Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 CR 6126
Honorable Thomas P. Fecarotta, Jr., Judge Presiding.
E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Michael Gomez, of State
Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.
Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J.
Spellberg, John E. Nowak, Assistant State's Attorneys, of
counsel), for the People.
PRESIDING JUSTICE McBRIDE delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justice Burke concurred in the judgment
and opinion. Justice Gordon dissented, with opinion.
McBRIDE PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 Following a jury trial, defendant James Utley was convicted
of possession of a controlled substance with intent to
deliver, being an armed habitual criminal, and unlawful use
of a weapon by a felon. He was sentenced as a habitual
criminal to respective concurrent terms of mandatory natural
life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, 20
years' imprisonment, and 5 years' imprisonment.
2 In this appeal, defendant claims, first, that section
5-4.5-95(a) of the Unified Code of Corrections (commonly
known as the Habitual Criminal Act) (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(a)
(West 2014)), as applied to him, violates the proportionate
penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const.
1970, art. I, § 11) and the eighth amendment of the
United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. VIII).
Second, defendant claims that his trial counsel rendered
ineffective assistance of counsel.
3 The record shows that Jack Tweedle, a senior parole agent
with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), testified
at trial that on February 28, 2014, at 6:30 a.m., he arrived
with other officers at a home in Streamwood, Illinois, to
serve a parole violation arrest warrant and perform a parole
compliance check on defendant. After Tweedle knocked on the
door for approximately five minutes, defendant answered the
door in a T-shirt and boxer underwear. After Tweedle
identified himself as an Illinois parole agent, defendant
invited him in. Tweedle's partner, Lou Hopkins, entered
behind Tweedle. Tweedle explained to defendant that he was
there to serve a parole violation warrant and that he had
"information that [defendant] was lying about where he
lived." Defendant responded "[s]omething to the
effect that the parole violation warrant couldn't be an
issue because here I am" and stated that he lived at
that address. On cross-examination, Tweedle testified
initially that he put in his report the fact that defendant
had stated that he lived at the Streamwood address. Upon
reviewing the report, however, Tweedle conceded that the
report did not contain this information.
4 Michael Ziegler, the commander of the special operations
unit of the Streamwood Police Department, testified that,
after speaking with defendant's wife, Turquoise Brown, he
went to the master bedroom to conduct a search. The north
closet in the bedroom contained "a large amount of
men's clothing," as well as men's deodorant,
men's cologne, and prescription bottles with
defendant's name on them. While looking in the closet,
Ziegler noticed the strong odor of cannabis. He discovered a
small plastic cooler "at the bottom of the closet right
by a bunch of men's shoes." Upon opening the cooler,
Ziegler observed that it contained "two scales, a white
chunky substance which in [his] training and experience
appeared to be cocaine, *** packing materials and
scissors." The cooler also contained a box that
"appeared to be like for [sic] brake pads for a
car," and inside the box were "three or four
Baggies with a white powdery substance" that Ziegler
believed, based on his experience, to be cocaine. The cooler
also contained "a box of Baggies" and "the
remnants of corners of Baggies." One of the two scales
was a small scale "used to measure in grams and other
increments," and it "appeared to have a white
powdery substance on top" of it. Based on his decades of
experience of having made hundreds of narcotics arrests,
Ziegler believed that these items were "indicative of
[the] sale of narcotics." Continuing his search of the
closet, Ziegler also found a plastic container with a plastic
bag containing a green leafy substance that emitted a strong
odor of cannabis.
5 Ziegler testified that, after discovering what he believed
to be narcotics, he asked defendant's wife "if there
was anything else in the house, possible narcotics or
contraband that we needed to know about," and she
directed him to the south closet in the master bedroom and
specifically to a "blue and yellow hat bag." The
bag contained a small, black 9-millimeter semiautomatic
Beretta pistol, a black .38-caliber revolver with a wooden
handle, and various types of ammunition including both
9-millimeter and .38-caliber ammunition.
6 On cross-examination, Ziegler testified that defendant was
wearing a T-shirt and black athletic shorts. Ziegler also
testified that he did not take a photo of the prescription
bottle and did not know whether the bottle was taken for
evidentiary purposes. He stated that he did not know the size
of the men's clothing in the north closet and that the
south closet contained what "appeared to be
ladies['] clothing." Ziegler further testified that
the guns were unloaded and that defendant remained in the
living room during the search.
7 Kenya Clark, a senior parole agent with IDOC, testified
that she searched the dresser in the master bedroom and found
$1000 in cash and a wallet in a drawer containing men's
underwear. Clark testified that the wallet "had the
parolee's ID in it and had some other cash."
However, Clark was not asked what she meant by "the
parolee's ID." On top of the dresser, Clark also
recovered a checkbook. Clark also observed a bank statement,
for January 9, 2014, to February 18, 2014, on a computer
table in the living room. Clark testified that the checks and
the bank statement bore the names of defendant and his wife,
as well as the Streamwood address. Clark further testified
that she found defendant's Social Security card in a
wooden container with a checkbook; however, she did not
specify where she found the wooden container.
8 Claudio Mercado, a detective with the Streamwood Police
Department, testified that he photographed the items that
were recovered from the Streamwood residence, most of which
had been moved prior to his photographing them, and
"collect[ed] the evidence as an evidence
technician." When defendant was taken into custody, the
officers discussed with defendant what medications he needed,
and two prescription bottles were kept by his wife, and one
bottle the officers "kept for him to take into
County." At the police station, Mercado and Sergeant
Darryl Syre spoke with defendant in an interview room, at
10:40 a.m. on February 28, 2014. At that time, defendant told
them that he did not want to speak with them, and they left.
At 11:50 a.m., they returned to bring him lunch, and he
stated then that he wanted to speak with them. Mercado and
Syre returned a half-hour later and advised him of his
Miranda rights, which he indicated he understood.
See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
Defendant was not handcuffed. Mercado testified as follows
about defendant's oral statement:
"Q. And what did the defendant tell you in this
A. Well, he stated that his wife, you know, wasn't aware
of the guns or the drugs but he admitted that the drugs were
his, the guns were his. He said he, you know, the money that
we found was not part of the drugs. He said his wife
wasn't aware of any, you know, of that and he also said
the cannabis that we found was-it was just for personal use.
Q. Did he indicate what he did with the other drugs?
A. The other drugs he said that he sold them in ounce units
and he sold them to other people so that they could go on and
sell them for him."
9 After defendant made this oral statement, Mercado offered
to memorialize it in writing, and defendant agreed. Mercado
exited the room to type it and returned to show defendant the
typed statement. Mercado informed defendant that he could
make any changes, additions, or deletions and handed the
statement to defendant. After Mercado read it out loud,
defendant confirmed that the statement was true and correct,
and he signed it at 1:49 p.m., as did Mercado and Syre. After
defendant signed the statement, Mercado showed him photos of
the guns, ammunition, drugs, and money that were seized, and
defendant signed each photo. In addition, defendant made a
notation stating: "Money not part of drugs."
10 In the typed statement, which was admitted into evidence,
defendant stated that he lived at the Streamwood home with
his wife and family, that his wife did not know anything
about the drugs or guns in the home, and that he kept the
guns only "for safety reasons," because "he is
an ex-gang member and dangerous people are after him."
Defendant stated that the cocaine and heroin in the home were
his and that he dealt drugs to help support his family. The
marijuana was also his, but only for personal use.
11 On cross-examination, Mercado testified that, after
evidence had already been found during the search, Ziegler
asked Mercado for a consent to search form, which Mercado
gave him. Ziegler then asked defendant's wife to sign it,
and she did. Mercado testified that he did not photograph the
bank statement as it was lying on the computer table and did
not photograph any prescription bottles with defendant's
name on them. Mercado also never observed a wallet. Mercado
testified that the hat box, which contained the guns and
ammunition, also contained women's hats. When Mercado
photographed the small wooden box containing defendant's
Social Security card and a checkbook, the box was already on
the bed in the master bedroom. Mercado opened the lid of the
box to photograph its contents.
12 Mercado testified that, about a half-hour after the police
arrived, defendant was already out of the Streamwood home.
Defendant's wife contacted a neighbor or family member to
take care of the children, and defendant's wife was then
transported to the police station. At some point,
defendant's personal property, including a
wallet and two prescription bottles, were
returned to defendant's wife. Before returning the two
prescription bottles, Mercado had a conversation with
defendant about what medication defendant needed, and the
police kept one bottle of penicillin that defendant indicated
he needed to take.
13 Mercado testified that he spoke with defendant's wife
at the police station, prior to speaking to defendant at
10:40 a.m. Mercado denied telling defendant that, if he did
not admit that the guns and drugs were his, they were going
to charge his wife.
14 After Mercado's testimony, the parties entered a
stipulation that stated that, if called, Soretta Patton, a
forensic chemist, would testify that she received "three
items of a rock-like substance from three separate plastic
bags" and that the contents of the bags tested positive
for cocaine and weighed 78.7 grams. She would further testify
that she received another substance that tested positive for
heroin and weighed 27.6 grams.
15 The State then offered into evidence certified copies of
defendant's convictions for aggravated battery with a
firearm and for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance,
which were admitted without objection. After the State
rested, defendant moved for a directed finding, which was
16 Defendant then called Jeffrey Bailey, a senior parole
agent with IDOC, who testified that he had supervised
defendant's parole, which required Bailey to meet with
defendant at least once a month at home and ensure that
defendant was in compliance with his parole. Defendant
reported that he was living at an address in Schaumburg, and
Bailey visited him at that address. During a visit on
February 19, 2014, Bailey checked to make sure that defendant
had personal property at the Schaumburg address. Primarily,
Bailey looks for clothing, and Bailey observed men's
clothing in the closet. The visit lasted 5 or 10 minutes, and
no one else was present besides Bailey and defendant.
17 On cross-examination, Bailey stated that every time he
visited defendant, Bailey made an appointment with defendant
prior to the visit, because defendant lived in an apartment
building with a security door. As a result, Bailey had to
telephone defendant first to inform him that Bailey was
coming, so that defendant could let him in. When Bailey
arrived on February 19, 2014, Bailey observed the room in
which defendant told him that defendant slept and noticed
that the mattress was lying against the wall rather than on
the floor. The mattress had no sheets or bedding, and the
room did not have a closet or any personal items. However,
defendant showed Bailey a closet in the hall that contained
men's clothing. Bailey was aware that another adult male
also lived in the apartment, but Bailey did not ask defendant
to put on the clothes in the closet. Based on his experience
as a parole officer, Bailey testified that normally a parolee
is not notified in advance when he is going to be served with
an arrest warrant. On redirect examination, Bailey testified
that defendant's room in Schaumburg was "a very
small room." Bailey further testified that he did not
conclude based on the February 19, 2014, visit that defendant
did not live there.
18 Defendant, who was 38 years old at the time of his
testimony, testified that on February 28, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
he was in an interview room in the Streamwood police station
when Detective Mercado and Sergeant Syre entered and
defendant informed them that he did not want to speak to them
and requested an attorney. The two officers then left.
Defendant remained in the interview room for approximately
two hours, before Mercado and Syre returned. Mercado told
defendant, "I don't have time for this s***."
Defendant repeated that he wanted an attorney and that he had
"nothing to say." Mercado responded that he did not
have time for this and that defendant was "going to sign
a statement" or they were going to charge Brown and that
defendant's children would go "to DCFS," the
Department of Children and Family Services. Mercado told him
that they were going to take the children because
"someone needs to be charged." Defendant told him
that he "still" had "no knowledge."
Mercado then instructed Syre to "call DCFS," and
when they started to exit, defendant "broke down"
and told them that he would "sign whatever they wanted
[him] to sign."
19 Defendant testified that he had three children, currently
aged 14, 13, and 8. The officers told him either he was
"going to take ownership of everything or [his] kids are
gone and they would charge" Brown, who they were holding
in the next room. After defendant told them that he would
sign whatever they wanted, the officers left the room and
returned a couple of hours later with a statement for him to
sign. There was no clock, and the room was dark, so defendant
did not know the exact time this occurred. When the officers
returned, they read him his Miranda rights from a
form, which they had him sign. Then they presented him with a
typed statement consisting of two pieces of paper and some
photos. The officers did not read the statement to him, and
when defendant looked like he was going to glance at the
statement, Mercado repeated that he did not have time for
defendant to read it. The officers did not give defendant the
opportunity to read it or to make any changes, corrections,
or deletions. After defendant signed the statement, they had
him initial the photos and write on one of the photos that
the money was not related to the drugs. The officers
explained that if he "admit[ted] to it," they would
give the money to Brown for his children, which they never
did. Defendant testified that he "would write anything
to protect [his] kids." While defendant was in the
interview room, he did not receive anything to eat or drink,
and he was not allowed to leave for a bathroom break.
Defendant was allowed to use the bathroom only later that
evening, when he was placed in a cell.
20 On cross-examination, defendant testified that around 6:15
a.m. on February 28, 2014, he went to Brown's house in
Streamwood to pick up his son and take him to school. He and
his wife had been married on August 17, 2013, but had
separated two months later. Defendant stated that he did not
live at Brown's house and did not sleep in her bed that
night. Defendant testified that he lived in the two-bedroom
Schaumburg apartment with his sister and the mattress was up
against the window because he had just shampooed the carpet.
Defendant explained that he lived in the two-bedroom
Schaumburg apartment with his sister rather than his
wife's home in Streamwood "[b]ecause a parolee
cannot parole to public housing." Defendant admitted
that he had a joint account with his wife at the Streamwood
address. As for the Social Security card, defendant testified
that it was in his wallet when he was arrested and it was
removed from his wallet. Defendant testified that nothing in
the typed statement was true, that the officers made it all
up, that he was a business owner,  and that the business was
how he supported his family. When asked by the assistant
state's attorney whether he had been previously convicted
of delivery of a controlled substance and if defendant was on
parole for that offense, defendant answered affirmatively. He
denied that he possessed any guns or drugs at either
Brown's Streamwood home or at his Schaumburg apartment.
21 After defendant finished testifying, the defense rested,
and the State called Darryl Syre in rebuttal. Syre testified
that he was currently the administrative commander of the
Streamwood Police Department but that on February 28, 2014,
he was a sergeant. On February 28, 2014, at 10:40 a.m., he
and Detective Mercado spoke with defendant in an interview
room at the police station. Defendant was handcuffed. At that
time, defendant did not tell them that he wanted an attorney
or that he was not going to speak with them. At 11:30 a.m.,
the officers returned to bring defendant lunch, and defendant
told them he wanted to talk to them. After defendant finished
his lunch, the officers returned, and Detective Mercado read
defendant his Miranda rights, which defendant
acknowledged by initialing each right and signing the form.
Syre testified that Mercado did not say that he had no time
for "this s***." He also denied that Mercado
threatened to take defendant's kids away, to call DCFS,
or to charge defendant's wife. Syre was in the interview
room the entire time that Detective Mercado was there.
22 Syre testified that defendant made an oral statement that
the drugs and guns were his, that he sold the cocaine by the
ounce for $1200, and that the guns were for his protection
because he was an ex-gang member. After defendant made this
oral statement, the officers exited the room, and Detective
Mercado typed up the statement, and they returned. Mercado
read the statement out loud, and defendant signed it.
Defendant was allowed to make changes, but he chose not to.
No threats were made, and they did not promise to give the
thousand dollars to defendant's family if defendant
23 On cross-examination, Syre testified that at 10:40 a.m. on
February 28, 2014, defendant's wife was also at the
police station. After Syre's testimony, the State rested
its rebuttal case.
24 After listening to jury instructions and closing arguments
by counsel, the jury convicted defendant of all charges,
namely three counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a
felon, based on the three different types of ammunition found
in the hat bag; two counts of possession of a controlled
substance with intent to deliver, based on the cocaine and
heroin seized from the closet; and two counts of being an
armed habitual criminal, based on the pistol and the revolver
also found in the hat bag. After the verdict was announced,
the trial court merged a number of the counts, leaving one
count of unlawful possession of a weapon, one count of
possession of a controlled substance, and one count of armed
25 On June 11, 2015, the trial court considered and denied
defendant's posttrial motion for a new trial. The trial
court observed that the State had not filed a petition
seeking to have defendant sentenced as a habitual criminal
under the Habitual Criminal Act, which provides that, after a
verdict, plea, or finding of guilt, the prosecutor
"may" file with the trial court "a verified
written statement signed by the State's Attorney"
setting forth the relevant prior convictions. 730 ILCS
5/5-4.5-95(a)(6) (West 2014). The State then indicated that
it intended to file a petition.
26 On June 26, 2015, the State filed a petition seeking the
imposition of a sentence of natural life imprisonment based
on defendant's convictions for two prior Class X
27 At the sentencing hearing on June 29, 2015, the trial
court observed that it had "required the State" to
file the petition for natural life "in writing,"
observing that, although defendant knew about it, "it
still formally should have been done." The court then
confirmed that defendant was not contesting the two prior
felony convictions cited by the State. In aggravation, the
State called Bruce Steinke, an investigator with the Cook
County Sheriff's Department, who testified that, on May
7, 2015, he was assigned the task of locating defendant, who
had disappeared prior to jury deliberations. In an attempt to
execute an arrest warrant for defendant, Steinke and other
officers went to several addresses, including one in
Bartlett, Illinois, where he observed a vehicle belonging to
defendant's wife in the driveway. At 9:48 p.m., he
checked the hood of the vehicle and found it was still warm.
Over the course of 10 minutes, Steinke rang the doorbell and
knocked on the door several times.
28 Steinke testified that the officers placed a couple of
police squad vehicles in front of the house with the
emergency lights on and shined a spotlight at the upstairs
windows, which were open. Another officer shouted at the open
windows that the officers wanted to take defendant
peacefully. After 10 minutes of shouting and spotlights,
defendant responded: "okay, okay, I'll be coming
out. I want to say goodbye to my family. My son is going to
be walking me out the front door." After that, defendant
exited the door with his son and smoking a cigarette.
Defendant gave his son a hug, and the officers let him finish
his cigarette and then arrested him.
29 Steinke testified that another officer informed defendant
of his Miranda rights and then Steinke and two other
officers transported defendant to the police station. During
the ride to the station, Steinke sat next to defendant.
Steinke testified that defendant stated that, "if we had
located him earlier in the day, that things wouldn't have
gone as easy as they did, that he would have tried to attempt
to take several of us with him." He further stated
"that he wouldn't have come out if his family
hadn't been in there, that he would [have] made us wait
for a long time, he wasn't going to exit the
building." Further, defendant "made a claim that he
had to go to Indiana to pursue some personal matters earlier
in the day and that he felt that on his way there, he wanted
to do harm to any innocent individuals that would get in his
way because he-he just wasn't in the right state of
30 On cross-examination, Steinke testified that, despite
defendant's words, he exited the house peacefully, let
himself be handcuffed without incident, allowed the officers
to walk him to their vehicle without a struggle, and entered
the vehicle without objection. Steinke agreed that,
"[a]s far as his actions physically with [the officers],
he was nothing but a gentleman."
31 The State had no further evidence in aggravation, and
defense counsel stated that the defense had no additional
evidence in mitigation to present. The presentence
investigation report (PSI) indicated that defendant was
placed in a special education program in grade school, that
he was transferred to a specialized school, and that he
eventually obtained a general educational development
certificate (GED). Defendant's mother was an alcoholic
and physically abusive, leaving defendant with permanent
scars. Prior to incarceration for this offense, defendant and
his wife were the owners and operators of a cleaning company,
which they founded in 2012 and which specialized in
commercial and janitorial cleaning services, providing them
an income of $5000 per month. Defendant and his wife
originally married in 2005 and then divorced when defendant
was incarcerated for a prior offense, before reuniting in
2012 after his release.
32 Defense counsel argued that, although the law required a
mandatory life sentence, the punishment did not fit the
33 After considering factors in aggravation and mitigation
and noting defendant's "significant criminal
history," the trial court stated:
"The Court takes no pleasure in sentencing the defendant
to natural life imprisonment; however, it's mandated by
statute, and the Court has an obligation to follow the law.
He is a young man, and he will spend the rest of his life in
prison unless the law changes and it's held to be
trial court then sentenced defendant as follows: (1) for
possession of a controlled substance, to natural life in
prison without parole; (2) for being an armed habitual
criminal to 20 years with IDOC, to be served concurrently
with the natural life sentence; and (3) for unlawful use of a
weapon by a felon, to 5 years, also to be served concurrently
with the natural life sentence. The trial court did not state
whether the determinate sentences were concurrent with each
other. However, the mittimus states that these sentences also
run concurrently. On July 14, 2015, defendant filed a timely
notice of appeal, and this appeal followed.
34 In this appeal, defendant claims, first, that the Habitual
Criminal Act, as applied to him, violates the proportionate
penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution and the eighth
amendment of the United States Constitution. Second,
defendant claims that his trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance of counsel. Our supreme court has held that
"a court of review should consider the constitutionality
of a statute as a matter of last resort, only after the
resolution of any other nonconstitutional and constitutional
grounds for disposing of the case" (People v.
Carpenter, 228 Ill.2d 250, 264 (2008)), and,
accordingly, we will address the narrower issue of
defendant's ineffectiveness claims first.
35 Defendant first claims that his trial counsel provided
ineffective assistance because trial counsel failed to move
to sever the gun charges from the drug charges.
Defendant's second ground for claiming ineffective
assistance of counsel is that counsel should not have
withdrawn defendant's motion to suppress his statement to
36 Every Illinois defendant has a constitutional right to the
effective assistance of counsel under the sixth amendment to
the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution.
U.S. Const., amends. VI, XIV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I,
§ 8; People v. Domagala, 2013 IL 113688, ¶
36. Claims of ineffective assistance are judged against the
standard set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668 (1984). Domagala, 2013 IL 113688, ¶ 36
(citing People v. Albanese, 104 Ill.2d 504, 526-27
(1984) (adopting Strickland for Illinois)). To
prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance, a defendant
must show both (1) that counsel's performance was
deficient and (2) that this deficient performance prejudiced
defendant. Id. (citing Strickland, 466 U.S.
37 Since a trial court is typically not asked to rule on
whether trial counsel was ineffective, an appellate court
generally reviews claims of ineffective assistance de
novo. See People v. Reveles-Cordova, 2019 IL
App (3d) 160418, ¶ 43; People v. Jamison, 2018
IL App (1st) 160409, ¶ 40. De novo
consideration means that the reviewing court performs the
same analysis that a trial judge would perform. People v.
Walker, 2018 IL App (1st) 160509, ¶ 22.
38 To establish the first prong, that counsel's
performance was deficient, a defendant must show "that
counsel's performance was objectively unreasonable under
prevailing professional norms." Domagala, 2013
IL 113688, ¶ 36.
39 Here, defendant notes that he was charged with being an
armed habitual criminal, with unlawful use of a weapon by a
felon for his alleged possession of guns and ammunition, and
with possession of a controlled substance with intent to
deliver for his alleged possession of cocaine and heroin.
Defendant further notes that, to prove the gun charges, the
State was required to introduce evidence of defendant's
prior convictions for aggravated battery with a firearm and
delivery of a controlled substance, neither of which would
have been admissible to prove the possession of a controlled
substance offense. Defendant contends that, in these
circumstances, defense counsel should have filed a motion to
sever the gun charges and drug charges and that, had counsel
done so, the court would have granted the motion.
40 Pursuant to section 111-4(a) of the Code of Criminal
Procedure of 1963 (Procedure Code) (725 ILCS 5/111-4(a) (West
"Two or more offenses may be charged in the same
indictment, information or complaint in a separate count for
each offense if the offenses charged, whether felonies or
misdemeanors or both, are based on the same act or on 2 or
more acts which are part of the same comprehensive
under section 114-8 of the Procedure Code (id.
"If it appears that a defendant or the State is
prejudiced by a joinder of related prosecutions or defendants
in a single charge or by joinder of separate charges or
defendants for trial the court may order separate trials,
grant a severance of defendants, or provide any other relief
as justice may require."
trial court is entitled to substantial discretion when
deciding whether to sever charges, and that discretion is to
be exercised so as to prevent injustice," and the
decision to sever or not turns on the particular facts of
each case. People v. Patterson, 245 Ill.App.3d 586,
41 In People v. Edwards, 63 Ill.2d 134, 136 (1976),
our supreme court articulated the importance of severing
charges in appropriate circumstances, ultimately reversing
the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to
sever. The defendant in Edwards's three-count
indictment charged him with one count of armed robbery and
two counts of unlawful use of weapons. The unlawful use of a
weapon charge alleged in count II of the indictment was a
Class A misdemeanor. The unlawful use of a weapon charge
alleged in count III was a Class 3 felony because the
defendant had a prior felony burglary conviction.
Id. at 136. The defendant moved to sever count III
from the other charges because he would be prejudiced by the
State's introduction of evidence regarding ...