People v. Bradford

Decision Date24 November 2014
Docket NumberNo. 4–13–0288.,4–13–0288.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Jesse Travis BRADFORD, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Michael J. Pelletier, Jacqueline L. Bullard, and Nancy L. Vincent, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.

Jason Chambers, State's Attorney, of Bloomington (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and James C. Majors, all of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

OPINION

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

¶ 1 Following a January 2013 bench trial, the trial court found defendant guilty of burglary (720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2010)) and sentenced defendant to three years in prison. Defendant appeals, asserting (1) the State failed to prove him guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) the monetary assessments imposed by the circuit clerk must be vacated as the clerk lacked authority to enter them. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 On July 25, 2012, defendant was charged by indictment with burglary, a Class 2 felony (720 ILCS 5/19–1(a), (b) (West 2010)). The indictment alleged that on July 19, 2012, defendant “knowingly and without authority remain[ed] within the building of Walmart, with the intent to commit therein a felony or a theft.”

¶ 4 On January 18, 2013, defendant's bench trial commenced. Stephen Norton, an asset-protection associate for Walmart, testified first for the State. Norton testified he was working at Walmart on July 19, 2012, when he saw defendant enter the store. Norton was familiar with defendant and “knew he had to be watched.” According to Norton, he observed defendant, upon entering the store, walk directly to a display of newly released digital video discs (DVDs) located near the store's entrance. Norton then watched as defendant took two DVDs from the display and proceeded to the customer-service desk, where he conducted a “no receipt return.” In exchange for the DVDs, Norton testified defendant received a Walmart gift card reflecting a credit for the price of the DVDs he “returned.” Norton testified that after obtaining the gift card, defendant went into the men's apparel department, where he selected a hat, and then to the shoe department, where defendant selected some shoes. While he was in the shoe department, Norton stated defendant removed the tag from the hat and put the hat on his head. Defendant then produced a Walmart bag from his person and placed the shoes in the bag.

¶ 5 Norton testified defendant next met up with an unknown male and the two of them went to a cash register, where defendant paid for the unknown male's items using the gift card he received from customer service. According to Norton, defendant did not attempt to pay for the merchandise he had concealed in the Walmart bag or the hat he was wearing. Norton testified after defendant and the unknown male passed the last point of purchase, Norton and his partner approached them. They identified themselves as loss-prevention employees and told defendant and his companion they needed to talk to them about unpaid merchandise. Defendant refused to talk, handed the bag containing the “paid-for” merchandise to the other male, and walked out of the store. Norton called the Bloomington police department.

¶ 6 Norton testified that throughout the incident, he personally watched defendant as he moved through the store from a distance of no more than 20 feet. Norton testified he had either an unobstructed view of defendant, or he watched defendant through holes in the Peg–Boards of the shelves. In a photograph introduced by the State, Norton identified the two DVDs from the fraudulent return, the hat defendant wore out of the store, the pair of shoes, and a bottle of Dr. Pepper, all of which were contained in the Walmart bag.

¶ 7 Ryne Donovan, a Bloomington police officer, testified next for the State. Donovan responded to a retail-theft call from Walmart on July 19, 2012. Upon arriving at Walmart, Donovan stated he met with two loss-prevention employees who pointed out defendant in a neighboring parking lot as the suspect in the theft. After being read his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) ), defendant elected to speak to Donovan. According to Donovan, defendant told him the following.

[Defendant] went into [Walmart], selected two DVDs from a display, * * * returned them to customer service without paying for them, [and] got a gift card for them. He then went back into the store to shop around. He selected a blue cookie monster hat, a 20–ounce Dr. Pepper and a pair of shoes and concealed them in a [Walmart] bag. He then continued to shop and he selected a package of socks and tank tops which he did not conceal. He brought them up to the register, paid for the socks and tank tops with the gift card that he got from the DVDs and then he went to the front of the store without paying for the three items that he concealed in the [Walmart] bag. He met up with a friend, handed the bag of tank tops and socks to his friend. He was then confronted by [Walmart] loss prevention.”

¶ 8 The State rested and defendant moved for a directed verdict. Defendant argued that although he committed a retail theft—an offense for which he was not charged—the State failed to prove he committed burglary by unlawfully remaining as charged because he had authority to enter Walmart, did not enter into any unauthorized places within Walmart, and left the store after completing the offense. The State asserted the fact defendant had a Walmart bag on his person was evidence he entered the store with the intent to commit a theft, thus satisfying its burden under the burglary statute. The trial court denied defendant's motion, finding sufficient evidence was presented to establish defendant “entered the building with the intent to commit a theft therein,” and thus, the State “satisfie[d] the entering the building without authority aspect of the statute.”

¶ 9 The only evidence introduced by defendant was a McLean County jail report detailing the property defendant had on his person at the time he was arrested. According to the report, defendant's property included, among other items, $29.47 in cash, a blank $50 money order, and several credit cards.

¶ 10 During closing argument, defense counsel reiterated defendant was charged with the offense of burglary for remaining in Walmart with the intent to commit a theft, rather than entering Walmart with the intent to commit a theft. Counsel again argued defendant had lawful authority to enter the store, did not venture into any unauthorized area within the store, and exited the store after committing the offense. Counsel noted defendant had cash on his person and the ability to pay for the merchandise at the time of the offense and that his actions were completed in “a spur of the moment.” Counsel argued defendant was guilty of the offense of retail theft, not burglary.

¶ 11 The trial court found defendant guilty of burglary. Specifically, the court found that defendant entered Walmart without lawful authority with the intent to commit a theft, and he also “remain[ed] in the building through his actions without lawful authority.”

¶ 12 On February 14, 2013, defendant filed a motion for a new trial, asserting among other things that the State failed to prove him guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt.

¶ 13 On March 18, 2013, the trial court sentenced defendant to three years in prison imposed a number of monetary assessments, and awarded defendant $965 in pretrial-detention credit. Immediately thereafter, the court heard and denied defendant's motion for a new trial. At some later point, the circuit clerk imposed a $2 State's Attorney records automation assessment and a $10 probation and court services assessment.

¶ 14 This appeal followed.

¶ 15 II. ANALYSIS

¶ 16 On appeal, defendant asserts (1) the State failed to prove him guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) the monetary assessments imposed by the circuit clerk must be vacated as the clerk lacked authority to enter them.

¶ 17 A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

¶ 18 Defendant first asserts the State failed to prove him guilty of burglary as charged in the indictment. Specifically, defendant argues the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his conviction for burglary by “without authority remain[ing] within” Walmart with the intent to commit a theft therein.

¶ 19 When considering a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, “the relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” People v. Campbell, 146 Ill.2d 363, 374, 166 Ill.Dec. 932, 586 N.E.2d 1261, 1266 (1992). “The trier of fact has the responsibility to determine the credibility of witnesses and the weight given to their testimony, to resolve conflicts in the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from that evidence.” People v. Burney , 2011 IL App (4th) 100343, ¶ 25, 357 Ill.Dec. 477, 963 N.E.2d 430. [We] will not reverse a criminal conviction unless the evidence is so unreasonable, improbable, or so unsatisfactory as to justify a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt [citation].” Campbell, 146 Ill.2d at 375, 166 Ill.Dec. 932, 586 N.E.2d at 1266.

¶ 20 Section 19–1(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/19–1(a) (West 2010)) provides, “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.” In other words, a person commits burglary by either (1) entering a building without authority with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein or (2) remaining in a building without authority with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein. Here, ...

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