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People v. Ryder

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

July 11, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DAVID W. RYDER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, No. 14-CF-1161; the Hon. Jan V. Fiss, Judge, presiding.

          James E. Chadd, Jacqueline L. Bullard, and John M. McCarthy, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.

          Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, of Belleville (Patrick Delfino, Thomas D. Arado, and Chelsea E. Kasten, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE MOORE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Overstreet and Justice Boie concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          MOORE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The defendant, David W. Ryder, appeals his convictions and sentences, in the circuit court of St. Clair County, for the offenses of predatory criminal sexual assault, victim under age 13 (count I and count II), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, victim under age 13 (count III and count IV). For the following reasons, we affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 The facts necessary to our disposition of this appeal follow. On September 5, 2014, the defendant was indicted by the grand jury of St. Clair County for the criminal offenses of predatory criminal sexual assault, victim under age 13 (count I and count II), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, victim under age 13 (count III and count IV). Count I alleged that between June 1, 2014, and August 3, 2014, the defendant, who was born in 1972, "placed his penis inside the vagina of [a] female minor with a date of birth [in February 2002]." Count II alleged that during the same time frame, the defendant "placed his finger inside the vagina" of the same female victim. Count III alleged that between June 1, 2013, and August 31, 2013, the defendant "placed his penis in the hand of the [same female minor victim] for the purpose of the sexual gratification of the defendant." Count IV alleged that between June 1, 2014, and August 13, 2014, the defendant "placed his mouth on the vaginal area of the female minor for the purpose of the sexual gratification of the defendant."

         ¶ 4 The defendant's jury trial commenced on November 17, 2015. Before allowing examination of the potential jurors by the parties, the trial judge conducted extensive voir dire himself. During the trial judge's questioning, he asked the potential jurors if any of them had "any close relatives employed by law enforcement?" Potential juror Harris indicated that he did, and additional questioning of him, by the trial judge, followed. Thereafter, the trial judge stated, "Anyone else?" Potential juror Pensoneau raised her hand and stated, "Yes, sir." When the trial judge asked her who she knew, the following colloquy occurred:

"JUROR PENSONEAU: Scott Weymouth.
THE COURT: And who is that?
JUROR PENSONEAU: He is a St. Clair County-I don't know actually his actual long title.
THE COURT: Is he an officer, a police officer?
JUROR PENSONEAU: He is crimes and detectives or something of that nature. Scott Weymouth.
THE COURT: Okay.
JUROR PENSONEAU: He's been there for-
THE COURT: Either of the parties know who we're referring to here?
MS. DALAN [(ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY)]: Yes, Your Honor.
JUROR PENSONEAU: He's my brother.
THE COURT: Is he in the Sheriff's Department?
MS. DALAN: Yes, sir, he is.
JUROR PENSONEAU: Do you know what his title is?
THE COURT: Okay. Anything about that relationship that would affect your ability-
JUROR PENSONEAU: Not at all-
THE COURT: -to serve? Okay. Anybody else?"

         Additional potential jurors then discussed their relationships with law enforcement officers. The trial judge, at that time, did not dismiss any of the potential jurors based upon their answers.

         ¶ 5 Subsequently, when the trial judge had finished the rest of his extensive questioning, both the State and the defendant, separately, were permitted to question the potential jurors. Neither party followed up with Pensoneau about her relationship with her brother, Scott Weymouth. Outside the presence of the potential jurors, the parties then completed the jury selection process. Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Dalan noted that "one of the jurors indicated that she knew Scott Weymouth" and that "[a]lthough he's not a witness in the case, he does appear in one of the video interviews." She added, "And I thought [defense counsel] probably already knew that and remembered it." Defense counsel then asked which juror "knew Weymouth?" ASA Dalan told him it was Pensoneau, who was in "seat number 19," and defense counsel responded, "Uh-huh. Got it. Okay." The selection process then continued. Neither party challenged Pensoneau for cause. When defense counsel used his final peremptory challenge against the potential juror in seat No. 18, ASA Dalan stated, "you know it's seven, don't you? Seven peremptories." Defense counsel responded, "Correct." Thereafter, the following colloquy occurred:

"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: We're also going to excuse No. 19.
THE COURT: Wait a minute. You only got seven bullets, right?
MS. DALAN: Right.
THE COURT: So if you already got ...

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