People v. Jackson

Decision Date09 July 2020
Docket NumberNO. 4-17-0036,4-17-0036
Citation165 N.E.3d 523,2020 IL App (4th) 170036,444 Ill.Dec. 877
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Quincey Julius JACKSON, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

James E. Chadd, John M. McCarthy, Catherine K. Hart, and Jessica L. Harris, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Spring-field, for appellant.

Don Knapp, State's Attorney, of Bloomington (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Benjamin M. Sardinas, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

PRESIDING JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 In November 2016, following a bench trial, the trial court found defendant, Quincey Julius Jackson, guilty of unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) ( 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(10) (West 2014)) based on an accountability theory. See id. § 5-2(c). In December 2016, the court sentenced defendant to 18 months of conditional discharge, 100 hours of community service, and 180 days in jail, with defendant to serve 14 days immediately and the remainder stayed until a remission hearing.

¶ 2 Defendant appeals, arguing the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was legally accountable for his codefendant's conduct. Specifically, defendant contends that the State failed to prove either (1) that defendant intended to promote or facilitate his codefendant's criminal conduct or (2) that defendant engaged in a common criminal design with his codefendant. We disagree and affirm.

¶ 4 A. The Charges

¶ 5 In November 2015, the State charged defendant with UUW. Id. § 24-1(a)(10). The State alleged that defendant, "or one [for] who's conduct he is legally responsible, knowingly carried on or about his person upon * * * a public way * * * a .38 caliber pistol."

¶ 6 B. The Bench Trial

¶ 7 In November 2016, the trial court conducted a bench trial. We note that, on appeal, defendant filed a motion explaining that a transcript of the trial proceedings did not exist and a bystander's report could not be obtained because defendant's trial counsel had moved out of the state. Defendant was also unable to get the State to agree to a joint statement of facts. However, the trial court, at a posttrial hearing, stated its detailed recollection of the facts at trial. Defendant has requested this court to designate the trial court's recitation of the facts as a bystander's report of defendant's trial pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 323(c) (eff. July 1, 2017). Because the State did not object, we granted defendant's request. Accordingly, the following facts are from the trial court's summation at the posttrial hearing.

¶ 8 1. The State's Case

¶ 9 Emmanuel Hernandez, a detective with the Bloomington Police Department, testified that on November 16, 2015, he and some fellow officers were in an unmarked, undercover van when they saw defendant and Channing Biles, the codefendant, walking on Washington Street. Hernandez noticed Biles because he was wearing blue latex gloves. The unmarked van was parked in the "Plasma Center [parking lot], which was about a block or two from where the initial sighting was."

¶ 10 Hernandez testified that defendant and Biles walked into that parking lot and got behind the unmarked van, apparently not realizing it was an undercover police vehicle. The trial court summarized the testimony as follows:

"[Defendant and Biles are] getting behind the van; they're walking out, they're looking—I have very detailed notes—they are looking towards the school. They're going back and forth, looking at the school, and the officer noted that he could see something sticking out of Mr. Biles' pocket, but he could not determine from that view exactly what that was. He says he then sees them walk towards Lee Street, which was closer to the school, and sees them looking across to the school, across the street. That's at Washington and Lee, where the alternative school is. At that point, [the police are] getting concerned because it looks like they're—we have latex gloves on Mr. Biles, we have what appears to be observation of the school and furtive movements of moving back and forth around the undercover van, so they call for uniform officers."

¶ 11 Hernandez testified that when the uniformed officers arrived, Biles "sees them and takes off," at which point Hernandez sees a handgun in Biles's hand. Hernandez stated he did not see the handgun when defendant and Biles were near the van, but he did see something "that led him to believe there might be a handgun." Hernandez testified that defendant and Biles were hanging around the unmarked van for about 10 minutes.

¶ 12 Detective Bradley Massey of the Bloomington Police Department testified that he was one of the officers who responded to the call about a possible handgun. When Massey arrived, he saw defendant and Biles talking together and then saw Biles run eastbound on Washington Street. Massey gave chase in his vehicle. The trial court stated as follows:

"And it's true, [defendant] did stay on the scene. He did not flee from the scene; he stayed there. He eventually was told by an officer to stay, but for a while there, he was just there of his own volition. They eventually are able to run down Mr. Biles to find the handgun."

¶ 13 Bloomington Police Officer Justin Shively testified consistently with Massey regarding defendant's actions when police arrived. Shively took defendant into custody, searched him, and found a black ski mask.

¶ 14 Detective Steve Moreland testified that he interviewed defendant. The trial court summarized that interview as follows:

"Detective Moreland is the one [who] ends up interviewing [defendant], and he interviews him in two separate interviews. The first interview he stated he didn't know at first that it was a real gun, that he thought it was a pellet gun, and that when all this started going down and he tells him to step off, Channing Biles tells him then, ‘It's real, man,’ and then he takes off."

¶ 15 During the second interview Moreland conducted, defendant "said he knew it was a handgun and that he knew it had been used in a drive-by shooting, and he knew it was directed at Scotty Allen." The State then rested.

¶ 16 2. Defendant's Case

¶ 17 According to the trial court, defendant testified in his own defense as follows:

"[Defendant], when he testified, admitted that he had the face mask—or the ski mask. Additionally, he admits that he sees Mr. Biles put on these latex gloves, and he says he puts on the latex gloves, I believe, when he testifies, on the walk towards—back towards the school.
* * *
Additionally, he testified that he knew that Scott Allen was at the alternative school, that he was going to be there on that afternoon. He was at the alternative school earlier, and he said he was going back because his younger brother had been at the [a]lternative school. And I'm talking about [defendant]."

¶ 18 Defendant did not present any further evidence, and the trial court found him guilty of UUW.

¶ 19 C. Posttrial Proceedings

¶ 20 Later in November 2016, defendant filed a posttrial motion in which he argued that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In that motion, defendant noted that (1) the State did not present any evidence that defendant possessed the gun and (2) the testimony demonstrated that defendant told Biles to "step off" while being surveilled. The motion explained what defendant told Biles: "in layman's terms; this means ‘go home.’ "

¶ 21 In December 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing on defendant's posttrial motion. After hearing arguments, the court summarized its recollection of the testimony at trial and then addressed the merits of defendant's claims, as follows:

"The totality of the circumstances here, [defendant] never had [the gun] in his actual possession. As I said, it's an accountability argument. And in the accountability statute, yes, it says mere presence at the scene of a crime does not render a person accountable for the offense, but a person's presence at the scene, however, may be considered with other circumstances by the [t]rier of [f]act when determining the accountability. And the other circumstances are the presence of the latex gloves, the presence of this ski mask, the furtive movements behind the van, the being in that area for ten minutes going back and forth watching the school; the fact that they were later interviewed by Detective Moreland and given two different stories, the second of which says he knew Channing Biles had a real handgun and that he had that prior to this incident because that drive-by was before the incident at the school. So, he knew Channing Biles had a handgun; he knew who it came from; and he knew who it was to be used against at the school. The totality of the circumstances in this case are what caused the Court to find that he was guilty through accountability, and the defendant's motion is denied."

¶ 22 The trial court then conducted a sentencing hearing and imposed the sentences previously mentioned.

¶ 23 This appeal followed.


¶ 25 Defendant appeals, arguing that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was legally accountable for his codefendant's conduct. Specifically, defendant contends that the State failed to prove either (1) that defendant intended to promote or facilitate his codefendant's criminal conduct or (2) that defendant engaged in a common criminal design with his codefendant. We disagree and affirm.

¶ 26 A. The Standard of Review

¶ 27 The parties disagree about the applicable standard of review. Because defendant contends he is not challenging any facts, he claims that whether the undisputed facts are sufficient to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt calls for de novo review. See People v. Brace , 2017 IL App (4th) 150388, ¶ 11, 414 Ill.Dec. 130, 79 N.E.3d 765. The State contends that defendant is, in fact, challenging the inferences made by the trial court, and...

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