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People v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

December 13, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
EDDIE WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 16 CR 6806 Honorable Mauricio Araujo, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, Cassidey Davis Keilman, and Kathleen M. Flynn, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Marci Jacobs and Adam C. Motz, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court. Presiding Justice Mikva and Justice Connors concurred in the judgment.

          OPINION

          HARRIS JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Following a jury trial, defendant Eddie Williams was convicted of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, 1 gram or more but less than 15 grams of heroin (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(1) (West 2016)), and was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant argues the trial court improperly considered compensation as an aggravating factor during sentencing, because it is a factor inherent in the offense of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 JURISDICTION

         ¶ 3 The trial court sentenced defendant on November 29, 2017. Defendant filed a notice of appeal on December 1, 2017. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to article VI, section 6, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6) and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 603 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013) and Rule 606 (eff. July 1, 2017), governing appeals from a final judgment of conviction in a criminal case entered below.

         ¶ 4 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 Defendant was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.[1] At trial, the evidence showed that, just after midnight on March 17, 2016, Chicago police officers patrolling in unmarked vehicles observed defendant in the area of Huron Street and Homan Avenue in Chicago. They saw defendant alone on the street and observed him yell "blows, blows, blows," which the officers knew to be a street term for heroin. The officers initiated a street stop, at which point defendant tossed an item from his hands into the backyard of a nearby house. The officers recovered the item, which they discovered was a plastic bag containing 16 smaller Ziploc bags filled with a substance. A forensic scientist in the crime lab analyzed the substance in the Ziploc bags and determined it was heroin, in total weighing approximately 3.75 grams. ¶ 6 On April 5, 2017, the jury found defendant guilty of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

         ¶ 7 After the jury reached its verdict, the trial court denied the State's motion to revoke defendant's bond, placed him on electronic monitoring, and warned him not to "do anything silly." Defendant subsequently failed to appear on his next court date on June 1, 2017, and the trial court issued a warrant for his arrest. Defendant also had an outstanding warrant for his escape from electronic monitoring, which had not been executed.

         ¶ 8 After missing two more court dates, defendant appeared at a branch court on a new charge of possession of a controlled substance. On August 9, 2017, when he appeared in this case again, the trial court approved his request for a referral to WestCare, the in-custody treatment program in the jail system, due to his continued use of controlled substances. On November 8, 2017, the court denied defendant's motion for a new trial. The case proceeded to sentencing.

         ¶ 9 The presentence investigation report (PSI) presented at sentencing showed defendant had prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance (2014 and 1993), possession with intent to deliver (1993 and 1992), resisting arrest (2014), theft (2014), armed robbery (1999 and 1995), resisting or obstructing a peace officer (1995), and possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card (1992). Defendant's sentences ranged from 18 months' probation to 25 years' imprisonment. Defendant reported that he had good relationships with his parents and siblings and had been with his "common law wife" since 1995. His wife suffered from a back injury and required surgery. Defendant suffered from chronic spinal stenosis and, due to his treatment in the WestCare program, learned he had had an "addiction problem." He reported a desire to maintain sobriety and felt the need to continue the substance abuse treatment program.

         ¶ 10 In aggravation, the State highlighted defendant's prior felony convictions, noting he had to be sentenced as a Class X offender, with a sentencing range of 6 to 30 years' imprisonment. It emphasized defendant was on parole when he committed the instant offense, committed another possession of a controlled substance with ...


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