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People v. Parker

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

July 26, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
VALERIE A. PARKER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Tazewell County, Illinois. Circuit No. 15-CF-471 Honorable Richard McCoy, Judge, Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Carter specially concurred, with opinion. Justice Holdridge also specially concurred, with opinion.

          OPINION

          SCHMIDT PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Valerie A. Parker, appeals her conviction for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Specifically, defendant argues that second-prong plain error occurred "where an Assistant State's Attorney and two court bailiffs were present when the jury viewed evidence during deliberations outside of the presence of the parties and the court." We affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 The State charged defendant with aggravated DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a) (West 2014)) in that she drove a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and had at least two prior convictions for DUI. The State also charged defendant with driving while her license was revoked (id. § 6-303(a)).

         ¶ 4 Defendant pled guilty to driving while her license was revoked, and the matter proceeded to a jury trial on the charge of aggravated DUI. During the trial, Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Dennis appeared on behalf of the State.

         ¶ 5 During jury deliberations, the jury requested to watch a DVD video recording that had previously been played during the trial. The following exchange occurred:

"THE COURT: Okay. It's about 9:15 ***. [Defendant] appears personally today with Mr. Bembenek, her lawyer. Mr. Dennis is the Assistant State's Attorney. The jury has resumed deliberations, and they have given us the question. May we please see the video. Mr. Dennis, what's your position on that?
MR. DENNIS: I believe that the jury should be able to review the video. It was admitted into evidence and published to the jury. I do believe they should be able to review that.
THE COURT: Mr. Bembenek?
MR. BEMBENEK: I have no objection to the jury's request, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. How are we going to get them to get it set up back there?
MR. DENNIS: I believe the laptop is still set up, Your Honor, but the DVD is ...

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