People v. Gomez, 1–09–2185.

Citation355 Ill.Dec. 445,2011 IL App (1st) 092185,959 N.E.2d 1178
Decision Date30 September 2011
Docket NumberNo. 1–09–2185.,1–09–2185.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Carlos GOMEZ, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

2011 IL App (1st) 092185
355 Ill.Dec.
959 N.E.2d 1178

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee,
Carlos GOMEZ, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 1–09–2185.

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division.

Sept. 30, 2011.

[959 N.E.2d 1181]

Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender of Cook County (Geoffrey Burkhart, Assistant Appellate Defender), for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney (Alan J. Spellberg, John E. Nowak, Jessica R. Ball, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for the People.

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

[355 Ill.Dec. 448] ¶ 1 Following a jury trial, defendant Carlos Gomez was convicted of the first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and home invasion of Joyce Ralson. The trial court subsequently sentenced defendant to a term of natural life for first degree murder, 30 years for aggravated criminal sexual assault and 30 years for home invasion. Defendant appeals, arguing that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash arrest and suppress statements because defendant was arrested before the existence of probable cause; (2) the State failed to prove him guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt because it did not establish that Ralson was alive at the time of the sexual assault; (3) the trial court failed to comply with Supreme Court Rule 431(b) (Ill.S.Ct. R. 431(b) (eff. May 1, 2007)); and (4) the trial court abused its [355 Ill.Dec. 449]

[959 N.E.2d 1182]

discretion in sentencing defendant to a term of natural life.

¶ 2 In November 2004, defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence flowing from an unlawful detention. The trial court conducted a hearing on defendant's motion in January and February 2005. The following evidence was presented at the hearing.

¶ 3 Maria Gomez Bahena testified that she is defendant's sister. On November 22, 2000, she was living at her parent's house, located at 3774 West 77th Place in Chicago, with her family. On November 23, 2000, which was Thanksgiving, between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., Bahena was sleeping on the couch in the living room when she was awoken by “loud banging and knocking” at the side door. She went to the door and looked through a curtain to see “quite a number of what [she] thought were police officers.” They asked to see defendant. She opened the door slightly and they asked about defendant. Bahena told them he lived there and was sleeping in the basement. The officers said they needed to see him and Bahena asked them to wait and closed the door. She turned to get her parents, but her mother was already at the doorway to the stairs by the side door. As Bahena turned around, the officers entered the house and walked down the stairs into the basement. Bahena denied giving the officers permission to enter the house.

¶ 4 Bahena testified that at least five officers went down the stairs. She followed them with her mother. Bahena stated that the lights were off in the basement and it was dark so the officers used their flashlights. Bahena said there was a bunk bed in the basement. The officers approached the bunk bed and started questioning her brother, Jesus, who was in the bottom bunk. They asked him if he was Carlos and made Jesus show them his identification to prove he was not Carlos. Then, the officers grabbed defendant and pulled him down from the top bunk. Bahena stated that they handcuffed defendant. Bahena testified that defendant was wearing his pajamas, which were jogging pants and a white T-shirt. He was not wearing shoes, only socks. One of the officers then read defendant his rights. The officers then “dragged” defendant out of the house. An officer came back and took a pair of shoes for defendant.

¶ 5 While the officers were there, Bahena tried to explain what was said to her mother, who only spoke Spanish. They asked for a Spanish interpreter and Bahena stated the officers ignored them and one said to her mother that she lives in America, she should be speaking English. The officers also responded that the people who speak Spanish were not working that day. Bahena stated the officers commented that “You Mexicans don't celebrate Thanksgiving anyway.” Bahena said the officers were laughing and telling jokes. The officers were also taking pictures of the basement and at one point took a picture of her mother. Bahena testified that the officers did not tell her they had a warrant to search her house or a warrant for defendant's arrest.

¶ 6 On cross-examination, when asked if there were four officers present, Bahena responded that at least five came into the house and more were outside. She stated that the officers did not ask to enter the house and she did not give them permission. She did not remember one of the officers giving her his card, but said that she asked where they were going and was told Area One. Bahena was asked why she did not tell other detectives and an assistant State's Attorney about the actions by the officers, and she responded that she was not asked. Bahena was referred to part of her written statement in which she [355 Ill.Dec. 450]

[959 N.E.2d 1183]

stated that the officers were “rude to her at her home earlier and made what she believed to be racist remarks.” On redirect, Bahena clarified that she was not asked in her statement about what occurred when the officers came to her house, but was asked about the events that took place the night before. In rebuttal, Bahena testified that in November 2000, she was employed by a market research company and denied asking the police officers about the educational requirements to become an officer.

¶ 7 Jesus Gomez testified that defendant is his younger brother. In November 2000, he lived at 3774 West 77th Place with his family. He slept in the basement with defendant on a set of bunk beds. He stated that between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on November 23, 2000, he was awoken by a flashlight in his face and a bunch of men surrounding him asking for defendant. He had been sleeping in the bottom bunk. He tried to get out of bed, but the officers would not let him and asked him to show his hands. They asked for his identification and he indicated that it was in his pants near the bed. The officers got the pants and “threw” the pants at him and told him to get his identification. Jesus took out his identification and showed it to the officers.

¶ 8 Jesus testified that the officers then went toward defendant on the top bunk. He saw two officers drag defendant out of bed. He stated that the officers asked defendant if he was a Latin King and they handcuffed him and read defendant his rights. Jesus said there was a lot of commotion because several of the officers were searching the laundry and storage rooms and some were on radios and cell phones. The officers then took defendant upstairs without any shoes. An officer came back and took a pair of shoes. Jesus said he never heard the officers say they had a warrant to search the house or a warrant for defendant's arrest.

¶ 9 On cross-examination, Jesus admitted that he was not near the door when the officers entered the home and did not know how they entered the home. Jesus stated that there were probably up to 10 officers in his house. He said the officers did not announce themselves and he did not see their badges. Jesus testified that the officers argued with his sister.

¶ 10 Maria Gomez testified with the aid of an interpreter. She stated that she is defendant's mother. She stated that in November 2000, she lived at 3774 West 77th Place with her family. On November 23, 2000, between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., she was sleeping in her bedroom when someone knocking on the door woke her up. She got up and went to see what was happening. She saw some officers enter through the side door and go downstairs. Her daughter was behind the officers and Maria also went downstairs. She stated that officers used flashlights downstairs and someone turned on the light. The officers were yelling, but she did not understand because she does not speak English. She said the officers “threw” defendant off the bed and handcuffed him. The officers left with defendant. When she asked what was happening, the officers “didn't want to tell [her] anything.”

¶ 11 The defense rested its case-in-chief on the motion. The State then called its witnesses.

¶ 12 Detective Ernest Turner testified that on November 22, 2000, he was assigned to Area One as a homicide detective. He was working the first watch from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. Shortly after 11 p.m. on November 22, 2000, he received an assignment and went to a scene located at 3777 West 77th Street. Detective Turner stated that it was a murder scene involving an elderly woman named Joyce Ralson. [355 Ill.Dec. 451]

[959 N.E.2d 1184]

He spoke with the police officers on the scene and learned of a witness named Robert Ralson who also lived at that location and was the brother of the victim. Detective Turner found out that Robert had seen the individual on the premises and that while exiting the premises, the offender knocked Robert down and fled west. He received a description of the offender as a male white, between 5 feet 9 inches and 5 feet 11 inches, dressed in a black jacket with white lettering, black pants, black hair with a short haircut.

¶ 13 Detective Turner also learned of a battery victim that another beat officer had answered near 3822 West 76th Street around the same time as the homicide and the battery victim had been taken to Holy Cross Hospital. Detective Turner estimated that 3822 West 76th Street was between 1 1/2 to 2 blocks away from the homicide location. The responding officers noted that the battery victim fit the description of the offender in the homicide case. He instructed the officers to recover the battery victim's clothing and to transport him to Area One for a further interview....

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7 cases
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    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 25, 2014
    ...circumstances, we should turn to the first prong rather than the third. Cf., e.g., People v. Gomez, 2011 IL App (1st) 092185, ¶ 55, 355 Ill.Dec. 445, 959 N.E.2d 1178 (holding that we may affirm on any basis appearing in the record).¶ 79 Justice Zenoff contends that the first prong of Taland......
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