from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, No. 14-CF-1161;
the Hon. Jan V. Fiss, Judge, presiding.
E. Chadd, Jacqueline L. Bullard, and John M. McCarthy, of
State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for
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.
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.
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
MS. DALAN [(ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY)]: Yes, Your
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?"
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
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: We're also going to excuse No.
THE COURT: Wait a minute. You only got seven bullets, right?
MS. DALAN: Right.
THE COURT: So if you already got ...