People v. Bridgeforth

Decision Date22 August 2017
Docket NumberNo. 1-14-3637,1-14-3637
Citation86 N.E.3d 1058,2017 IL App (1st) 143637
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Idris BRIDGEFORTH, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

2017 IL App (1st) 143637
86 N.E.3d 1058

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee,
v.
Idris BRIDGEFORTH, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 1-14-3637

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, SECOND DIVISION.

August 22, 2017


Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Katherine M. Donahoe, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Whitney L. Bond, and Aaron R. Bond, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE PIERCE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Idris Bridgeforth was convicted of one count of criminal sexual assault, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and one count of indecent solicitation of a child based on his contact with J.E., a student at the school where defendant was a sports coach. Defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison for those offenses. On appeal, defendant contends this case should be remanded for additional inquiry, pursuant

86 N.E.3d 1060

to People v. Krankel, 102 Ill. 2d 181, 80 Ill.Dec. 62, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (1984), into his claim that his trial attorney should have presented records of physical therapy sessions and coaching timesheets to show that defendant was elsewhere during the time of the described encounters. Defendant also claims the trial court erred in assessing two fees against him.

¶ 2 Count I of the indictment charged defendant with criminal sexual assault ( 720 ILCS 5/11–1.20(a)(4) (West 2010)) for committing an act of sexual penetration with J.E., who was between 13 and 18 years of age when the act was committed, where defendant was older than 17 years of age and held a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to J.E. Counts II and III charged defendant with aggravated criminal sexual abuse ( 720 ILCS 5/11–1.60(f) (West 2010)) for committing acts of sexual conduct, specifically touching his hand to J.E.'s vagina and breast for the purpose of sexual gratification, where J.E. was between 13 and 18 years of age and defendant held a position of trust, authority, or supervision. Count IV charged defendant with indecent solicitation of a child ( 720 ILCS 5/11–6(a) (West 2010)) for knowingly soliciting J.E. to perform an act of sexual penetration where he was older than 17 years of age with the intent to commit criminal sexual assault. The indictment averred that those actions took place between December 1, 2011, and June 5, 2012.

¶ 3 Before trial, defense counsel told the court he had subpoenaed defendant's timesheets from the school and J.E.'s school records to "see what dates she was there or wasn't there." The court conducted an in camera inspection of those documents and gave to each party copies of what the court described as "employee time records."

¶ 4 At trial, J.E. testified that in 2012, she was 14 years old and in the eighth grade at Ashburn Elementary School in Chicago. She had been on the track team since fifth grade and the basketball team since sixth grade. Defendant was one of her coaches.

¶ 5 Between April and June 2012, J.E. attended between three and five track practices each week. Defendant gave J.E. a ride home from practice about twice each week because J.E.'s mother was unable to pick her up. Defendant also drove J.E. home about twice each week during the winter basketball season. If defendant also gave rides to other students, he usually dropped J.E. off last.

¶ 6 J.E. described four instances of contact by defendant between April and June 2012. In the last week of April 2012, defendant drove J.E. home after a meeting held at school about track, and defendant touched her inner thigh. The next incident occurred within the next week, when J.E. was in the passenger seat of defendant's car after school. She wore basketball shorts and a T-shirt. Defendant touched her thigh and reached inside the leg of her shorts and her underwear, and defendant touched and entered her vagina with his hand. J.E. asked defendant to stop, and he did. The next encounter took place a couple of weeks later, in May, when defendant touched her breast and her thigh. The final incident occurred on June 2, after a track meet, when defendant kissed J.E. and put her hand on his penis.

¶ 7 On cross-examination, J.E. testified defendant had been in a car accident in December 2011 and was not at the school from April 9 to May 4. Defendant drove her home during the entire basketball season through January 2012.

¶ 8 Stacy Porche, J.E.'s mother, testified that defendant coached track in the spring of 2012 after taking medical leave. J.E. had

86 N.E.3d 1061

track practice "almost every day," according to Porche. Defendant gave J.E. rides home in late April and May after practice or a track meet. She discovered text message between defendant and J.E. on J.E.'s device the morning of June 6.

¶ 9 The State introduced into evidence a series of text messages between defendant and J.E. that were exchanged between May 31 and June 5. One exchange took place from 5:50 p.m. to 8:01 p.m. on June 2, and the final series of messages took place on June 5 between 4:16 p.m. and 10:26 p.m.

¶ 10 Jewel Diaz, the school principal, and Megan McKay, a teacher at Ashburn, testified that defendant took medical leave beginning April 9. Neither of them saw defendant in school between that date and May 4. Diaz did not know if defendant was coaching during that time. Defendant was arrested at the school on June 6. Because sports coaches are compensated by the Chicago Board of Education, not the school itself, Diaz did not sign off on or have records of time sheets submitted by defendant.

¶ 11 Chicago police detective Charles Hollendoner testified he recovered text messages from defendant's cell phone and a device used by J.E. Defendant made an oral statement to the detective admitting to sexual contact with J.E. consistent with her testimony. The State rested.

¶ 12 Saadia Bridgeforth, defendant's wife, testified he was in a car accident on March 6, 2012, and had knee surgery in late March or early April. From then until May 7, defendant was on crutches and did not drive a car. After May 7, defendant used her vehicle and a friend's car during his recuperation. Defendant did not go to the school or coach track during that period. After May 7, she worked either from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or from noon to 8 p.m. and was sometimes off on a weekday. Defendant typically arrived home between 4:30 and 5 p.m. but could get home as late as 6 p.m. on the days he coached track.

¶ 13 On cross-examination, Bridgeforth could not state which shift she worked on which days in April or May and did not know where defendant was when she was away from home. During defendant's recuperation, he could not bend his right knee and needed assistance dressing.

¶ 14 At the close of evidence, the trial court found defendant guilty on all charged counts, noting that J.E.'s testimony was detailed and was corroborated by defendant's statement. The court continued the case to allow defense counsel to file a written motion for a new trial.

¶ 15 At the next court date, defense counsel told the court he had just received records of defendant's physical therapy sessions after his surgery. This exchange occurred regarding that evidence:

"DEFENSE COUNSEL: There are records concerning dates and times of when [defendant] got physical therapy in April that—now, I didn't have these records. I had records that his family provided before trial. I think one of the problems was that until trial, since there was such a broad time alleged, from December of 2011 until June of 2012, it was never pinpointed.

There may be a situation where [defendant] feels—I talked to him about this just in the back because I just got these—that I didn't present something I should have presented. I don't necessarily think that's the case. He's presenting this like they should have known or I should have—physical therapy, these hours. The records I have, expect [sic] for one date, would be relevant.

In any event, the question, I think, I present—and I told [defendant] if he feels that in some way I didn't represent
86 N.E.3d 1062
him as I should have, like if he feels there was ineffective assistance of counsel, now is the time for him to state that. And if he wants to discharge me or bring in another attorney and claim ineffective [assistance of counsel] or if he can't afford one, I told him the Court would appoint one for him, but this would be the opportunity. I just was handed these, so I just had this conversation with him. So I'm not sure. He tells me he's generally satisfied. But again, there's this thing out here. I don't know. Maybe he needs a little time to think about this before we proceed."

¶ 16 The court continued the case to allow counsel to consult with defendant "and learn in greater detail what the claimed concerns are," noting that a Krankel hearing might be necessary.

¶ 17 At the next court date, counsel stated that defendant told him "for the first time" on the prior date that he had documentation of his physical therapy appointments that he thought should have been presented at trial. Counsel noted "there was a date in April and a date in May that the record he gave...

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  • People v. Utley
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 29, 2019
    ...challenge, the supreme court agreed). It is well established that "[t]he rules of waiver also apply to the State." People v. Bridgeforth , 2017 IL App (1st) 143637, ¶ 46, 416 Ill.Dec. 773, 86 N.E.3d 1058 ; People v. Jones , 2018 IL App (1st) 151307, ¶ 47, 422 Ill.Dec. 627, 103 N.E.3d 991 (b......
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    • May 3, 2018
    ...forfeit a claim of forfeiture by failing to raise it. E.g. , People v. Bridgeforth , 2017 IL App (1st) 143637, ¶ 46, 416 Ill.Dec. 773, 86 N.E.3d 1058 ("The rules of waiver also apply to the State, and where, as here, the State fails to argue that defendant has forfeited the issue, it has wa......
  • People v. Mullen
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    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 5, 2018
    ...issues repeatedly arise on appeal in cases where both sides agree that the assessments were erroneously imposed. See People v. Bridgeforth , 2017 IL App (1st) 143637, ¶ 50, 416 Ill.Dec. 773, 86 N.E.3d 1058 ("[G]iven that the State concedes that these assessments were imposed in error, we do......
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    ...State does not argue that defendant has forfeited his argument and therefore has forfeited any forfeiture argument. See People v. Bridgeforth , 2017 IL App (1st) 143637, ¶ 46, 416 Ill.Dec. 773, 86 N.E.3d 1058 (rules of waiver and forfeiture also apply to the State). We will therefore review......
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