from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 19 CR 20791
Honorable Thomas J. Byrne, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Stephanie A. Ciupka, Sophia Lau, and
Cathryn Stewart Crawford, of Lawndale Christian Legal Center,
of Chicago, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Kimberly M. Foxx, State's
Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Assistant
State's Attorney, of counsel), for the People.
PRESIDING JUDGE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court,
with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Connors concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
1 The defendant, Larenz Simmons, was charged by indictment
with one count of armed robbery with a firearm. The circuit
court denied his motion for bail pending trial. Simmons has
filed a motion for review of the bail denial, pursuant to
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(c) (eff. July 1, 2017).
Appeals of bail orders are exceedingly rare. Case law
regarding them is virtually nonexistent. Noting the recent
public interest and legislative attention to the issue of
bail reform,  we issue this opinion setting forth the
applicable standard of review and the reasons why we must
affirm the denial order in this case.
2 Appeals under Rule 604(c) are governed by special rules
that recognize the need for prompt disposition of bail denial
orders entered before conviction. A defendant cannot file a
Rule 604(c) appeal unless he has first filed a motion in the
circuit court setting forth his financial condition, family
status, prior criminal background, and certain other
information. Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(c)(1) (eff. July 1, 2017). The
defendant in a Rule 604(c) appeal files a motion, rather than
a formal brief. Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(c)(2) (eff. July 1, 2017).
The motion must list certain additional facts and include a
copy of the motion that he filed in the circuit court.
Id. The State need not file any answer, but may do
so if it wishes, and oral argument is not held except by
request of the court. Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(c)(2), (c)(5) (eff.
July 1, 2017).
3 But the most significant characteristic of Rule 604(c) is
the manner in which the record of what transpired in the
court below arrives in this court. In most appeals, this
court receives a certified record from the clerk of the
circuit court containing all of the pleadings, filed
documents, exhibits, and orders. See, e.g., Ill.
S.Ct. R. 608(a) (eff. July 1, 2017). In some appeals, the
attorneys are allowed to dispense with the clerk's record
and instead provide a "supporting record"
containing copies of pleadings and an affidavit that the
copies are authentic. Ill. S.Ct. R. 328 (eff. July 1, 2017).
In a Rule 604(c) appeal, however, neither method is used.
Instead, we must rely upon the limited materials listed in
the rule and provided by counsel, along with an uncertified
transcript of the hearing on the defendant's motion to
set his bail. The rule does not otherwise address what, if
any, materials from the court below a party may provide or
this court may consider.
4 We proceed, therefore, with an extraordinarily sparse
record before us. At the bail hearing, the State indicated
that it would establish the following facts at trial. At
around midnight on September 12, 2018, the victim, Jerome
Hill, entered the gate to his residence in the 1200 block of
South Independence Boulevard in Chicago. As he did, he was
confronted by two people. One individual placed a handgun to
his back, and the other pointed a gun to the back of his
head. They threatened Hill, and the taller offender, later
identified as defendant, took money from Hill's hand,
while the shorter offender took Hill's Ventra and Link
cards, as well as his phone and keys. Both offenders then
fled the scene, and Hill went into his house and called the
5 At about the same time, police were called to 1200 South
Independence Boulevard to investigate a possible armed
robbery in the parking lot of a gas station. Officers arrived
at the gas station and began canvassing the area. Based on
descriptions they had received, they detained two
individuals. They then attempted to locate the victim of the
gas station robbery but were unable to do so. The detectives
assigned to the investigation created a photo array based on
the proximity to the robbery of Hill.
6 On September 27, 2018,  officers presented a photo array to
Hill, who identified defendant as one of the men who robbed
him. Hill stated that he was "75% sure" that
defendant was one of the offenders. Defendant was arrested on
February 7, 2019. Defendant allegedly admitted robbing Hill
but claimed that he only pointed his gun at Hill's waist
whereas his co-offender pointed a gun at Hill's head.
7 On May 21, 2019, defendant filed a motion to set bail.
Defendant noted that he had "strong ties to the
community and was an active father and an important
caretaker" for his five-year-old daughter and various
cousins. Defendant further noted that he had an IQ of 54,
warranting an individualized education program in his school.
Nonetheless, he successfully graduated from Morton West
Academy last year, when he was 19. Defendant conceded that
when he was 15, he pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use
of a weapon and had one finding of juvenile delinquency.
Defendant added that he had no adult felony convictions.
8 The court held a hearing on defendant's motion on May
23, 2019. The State noted in its argument that defendant had
a "prior failure to appear on reckless conduct from
September of 2018" and that he also had "a prior
juvenile gun conviction[, ] which was originally sentenced to
probation," but that defendant subsequently violated
that probation and was sentenced to 30 days in the juvenile
detention center. After hearing arguments-and only
arguments-from the parties, the court denied the motion,
stating in part as follows:
"Thank you, counsel. I have read the motion filed on
behalf of Larenz Simmons in its entirety. Read the exhibits
and looked at the exhibits which includes Exhibit D, which is