People v. Coleman

Citation233 Ill.Dec. 789,701 N.E.2d 1063,183 Ill.2d 366
Decision Date01 October 1998
Docket NumberNo. 81441,81441
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Parties, 233 Ill.Dec. 789 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Dedrick COLEMAN, Appellant.

Page 1063

701 N.E.2d 1063
183 Ill.2d 366, 233 Ill.Dec. 789
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
Dedrick COLEMAN, Appellant.
No. 81441.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Oct. 1, 1998.

Page 1066

[183 Ill.2d 369] [233 Ill.Dec. 792] John E. Horn, Elizabeth, Kelley, Tinley, for Dedrick Coleman.

Linda D. Woloshin, Assistant State's Attorney, Jim Ryan, Attorney General, Criminal Appeals Div., Chicago, for the People.

Chief Justice FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a trial in the circuit court of Cook County, a jury convicted defendant, Dedrick Coleman, of two counts of first degree murder, armed robbery, and home invasion. Defendant waived his right to a jury for the ensuing capital sentence hearing, and the circuit court sentenced him to death on the murder convictions. The circuit court also sentenced defendant to concurrent terms of 30 years for each of the home invasion convictions and concurrent terms of 30 and 60 years for the [183 Ill.2d 370] armed robbery convictions. The sentences for the armed robbery convictions were to be served consecutively to the terms for home invasion. On direct appeal, this court affirmed defendant's convictions and sentences. People v. Coleman, 158 Ill.2d 319, 198 Ill.Dec. 813, 633 N.E.2d 654 (1994). The United States Supreme Court subsequently denied defendant's petition for writ of certiorari. Coleman v. Illinois, 513 U.S. 881, 115 S.Ct. 215, 130 L.Ed.2d 143 (1994).

Defendant thereafter filed a petition, which was later amended with leave of court, for relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 1994)). The circuit court dismissed the amended petition without an evidentiary hearing, and this appeal followed. 134 Ill.2d R. 651. We now affirm in part and reverse in part the order of the circuit court and remand the cause for an evidentiary hearing.

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[233 Ill.Dec. 793] BACKGROUND

This court previously detailed the evidence adduced at defendant's trial in our opinion on direct appeal. See People v. Coleman, 158 Ill.2d 319, 198 Ill.Dec. 813, 633 N.E.2d 654. Accordingly, we will reiterate here only those facts which are germane to the issues raised in this appeal. Defendant's convictions stemmed from the double murders of Lance Hale and Avis Welch, which occurred in the first-floor apartment of a two-flat home in Chicago on April 26, 1989. The first-floor apartment was a known "drug house" owned and operated by Alex McCullough. Defendant knew McCullough through his employment in McCullough's drug operation. McCullough was also the boyfriend of defendant's sister. About one month before the murders, defendant and McCullough had argued about defendant's alleged theft of cocaine and $2,000.

At trial, Aldene Lockett, who lived in the second-floor apartment of the two-flat, testified that at around 5:30 a.m. on April 26, 1989, she heard voices coming from the first-floor apartment. A short while later, she heard a [183 Ill.2d 371] gunshot and something fall. Two more shots later rang out, and Lockett heard a door open. At this time, she looked out her window and saw a dark-complected young man between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches leave the apartment. The man was wearing all black clothing and sunglasses. Lockett later related what she had seen to police officers investigating the Hale/Welch murders.

Eventually, police connected defendant to the drug house murders, in large part due to defendant's shooting of McCullough five days later on May 1, 1989. Several people were present at the time of the McCullough shooting, and defendant told them that he wanted it said that he shot McCullough in self-defense. Nevertheless, some of these witnesses later turned themselves in to the police and informed them of defendant's true role in McCullough's shooting, as well as his involvement in the double homicide at the drug house. As a result, defendant participated in a lineup which was viewed by Aldene Lockett on May 2, 1989. At trial, Lockett testified that one of the lineup participants "looked like he fit the height and description" of the man she had seen leave the drug house. Lockett further told police that the man had been wearing sunglasses. The police then asked each of the lineup participants to put on sunglasses. All but one of the participants complied. According to Lockett, the participant who did not put on the sunglasses was the same participant who had the weight and height of the man she had seen leave the drug house. On cross-examination, Lockett stated that she did not positively identify anyone to police from the lineup, but merely told the police that the man who did not put on the glasses "could have been" the same man she had seen leave the murder scene because "he had the same height, and build, and color."

Chicago police detective Tony Maslanka testified that he and his partner, Detective Carroll, conducted the [183 Ill.2d 372] lineup which Lockett viewed. According to Maslanka, Lockett told him that one of the men in the lineup, identified by Maslanka as defendant, "looked like the individual she saw leave the first-floor apartment * * * in regard to height, complexion, and physical build." Maslanka stated that because Lockett had seen the suspect leave the building wearing sunglasses, each of the lineup participants was asked to put on a pair of sunglasses. All of the participants in the lineup complied, with the exception of defendant. Lockett again stated to Maslanka that the man who did not put on the sunglasses "was the individual whom she saw that day in question with regard to height, physical build, and complection [sic ]." On cross-examination, Maslanka admitted that Lockett did not positively identify defendant as the man she had seen leave the scene of the murders. Rather, Maslanka characterized her identification as "tentative" because Lockett had told him that she had not been wearing her glasses when she saw the suspect leave the building and that she was nearsighted.

The only other aspect of defendant's original trial which is at issue in this post-conviction proceeding is defendant's sentencing hearing. As noted previously, defendant waived his right to a jury at the capital sentence hearing. At the eligibility phase of

Page 1068

[233 Ill.Dec. 794] the hearing, the circuit court found that defendant was over 18 years of age at the time of the murders and that the murders were committed during the course of an armed robbery. Accordingly, the court found defendant eligible for the death penalty. The court then commenced the aggravation/mitigation phase of the hearing. In aggravation, the State stressed the facts of the double murders and also adduced evidence concerning defendant's prior criminal record and disciplinary record while incarcerated. At the close of the State's case in aggravation, the circuit court granted defense counsel's request for additional time to [183 Ill.2d 373] gather evidence in mitigation. The circuit court also ordered that a presentencing investigation (PSI) report be prepared on defendant. However, the court was informed, at the next hearing, that the PSI report had not been prepared because defendant refused to be interviewed.

After several more continuances, the proceedings reconvened. The circuit court first denied defendant's previously filed motion for a new trial, but granted defendant's motion for allocution during the sentence hearing. The transcript of proceedings then reveals the following colloquy between the court, defense counsel, and defendant:

"THE COURT: * * * Does defense have any evidence to submit in mitigation?

MR. PANARESE [defense counsel]: No evidence. I would like to make a record of some of the people that I did talk to, your Honor, some of Dedrick Coleman's family: specifically Laurence Coleman, 1 Erica Coleman who are sisters and Bernice Coleman and Fred Coleman who are the mother and father of Dedrick Coleman, Leaetta McGee, Lorrine McGee, Carl and Jerry McGee who are relatives on his mother's side.

Your Honor, I had spoke with them all and they conveyed to me that it was through conversation with the defendant that defendant did not want them to testify in that matter. They were unwilling to testify and they are not here obviously your Honor, and so we do not have any witnesses to speak on behalf of the defendant at this time.

THE COURT: Mr. Coleman, Mr. Panarese had discussed the fact that those people--he spoke to these people and they did not wish to testify at this hearing.

[183 Ill.2d 374] DEFENDANT: Yes, I told them not to.

THE COURT: Do you have anybody that you wish to call to testify before the Court in this hearing?

DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, but I don't want them here. I just--you know.

THE COURT: Well, you have to tell me if you have anybody you wish to call?

DEFENDANT: I don't have nobody I wish to call.

THE COURT: Pardon me.

DEFENDANT: No, sir. I don't have nobody I wish to call.

THE COURT: You understand we will issue subpoenas if you wish?

MR. PANARESE: Could I have one minute, Judge.


After a short recess, defense counsel informed the court that defendant did not "wish any subpoenas to be issued."

The court next asked counsel to present their arguments in aggravation and mitigation. After hearing both arguments, the court allowed defendant to address the court in allocution. In his statement, defendant told the court that he did not commit the murders and that his sister, Laurarence, testified against him because "Mr. Hynes [the assistant State's Attorney] threatened to take her kids as well as lock her up. * * * Now my little sister as well as the rest of them is willing to stand up in open court and tell what was really going on because this case is not mine." At the conclusion of these remarks, the court allowed defense counsel another opportunity to confer with defendant before any sentence was imposed. The following colloquy then occurred:

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