People v. Bradford

Citation401 Ill.Dec. 630,50 N.E.3d 1112
Decision Date24 March 2016
Docket NumberNo. 118674.,118674.
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Jesse Travis BRADFORD, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

50 N.E.3d 1112
401 Ill.Dec.
630

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee
v.
Jesse Travis BRADFORD, Appellant.

No. 118674.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

March 24, 2016.


50 N.E.3d 1113

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Jacqueline L. Bullard, Deputy Defender, and Joel C. Wessol, Assistant Appellate Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, of Springfield, for appellant.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Jason Chambers, State's Attorney, of Bloomington (Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, and Michael M. Glick and Eric M. Levin, Assistant Attorneys General, of Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

OPINION

Justice BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

401 Ill.Dec. 631

¶ 1 Following a bench trial, the circuit court of McLean County convicted the defendant, Jesse Bradford, of burglary and sentenced him to three years in prison. On appeal, defendant contended the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he remained within a store without authority and with the intent to commit a theft therein, within the meaning of the burglary statute. See 720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2012). The appellate court rejected this contention and affirmed defendant's conviction. 2014 IL App (4th) 130288, 386 Ill.Dec. 834, 21 N.E.3d 753.

¶ 2 Defendant filed a petition for leave to appeal, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules 315 and 612 (Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2013); R. 612 (eff.Feb. 6, 2013)), which we granted. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgments of the appellate and circuit courts.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 Defendant was charged by indictment with one count of burglary by “knowingly and without authority remain[ing]

401 Ill.Dec. 632
50 N.E.3d 1114

within the building of Walmart, with the intent to commit therein a felony or a theft,” in violation of section 19–1(a) of the Criminal Code of 2012 (720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2012)).

¶ 5 At defendant's bench trial, the State presented the testimony of Stephen Norton, an asset protection associate at a Walmart store in Bloomington, Illinois. On July 19, 2012, Norton observed defendant enter the Walmart during the store's regular business hours. Norton recognized defendant and continued to observe all of his movements and activities inside the store. At all times, defendant stayed in areas of the store which were open to the public.

¶ 6 Defendant first picked up two DVDs from a store display near the cash registers. He then brought the DVDs to the customer service desk and conducted a “no-receipt” return in exchange for a Walmart gift card. Next, defendant went to the men's apparel department, where he picked up a hat, removed the price tag, and put it on. Defendant then went to the shoe department and picked up a pair of shoes. He placed the shoes in a Walmart bag which he produced from his pocket. Defendant proceeded to the cash registers, where he joined a male individual who had accompanied him to the store. Defendant paid for his friend's merchandise using the same gift card he had received in exchange for the DVDs. He did not attempt to pay for the hat or the shoes. When defendant and his friend left the store, Norton and his partner approached them and identified themselves. Defendant refused to speak and kept walking, while the friend ran in another direction. Norton called the Bloomington police department and followed defendant on foot until the police arrived.

¶ 7 Bloomington police officer Ryne Donovan testified that he was called to the scene of a retail theft. He saw defendant outside the Walmart store alongside two of the store's security personnel. Officer Donovan handcuffed defendant and brought him inside the store. Defendant confessed to taking the DVDs, conducting a fraudulent no-receipt return, and stealing a hat, shoes, and a 20–ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper. He also confessed to paying for his friend's merchandise with the Walmart gift card he obtained from the DVDs. The State introduced into evidence a photograph depicting the hat, shoes, and Dr. Pepper found on defendant's person, as well as the two DVDs.

¶ 8 At the close of the State's case, the defense moved for a directed verdict. While conceding the evidence was sufficient to prove the crime of retail theft, defendant argued there was insufficient evidence of burglary as defined in section 19–1(a) of the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2012)). Defendant's motion was denied. The trial court convicted defendant of burglary as charged and sentenced him to three years in prison.

¶ 9 Defendant appealed, arguing there was no evidence that he remained within the store without authority as required by the burglary statute. The appellate court affirmed defendant's conviction. 2014 IL App (4th) 130288, 386 Ill.Dec. 834, 21 N.E.3d 753. The court held, as a matter of law, that a defendant's act of remaining within a building open to the public is “ ‘without authority’ ” if it is accompanied by an intent to steal. Id. ¶ 28. In the instant case, “[a]ny authority defendant may have had to remain in the store was implicitly withdrawn once he formed the intent to steal from Walmart.” (Emphasis in original.) Id. ¶ 34. Although the court did not identify the precise moment at which defendant began to unlawfully remain in the store, it held that defendant remained without authority “as he moved

401 Ill.Dec. 633
50 N.E.3d 1115

through the store and stole merchandise.” Id.

¶ 10 ANALYSIS

¶ 11 On appeal to this court, defendant repeats the same argument he raised in the appellate court, i.e., that the State failed to prove him guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt because there was insufficient evidence that he “remained within” the store without authority.

¶ 12 When considering a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, a reviewing court must determine whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, a rational trier of fact could have found the required elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Belknap, 2014 IL 117094, ¶ 67, 387 Ill.Dec. 633, 23 N.E.3d 325. It is the responsibility of the trier of fact to resolve conflicts in the testimony, weigh the evidence, and draw reasonable inferences from the facts. People v. Campbell, 146 Ill.2d 363, 375, 166 Ill.Dec. 932, 586 N.E.2d 1261 (1992). Accordingly, a reviewing court will not substitute its judgment for the fact finder on questions involving the weight of the evidence or the credibility of the witnesses. Id. On appeal from a criminal conviction, we will not reverse the trial court's judgment unless the evidence is so unreasonable, improbable, or unsatisfactory that it justifies a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt. Id.

¶ 13 Section 19–1(a) of the Criminal Code provides, in part, that “[a] person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, * * * or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.” 720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2012). Thus, under the statute, there are two ways to commit the crime of burglary: (1) by entering without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft, or (2) by remaining without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft. Id.

¶ 14 Defendant was charged with, and convicted of, the second type of burglary: “knowingly and without authority remain[ing] within the building of Walmart, with the intent to commit therein a felony or a theft,” in violation of section 19–1(a). 720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2012). Because the parties disagree about what it means to remain without authority in a public place of business, we must first construe the statutory language before determining whether the State proved the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

¶ 15 Our primary goal in statutory interpretation is to ascertain and effectuate the legislature's intent. People v. Giraud, 2012 IL 113116, ¶ 6, 366 Ill.Dec. 748, 980 N.E.2d 1107. The best indication of this intent is the statutory language, given its plain and ordinary meaning. Id. The words and phrases in a statute should be construed in light of other relevant provisions and not in isolation. People v. Gutman, 2011 IL 110338, ¶ 12, 355 Ill.Dec. 207, 959 N.E.2d 621. We may consider the reason for the law, the problems to be remedied, the purposes to be achieved, and the consequences of construing the statute one way or another. Id. Where the language is plain and unambiguous, it must be applied without resort to further aids of statutory construction. People v. Collins, 214 Ill.2d 206, 214, 291 Ill.Dec. 686, 824 N.E.2d 262 (2005). Where the language is ambiguous, however, we may consider external sources, such as legislative history, in order to discern the intent of the legislature. Id. The construction of a statute is a question of law which is reviewed de novo. People v. Davison, 233 Ill.2d 30, 40, 329 Ill.Dec. 347, 906 N.E.2d 545 (2009).

50 N.E.3d 1116
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