People v. Hartfield

Decision Date06 October 2020
Docket NumberNO. 4-17-0787,4-17-0787
Citation175 N.E.3d 185,447 Ill.Dec. 817,2020 IL App (4th) 170787
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Kelvin T. HARTFIELD, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

James E. Chadd, Catherine K. Hart, and Amy J. Kemp, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.

Julia Rietz, State's Attorney, of Urbana (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and James Ryan Williams, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

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

¶ 1 In the Champaign County circuit court, a jury found defendant, Kelvin T. Hartfield, guilty of one count of armed robbery ( 720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2) (West 2016)) and four counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm (id. § 24-1.2(a)(3)). For those offenses, the court sentenced him to prison terms that, in their consecutive running, totaled 90 years. He appeals on six grounds.

¶ 2 First, defendant claims a violation of his statutory right to a speedy trial. See 725 ILCS 5/103-5(a) (West 2016). He acknowledges that he has procedurally forfeited this claim. Nevertheless, he seeks to avert the forfeiture by invoking the doctrine of plain error (see Ill. S. Ct. R. 615(a) (eff. Jan. 1, 1967)), purportedly because the error is so serious that the integrity of the judicial process is endangered (see People v. Sebby , 2017 IL 119445, ¶ 50, 417 Ill.Dec. 756, 89 N.E.3d 675 ). Setting aside the question of whether a statutory speedy-trial violation, as distinct from a constitutional speedy-trial violation, is an error so fundamental as to threaten the integrity of the judicial process, we find no error, let alone a plain error. The reason is this. When the State moved for the continuances at issue, defendant objected but not in the manner required by section 103-5(a) ( 725 ILCS 5/103-5(a) (West 2016)), that is, by demanding a trial. Consequently, under that statutory provision, notwithstanding defendant's objections and the circuit court's recognition of his objections, he is considered to have agreed to the continuances, eliminating the possibility of a statutory speedy-trial violation. See id.

¶ 3 Second, defendant asserts that his appointed trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to move for a discharge on statutory speedy-trial grounds and by failing to raise the issue in the posttrial motion, thereby causing a forfeiture of the issue. For the reason set forth in the preceding paragraph, there was no statutory speedy-trial claim for defense counsel to forfeit.

¶ 4 Third, defendant alleges a violation of his constitutional right to have the jury selected in public. In the record before us, we find inadequate support for defendant's allegation that this right was violated.

¶ 5 Fourth, defendant complains of violations of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 431(b) (eff. July 1, 2012) in the admonitions the circuit court gave the potential jurors and in the inquiries the court made of them. We find a procedural forfeiture of this issue. Again, defendant seeks to avert the forfeiture by invoking the doctrine of plain error, this time arguing that the evidence was so closely balanced that the purported Rule 431(b) errors could have made a difference in the outcome of the trial. We find no error in the admonitions. And assuming that, in its questioning of the potential jurors, the court erred by substituting one word in Rule 431(b) for another word that carried the same meaning, we find no possibility of prejudice.

¶ 6 Fifth, defendant contends that, in answering a mid-deliberation question by the jury, the circuit court violated his right to due process by lightening the State's burden of proof as to some elements of aggravated discharge of a firearm. We disagree that the court's answer to the jury's question had any such import.

¶ 7 Sixth, defendant contends that his four convictions of aggravated discharge of a firearm ( 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(3) (West 2016)) violate the one-act, one-crime doctrine. Because the multiple convictions are inconsistent with statutory law, we do not reach the one-act, one-crime doctrine. In our interpretation of section 24-1.2(a)(3), we find no textual support for basing the number of convictions on the number of peace officers in the direction of which defendant discharged the firearm.

¶ 8 Therefore, we remand this case with directions to vacate three of the convictions of aggravated discharge of a firearm and to resentence defendant. Otherwise, we affirm the judgment.

¶ 9 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 10 On July 27, 2016, the police arrested defendant. Ultimately, the State charged him with one count of armed robbery (id. § 18-2(a)(2) ) and four counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm (id. § 24-1.2(a)(3)).

¶ 11 From August 2016 to January 2017, the State filed six motions to continue the jury trial so that the State could obtain the results of fingerprint and DNA analyses. See 725 ILCS 5/103-5(c) (West 2016).

¶ 12 In its first motion for a continuance, the State "request[ed] a continuance and an additional 60 days as provided by [section 114-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963] 725 ILCS 5/114-4 [(West 2016)] and 120 days as provided [by section 103-5(c) (id. § 103-5(c))] to bring the matter to trial as it continue[d] to pursue the referenced forensic evidence."

¶ 13 On August 30, 2016, in the hearing on the State's first motion for a continuance, defense counsel objected to the motion as follows:

"Judge, he's in custody.
Ready for trial.
Please note my objection to the State's motion."

Noting the objection, the circuit court overruled it and extended the speedy-trial period by 120 days, to March 26, 2017.

¶ 14 Finally, jury selection began on March 6, 2017, after defendant had been in custody for 222 days. The circuit court announced:

"For the People in the courtroom, I've got 39 jurors coming up. There's not going to be enough room for everybody to be seated, and my jurors. I'm going to have you step out until I get a jury selected. All right, Officer, bring up the jurors, please.
DEPUTY: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Mr. Vargas, any problem with the statement of the nature of the case?
MR. VARGAS: No, sir. Judge, Ms. Gwendolyn Hartfield is in the room, as well as her mother, and obviously, one of our interns. Can they stay in the room and, if necessary, do you want them all to leave?
THE COURT: As soon as I get twelve in the box, then I'll have Officer Helm bring them in, so at least I'll have all of my jurors seated."

Between the time when the court ordered the spectators to leave the courtroom to the time when the first 12 venire members were seated in the jury box, the court read the charges, the list of potential witnesses, and the initial jury instructions, and the venire members were sworn.

¶ 15 To each panel of potential jurors, the circuit court read the four principles in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 431(b) (eff. July 1, 2012) all at once and then had some version of the following dialogue with the panel:

"THE COURT: The four of you understand those instructions. Is that correct?
FOUR JURORS: (Indicating in the affirmative).
THE COURT: They answer in the affirmative. And the four of you will follow those instructions. Is that correct?
FOUR JURORS: (Indicating in the affirmative).
THE COURT: They answer in the affirmative."

¶ 16 After the jury was selected, the trial began. In a nutshell, the evidence in the jury trial tended to show the following.

¶ 17 Around 1 a.m. on July 26, 2016, two masked men, one of them wielding a revolver, robbed a gas station in Urbana, Illinois. They took not only the cash in the register but also numerous cartons of cigarettes and cigars, which they carried away in a backpack. The gas station attendant saw a tan Buick automobile drive away.

¶ 18 Soon afterward that night, while surveilling another gas station, a deputy sheriff, Josh Demko, looked over at a nearby trailer park and saw a tan Buick back into a parking spot, next to a maroon Hyundai automobile. Demko and some other police officers went into the trailer park to investigate. A man was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Hyundai, and a woman was sitting in the back seat. The man got out of the Hyundai and walked to the trunk and then past the driver's door. He appeared to be, like defendant, a tall black man of a slender build, but none of the police officers got a good enough look at him to positively identify him, in the trial, as defendant. The man ran when the police ordered him to stop. As he was running, he fired in the direction of the four police officers: Demko, Richard Ferriman, Casey Donovan, and Rob Derouchie, all of whom were more or less clustered together. Some of the police officers returned fire. The man went over a fence and got away.

¶ 19 The four police officers differed on how many shots the fleeing man had fired. He fired two to five shots, according to their testimony. None of the officers were hit, although, afterward, they found what appeared to be two bullets holes in trailers near where some of them had been standing.

¶ 20 After the shoot-out, the police arrested the woman in the back seat of the Hyundai, Tierykah Wiley. She made several statements to the police, and not all of her statements agreed with one another. In one of her statements, Wiley represented that, the day of the robbery, she accepted a ride in a tan car driven by Kydel Brown. Defendant was in the front seat of the tan car, and she, Wiley, was in the back seat. She saw a lot of cigarettes on the floorboard. They drove to a nearby trailer park to switch cars. Brown got out of the tan car and went inside one of the trailers. Wiley got out of the tan car, too, and into a red car, and defendant moved some bags from the tan car to the trunk of the red car.

¶ 21 In the maroon Hyundai, the police found several items of evidence, including the following: a cell phone with...

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2 cases
  • People v. Hartfield
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court
    • April 21, 2022
    ...vacated three of the four aggravated discharge convictions and remanded for resentencing but otherwise affirmed. 2020 IL App (4th) 170787, 447 Ill.Dec. 817, 175 N.E.3d 185.¶ 2 The central issue in this case is whether a single shot in the direction of multiple peace officers can support mul......
  • Donath v. Vill. of Plainfield
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 6, 2020
    ... ... has the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for the use in the exercise of ordinary care of people whom the entity intended and permitted to use the property in a manner in which and at such times as it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be ... ...

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