defendant to review the discovery and evidence against defendant." He also alleged that counsel failed to communicate with him. Defendant concluded: "had Defendant known all that [sic] facts and information and discovery information among other things before Defendant [pled] guilty Defendant would not have [pled] guilty to any of these charges."

         ¶ 8 Defendant alleged in his petition that on December 19, 2016, he received a number of partially redacted police reports relating to both of his cases. He alleged that upon reading those reports he learned that counsel "had been lying to the defendant all the time" and had induced him to plead guilty when she "knew that they had absolutely no evidence to support the allegations made against the defendant." Defendant asserted that he had seen only a surveillance video and a police report in case No. 16-CF-864 and had seen no discovery materials in case No. 16-CF-767. Defendant alleged that counsel told him the police had a cell phone in evidence in the attempted burglary case but that he later learned that was not true.

         ¶ 9 Defendant attached more than 100 pages of exhibits to his petition. These exhibits include a number of redacted police reports, largely relating to the attempted burglary case. Only one single-page report references the aggravated battery case. That report indicates that a female subject had been stabbed in her eye and a suspect had been found at Fenton's Motel. Reports relating to the attempted burglary indicate that the incident was not reported to the police until February 22, 2016, after an altercation between defendant and Kable. Kable had accused defendant of taking a cell phone from his truck on February 15. Kable claimed to have a ...


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