People v. Coulter, No. 1-87-3175

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtCAMPBELL
Citation230 Ill.App.3d 209,171 Ill.Dec. 643,594 N.E.2d 1163
Parties, 171 Ill.Dec. 643 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dwayne COULTER, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 1-87-3175
Decision Date16 March 1992

Page 1163

594 N.E.2d 1163
230 Ill.App.3d 209, 171 Ill.Dec. 643
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Dwayne COULTER, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-87-3175.
Appellate Court of Illinois,
First District, First Division.
March 16, 1992.
Rehearing Denied June 25, 1992.

Page 1165

[230 Ill.App.3d 212] [171 Ill.Dec. 645] Michael J. Pelletier, Deputy Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender (Debra R. Salinger, Asst. Appellate Defender, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

Jack O'Malley, State's Atty., County of Cook (Renee Goldfarb and William P. Pistorius, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant Dwayne Coulter was convicted of the murder of Michael Ridges [230 Ill.App.3d 213] and conspiracy to murder Robert Fischer. Defendant was sentenced to natural

Page 1166

[171 Ill.Dec. 646] life imprisonment. For the following reasons, we affirm.

The record on appeal indicates the following facts. Defendant, Allen Falls, Ira Jackson and John Annerino were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prior to a hearing on defendant's fitness to stand trial, the State found out that defendant had been examined by two experts, Drs. Conroe and Hemmerich. The court ordered defendant to turn over two documents relating to defendant's fitness prepared by Dr. Hemmerich and one report prepared by Dr. Conroe, along with notes from Dr. Conroe's second examination of defendant.

At the fitness hearing, the State called Dr. Kaplan, who testified that defendant was fit to stand trial. Following Dr. Kaplan's testimony, the jury was sent from the room. The court allowed the State to conduct a voir dire of Dr. Hemmerich. The State had subpoenaed Dr. Hemmerich earlier that morning because defendant did not intend to have him testify at the hearing. Dr. Hemmerich opined that defendant was fit to stand trial.

When the jury returned, defendant called Dr. Conroe, who testified that defendant was unfit to stand trial. On cross-examination, Dr. Conroe admitted that before his second examination of defendant, he had seen Dr. Hemmerich's second report to the contrary. The jury found defendant fit to stand trial.

Before trial, the court denied defendant's motion to sever the charges against him. Defendant's answer to discovery listed insanity as a possible defense and listed witnesses defendant might call at trial. The State moved to bar expert testimony on the insanity defense because defendant refused to cooperate with a court-ordered examination and there were no reports bearing on the insanity defense. Defense counsel replied that the potential witnesses had been listed and the relevant reports had been disclosed. The court directed that subpoenas issue for Drs. Conroe and Hemmerich.

The following day, the State reported that Dr. Conroe had stated by phone that he had no reports on sanity. Dr. Hemmerich refused to speak to the State and was served with the subpoena. The State asserted that it had a right to know which of the doctors listed by defendant might testify on the insanity defense. The court ordered defense counsel to so specify and jailed defense counsel when he refused to do so. Later, Dr. Hemmerich testified that he had an opinion on defendant's sanity, but it was not in writing. The court ruled that Dr. Hemmerich would provide a written summary of his opinion or he would be barred from testifying at trial.

[230 Ill.App.3d 214] Later, defendant moved to substitute judges before another judge. After a hearing, the motion was denied and the case was transferred back to the original trial judge.

At the outset of the jury selection process, the trial court stated that both sides would be required to give reasons for their peremptory challenges. After the first panel of venire-persons were questioned on voir dire, defendant moved for a mistrial because the State had exercised its first six peremptory challenges to exclude African-Americans from the jury. The trial court denied not only this motion, but also two subsequent motions for mistrial claiming discriminatory jury selection.

The following evidence was adduced at trial. In August 1984, Robert Fischer became the friend of John Annerino, an official in the Clerk's Office for the City of Chicago. Fischer moved in with Annerino, becoming the pastor of a church which Annerino ran from the basement of his home. As pastor, Fischer had access to church assets in excess of $500,000. Annerino supplied Fischer with a luxury car paid for by church funds, as well as a job at the Clerk's office.

Later, the two men had a falling out; Annerino told Fischer "that there was only one way that [Fischer] would ever leave that house or his church, and that would be in a coffin." Fischer moved into his mother's house in Prospect Heights on June 30, 1985. Fischer lost his job the next day. Annerino filed, then dropped, a criminal charge against Fischer; both men filed suit

Page 1167

[171 Ill.Dec. 647] over room, board and possession of Fischer's personal effects.

In August 1985, a brick was thrown through the picture window of Fischer's home. Fischer later received a death threat by telephone. On October 5, 1985, someone shot at Fischer as he left his job at a bar. Steve Calvin testified that on October 14, 1985, he spoke with Ira Jackson and Allen Falls, the latter offering him money to kill Fischer for Annerino. Bobby Lindsey also testified that Falls offered him money to kill Fischer.

On October 15, Lindsey spoke to Falls in front of defendant. Lindsey first drove Falls and defendant to Annerino's house; later they went to Fischer's home. Falls told Lindsey to shoot Fischer. Lindsey was given a .22 revolver and was shown Fischer's picture. Fischer's mother answered the door and told Lindsey, who claimed he had car trouble, that Fischer was not home. The three men left.

On October 16, 1985, Lindsey, Falls, Jackson, Calvin and defendant drove to Fischer's home. Falls gave Calvin a .22 caliber gun and defendant gave Lindsey a .357 caliber gun. The five men left after hearing that Fischer was not at home again. Later that day, Fischer [230 Ill.App.3d 215] received a phone call from a man purporting to be a Chicago police officer. The man claimed to have a warrant for Fischer's arrest. The man stated that he would be at Fischer's house the next morning at 9:30 a.m., and Fischer should be home. Fischer called the Prospect Heights Police Department and spoke with Officer Michael Ridges.

On October 17, 1985, Officer Ridges arrived at Fischer's home at 9 a.m., where the two men spoke for about 10 minutes. Officer Ridges wrote a report and left. Minutes later, near the intersection of Willow and Elmhurst Roads, Officer Ridges effected a traffic stop of a blue Cadillac without license plates. In the car were Falls, Jackson and defendant.

Officer Lussky, who heard Ridges call in the traffic stop, heard a call minutes later of an officer shot at the same location. At the scene, Lussky found Ridges on the ground with an injury to his chin and a fatal bullet wound to the head. He also found Falls' driver's license near Ridges. Officer Kucharski, hearing of the shooting, spotted the blue Cadillac on the Kennedy Expressway, called for a wagon and pulled the car over. Falls, Jackson and defendant were ordered out of the car. Defendant wore an outfit strongly resembling a Chicago Police uniform. A pistol, badge and police scanner were in plain view in the car.

Officer Tabuka, searching defendant, found a .38 caliber pistol with two spent cartridges and four live shells. Later testing showed that the bullet which killed Ridges came from this gun, and showed gunpowder residue on defendant's hands. Officer Harder testified that he noticed nothing unusual about defendant's behavior at the time of arrest. Officer Smith testified that defendant seemed rational when arrested, but admitted that he had testified before that defendant did not seem rational.

Defendant testified that on October 17, 1985, he, Falls and Falls' cousin drove to Des Plaines to look for a job in a mall. They were lost when they were pulled over by the police. The Officer asked to see Falls' license. The men got out of the car. The officer asked if defendant had a gun; defendant said he did. Defendant testified he was angry that Ridges did not believe he was a security guard, and the gun went off accidentally after he slammed it down on the hood of the Cadillac. The three men fled in panic when Ridges was shot. Later testing failed to show marks or powder burns on the hood of the car.

Dr. Hemmerich testified that defendant was insane at the time of the shooting. Dr. Kaplan testified that defendant was not suffering from a mental illness at the time of the offense.

[230 Ill.App.3d 216] Following closing arguments, the jury found defendant guilty of murdering Ridges and conspiring to murder Fischer. The jury declined to impose the death penalty. Defendant was sentenced to natural life imprisonment and appealed to this court.

Page 1168

[171 Ill.Dec. 648] I.

Defendant first argues that the trial court erred in failing to sever the charges against him. Joinder of prosecutions is permitted when the charges are "based on the same act or on 2 or more acts which are part of the same basic transaction." (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 38, par. 111-4(a), 114-7.) Although there are no precise factors which determine whether offenses are part of the same comprehensive transaction, important factors include: the proximity of the offenses in time and location; the identity of evidence needed to link the offenses; whether the offenses shared a common method; and whether the same or similar evidence would establish the elements of the offenses. (People v. Duncan (1987), 115 Ill.2d 429, 441, 106 Ill.Dec. 1, 6, 505 N.E.2d 307, 312, vacated on other grounds, 484 U.S. 806, 108...

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28 practice notes
  • People v. Fleming, No. 1–11–3004.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 25, 2014
    ...of the offenses.” People v. Jackson, 233 Ill.App.3d 1089, 1098, 175 Ill.Dec. 178, 599 N.E.2d 1192 (1992) (citing People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 216–17, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992) ).¶ 37 Conversely, section 114–8 discusses when charges may be severed. “If it appears tha......
  • People v. Haynes, No. 77569
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 24, 1996
    ...there was a presumption of [174 Ill.2d 235] competency and that the State had the burden of proving competency); People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 217, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 Waiver of Counsel The defendant asserts that reversal of his convictions is warranted because his wa......
  • People Of The State Of Ill. v. Gutierrez, No. 1-07-2516.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2010
    ...in consideration of “all relevant circumstances,” a prima facie case of discrimination has been established. People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 222, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992). “Relevant circumstances” include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) racial identity bet......
  • Fleming v. Moswin, No. 1–10–3475.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 13, 2012
    ...167 Ill.Dec. 996, 588 N.E.2d 1126 (all eight peremptory challenges directed toward African–American venirepersons); People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 223, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992) (nine of ten peremptory challenges used to exclude African–Americans); People v. Nicholson......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • People v. Fleming, No. 1–11–3004.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 25, 2014
    ...of the offenses.” People v. Jackson, 233 Ill.App.3d 1089, 1098, 175 Ill.Dec. 178, 599 N.E.2d 1192 (1992) (citing People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 216–17, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992) ).¶ 37 Conversely, section 114–8 discusses when charges may be severed. “If it appears tha......
  • People v. Haynes, No. 77569
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 24, 1996
    ...there was a presumption of [174 Ill.2d 235] competency and that the State had the burden of proving competency); People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 217, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 Waiver of Counsel The defendant asserts that reversal of his convictions is warranted because his wa......
  • People Of The State Of Ill. v. Gutierrez, No. 1-07-2516.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2010
    ...in consideration of “all relevant circumstances,” a prima facie case of discrimination has been established. People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 222, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992). “Relevant circumstances” include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) racial identity bet......
  • Fleming v. Moswin, No. 1–10–3475.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 13, 2012
    ...167 Ill.Dec. 996, 588 N.E.2d 1126 (all eight peremptory challenges directed toward African–American venirepersons); People v. Coulter, 230 Ill.App.3d 209, 223, 171 Ill.Dec. 643, 594 N.E.2d 1163 (1992) (nine of ten peremptory challenges used to exclude African–Americans); People v. Nicholson......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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