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People v. Eyler

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

September 5, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROBERT W. EYLER JR., Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, No. 16-CF-269; the Hon. Scott J. Butler, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Katie Anderson, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Gary L. Farha, State's Attorney, of Quincy (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Benjamin M. Sardinas, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice DeArmond concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In May 2016, the State charged defendant, Robert W. Eyler Jr., with unlawful possession of methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/60(b)(1) (West 2014). In November 2016, defendant's case proceeded to a jury trial at which the State's witnesses testified essentially to the following: (1) someone called the police to report "a male subject wearing a blue sweatshirt who was on a bicycle who was yelling profanities" and acting erratically; (2) shortly after the call, the police located a suspect-later identified as defendant-who matched this description; (3) a police officer attempted to effectuate a Terry stop upon defendant, but he fled (see Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)); (4) the police ultimately stopped defendant and placed him under arrest; and (5) a search incident to defendant's arrest revealed a white substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine. The jury found defendant guilty. In January 2017, the trial court sentenced defendant to five years in prison and assessed various fines and fees.

         ¶ 2 Defendant appeals, arguing (1) his attorney was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress the results of the search, (2) a Terry stop can be justified based only upon a reasonable suspicion of ongoing criminal activity as opposed to a completed crime, and (3) the trial court erred when it imposed various fines and fees. We affirm.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In May 2016, the State charged defendant with unlawful possession of methamphetamine. 720 ILCS 646/60(b)(1) (West 2014). In November 2016, defendant's case proceeded to a jury trial, and the following testimony was presented.

         ¶ 5 Officer J.D. Summers of the Quincy Police Department testified that on the morning of May 4, 2016, he was dispatched to the vicinity of North 12th and North 13th Streets, between Spring and Elm Streets, because of "a call in reference to a male subject wearing a blue sweatshirt who was on a bicycle who was yelling profanities and just acting erratically, and [the caller] thought it was suspicious." See 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1) (West 2014) (a defendant commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace).

         ¶ 6 Summers stated that he quickly responded to this area while he was driving a marked police car and "observed a male subject matching that description in that he was wearing a blue-hooded sweatshirt [and was] riding a bicycle." Summers testified that he followed closely behind the bicyclist-whom he later identified as defendant-and yelled "Sir" very loudly on multiple occasions. Defendant "began pedaling faster" when Summers shouted. Summers stated that he then yelled "Sir" even louder and defendant then "began to cut through yards westbound off the alley." Summers testified that he was "unable to follow him in my patrol vehicle. I mean, he was on a bicycle pedaling fast, so there was-I wasn't going to catch up to him on foot ***." Summers stated that he then "notified other units via our radio in reference to the situation that I had a male subject who fled from me."

         ¶ 7 Summers testified that officers from the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County Sheriffs Department "converged in the area" and "began field interviews with neighbors and such because we continued to have neighbors say that they spotted this subject running now on foot through yards. Also within this process there were two officers that observed the subject running on foot from us."

         ¶ 8 Officer Jessica Willis of the Quincy Police Department stated that she and other officers responded on the morning of May 4, 2016, to assist Summers. Willis testified that she was given a description of a male wearing a blue colored sweatshirt running through an alley and she and other officers "set up a perimeter in the area that was described." Willis stated that she "saw a male matching the description run across the street." She stated that she followed the suspect-whom she later identified as defendant-in her squad car. Defendant continued running, and she testified that she and other officers "got out on foot and ran after the subject." Willis testified that she "identified [herself] as a police officer numerous times, yelling at him to stop, and eventually he did lay down in a backyard."

         ¶ 9 She testified that defendant did not stop until he was essentially surrounded. She also stated that a deputy pointed his pistol at defendant and ordered him to get down on the ground. Willis testified that officers searched defendant after he stopped and they handed her a wallet and a metal pipe from defendant's person. Willis testified that she found a "green leafy substance" inside the wallet and that pipes are "commonly used to smoke marijuana."

         ¶ 10 Officer Summers testified that he next saw defendant, who at that point was in police custody, approximately 10 minutes after defendant had fled from him. Summers testified that he (1) took defendant into custody, (2) performed a "secondary search" of defendant's person for safety purposes, and (3) found a drinking straw inside defendant's pocket that had "some white residue in it." Joshua Stern, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, stated that he tested this residue and "confirmed the presence of methamphetamine."

         ¶ 11 After the State rested, defendant presented no evidence. The jury found defendant guilty of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. In January 2017, the trial court sentenced defendant to five years in prison and assessed various fines and fees.

         ¶ 12 This appeal followed.

         ¶ 13 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 14 Defendant appeals, arguing (1) his attorney was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress the results of the search, (2) a Terry stop can be justified based only upon a reasonable suspicion of ongoing criminal activity as opposed to a completed crime, and (3) the trial court erred when it imposed various fines and fees. We address these issues in turn.

         ¶ 15 A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         ¶ 16 Defendant first argues that his attorney was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress the results of the search. We disagree.

         ¶ 17 1. The Applicable Law

         ¶ 18 A defendant has the right to effective assistance of counsel at all critical stages of a criminal proceeding. U.S. Const., amend. VI; People v. Hughes, 2012 IL 112817, ¶ 44, 983 N.E.2d 439. "To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was (1) deficient and (2) prejudicial." People v. Sturgeon, 2019 IL App (4th) 170035, ¶ 81. An attorney's performance is deficient when it falls below an objective standard of reasonableness. Id. ¶ 82. Courts are highly deferential of counsel's performance, and a defendant must overcome the strong presumption that the challenged action or inaction may have been the product of sound trial strategy. People v. Manning, 241 Ill.2d 319, 327, 948 N.E.2d 542, 547 (2011).

         ¶ 19 To establish prejudice, a defendant must show that, but for counsel's errors, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different. People v. Westfall, 2018 IL App (4th) 150997, ¶ 63, 115 N.E.3d 1148. "In the context of failure to file a motion to suppress, prejudice arises when a defendant demonstrates (1) that the unargued suppression motion would have been meritorious and (2) that a reasonable probability exists that the outcome of the trial would have been different had the evidence been suppressed." People v. Bates, 2018 IL App (4th) 160255, ¶ 48, 112 N.E.3d 657.

         ¶ 20 Defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel requires us to discuss the offenses of disorderly conduct and resisting or obstructing a peace officer, as well ...


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