People v. Ceasar, No. 1-90-1570

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtCERDA
Citation231 Ill.App.3d 54,596 N.E.2d 89
Parties, 172 Ill.Dec. 810 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Richard CEASAR, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 1-90-1570
Decision Date17 June 1992

Page 89

596 N.E.2d 89
231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Richard CEASAR, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-90-1570.
Appellate Court of Illinois,
First District, Third Division.
June 17, 1992.

Randolph N. Stone, Public Defender, Chicago, (Beth I. Solomon, Vicki Rogers, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

Jack O'Malley, State's Atty., County of Cook, Chicago, (Renee Goldfarb, David Stabrawa, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice CERDA delivered the opinion of the court.

Defendant, Richard Ceasar, appeals after a jury trial from his conviction of theft (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1)). Defendant argues on appeal that: (1) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed theft; (2) the trial court erred in permitting the introduction of the hearsay evidence of a conversation; (3) his right to a fair trial was violated by the introduction of other crimes evidence; (4) the trial judge abandoned his role as an impartial party and erroneously assumed the role of advocate by giving his opinion regarding what the evidence proved; (5) the trial court failed [231 Ill.App.3d 55] to advise him of the option of sentencing under the Illinois Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 111 1/2, par. 6360-1) where the trial court had reason to believe that defendant was a drug addict; and (6) the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing defendant to a term of imprisonment greater than the maximum permissible sentence.

Ruth Qualkenbush testified at the jury trial to the following. She arrived at Midway airport at approximately 6:30 a.m. on February 6, 1989. She had a wallet inside her purse that day, and she had a twenty dollar bill, a ten dollar bill, and three dollar bills. She missed her wallet when she went to the coffee shop after taking care of her ticket. But she had other money and did not think more about it until she was taken off the plane and told someone had taken her wallet. She never saw the person who took her wallet.

David Holmes testified to the following. He was a passenger service agent for Midway Airlines. On February 6, 1989, at approximately 7:30 a.m., he had a conversation with a passenger in front of the ticket counter where he was working. After this conversation, he told a police officer that there was a pick-pocket in front of the ticket counter. Holmes pointed out defendant

Page 90

[172 Ill.Dec. 811] and codefendant, Jerrell Russell, to the officer; the two men were standing near the exit door. Earlier, he saw codefendant bumping into people in ticket lines and defendants talking to each other.

Chicago Police Officer Joseph Carone testified to the following. Holmes told him that two men had picked a woman's purse, and Holmes pointed out defendants. Defendants exited the airport together at a very fast pace, and Carone pursued them. Defendants crossed the street, started running, and constantly looked back towards Carone, who was wearing his police uniform. Defendants boarded a bus, which the officer stopped and boarded. He observed defendants sitting together in the rear. Codefendant took a wallet from his pocket and dropped it on the floor. Carone recovered the wallet and took defendants back to the airport. Mrs. Qualkenbush identified the wallet as hers. Carone recovered a twenty dollar bill, a ten dollar bill, and three dollar bills from codefendant but recovered nothing from defendant. Neither defendant had an airline ticket or a receipt.

The jury found defendants guilty of theft.

Defendant filed a motion for a new trial in which he argued, inter alia, that the State failed to prove that a theft occurred and that defendant aided a theft. The motion was denied. Defendant was sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

[231 Ill.App.3d 56] Defendant argues on appeal that there was no evidence supporting his conviction for theft based on accountability.

Defendant was charged with theft in that he "knowingly * * * obtain[ed] or exert[ed] unauthorized control over property of the owner." (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1).) A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another when:

"Either before or during the commission of an offense, and with the intent to promote or facilitate such commission, he solicits, aids, abets, agrees or attempts to aid, such other person in the planning or commission of the offense." (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 38, par. 5-2.)

The elements of accountability are: (1) defendant elicited, aided, abetted, agreed, or attempted to aid another person in the planning or commission of the offense; (2) this participation took place before or during the commission of the offense; and (3) there was a concurrent and specific intent to promote or facilitate the commission of the offense. (People v. Valen (1989), 183 Ill.App.3d 571, 577, 131 Ill.Dec. 908, 539 N.E.2d 261.) Mere presence at the scene of a crime, even with knowledge that the crime is being committed, is not enough to prove participation. Valen, 183 Ill.App.3d at 577, 131 Ill.Dec. 908, 539 N.E.2d 261.

The only evidence of defendant's possible involvement with the theft of the wallet was that he was seen with codefendant after the theft must have taken place and that he ran with codefendant to the bus upon being pursued by a police officer. That defendant was in the presence of a thief and ran from the police did not establish that he participated in or facilitated the theft.

The judgment of the circuit court is reversed.

REVERSED.

RIZZI, J., concurs.

TULLY, J., dissents.

Justice TULLY, dissenting:

After examining the record and briefs in this case, I am of the opinion that the decision to reverse the conviction of Richard Ceasar is in error. The basic facts of this case are that the victim in this instance had her wallet removed from her possession while purchasing a ticket at Midway Airport in Chicago. She did not realize this until later informed of the theft while on the airplane. After buying her ticket, she noted that she did not have her wallet, but having other money, she did not begin to search for it. Police officer Charles Carone later showed her the missing wallet. She indicated that she gave no permission[231 Ill.App.3d 57] to any of the individuals, who were subsequently

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[172 Ill.Dec. 812] charged as defendants in this case, to take her wallet or money. She did not see anyone remove her wallet. She did not see defendant Ceasar or codefendant Russell, reach into her purse,...

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7 practice notes
  • People v. Turner, No. 3-05-0747.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 12, 2007
    ...monetary debt, and lacked knowledge regarding the circumstances of the ongoing confrontation). Defendant relies on People v. Ceasar, 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992), and People v. Trapps, 22 Ill.App.3d 1029, 318 N.E.2d 108 (1974), to support her argument that the e......
  • The People Of The State Of Ill. v. Gabriel, No. 1-07-2231.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 27, 2010
    ...1, 646 N.E.2d 567. Defendant relies on People v. Perez, 189 Ill.2d 254, 244 Ill.Dec. 371, 725 N.E.2d 1258 (2000), People v. Ceasar, 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992), and 924 N.E.2d 1146 People v. Trapps, 22 Ill.App.3d 1029, 318 N.E.2d 108 (1974), to support his argu......
  • People v. Profit, 1-17-0744
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 5, 2021
    ...on which Mr. Profit relies— People v. Taylor , 219 Ill. App. 3d 47, 161 Ill.Dec. 835, 579 N.E.2d 383 (1991), and People v. Ceasar , 231 Ill. App. 3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992) —are distinguishable. The court in Taylor found the evidence was not sufficient for a finding of gu......
  • People v. Estrada, No. 1-91-1529
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 11, 1993
    ...scene of a crime is not sufficient to sustain a conviction on an accountability theory. See People v. Furby; People v. Ceasar (1992), 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89, even though defendant and codefendant both ran after the commission of a theft, defendant's mere presence......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • People v. Turner, No. 3-05-0747.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 12, 2007
    ...monetary debt, and lacked knowledge regarding the circumstances of the ongoing confrontation). Defendant relies on People v. Ceasar, 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992), and People v. Trapps, 22 Ill.App.3d 1029, 318 N.E.2d 108 (1974), to support her argument that the e......
  • The People Of The State Of Ill. v. Gabriel, No. 1-07-2231.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 27, 2010
    ...1, 646 N.E.2d 567. Defendant relies on People v. Perez, 189 Ill.2d 254, 244 Ill.Dec. 371, 725 N.E.2d 1258 (2000), People v. Ceasar, 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992), and 924 N.E.2d 1146 People v. Trapps, 22 Ill.App.3d 1029, 318 N.E.2d 108 (1974), to support his argu......
  • People v. Profit, 1-17-0744
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 5, 2021
    ...on which Mr. Profit relies— People v. Taylor , 219 Ill. App. 3d 47, 161 Ill.Dec. 835, 579 N.E.2d 383 (1991), and People v. Ceasar , 231 Ill. App. 3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89 (1992) —are distinguishable. The court in Taylor found the evidence was not sufficient for a finding of gu......
  • People v. Estrada, No. 1-91-1529
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 11, 1993
    ...scene of a crime is not sufficient to sustain a conviction on an accountability theory. See People v. Furby; People v. Ceasar (1992), 231 Ill.App.3d 54, 172 Ill.Dec. 810, 596 N.E.2d 89, even though defendant and codefendant both ran after the commission of a theft, defendant's mere presence......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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