People v. Lewis

Decision Date30 November 2006
Docket NumberNo. 101747.,101747.
Citation307 Ill.Dec. 645,223 Ill.2d 393,860 N.E.2d 299
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Ronel Alexis LEWIS, Appellant.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

Daniel D. Yuhas, Deputy Defender, and Michael Delcomyn, Assistant Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Springfield, for appellant.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Springfield, and William A. Yoder, State's Attorney, Bloomington (Gary Feinerman, Solicitor General, and Jay Paul Hoffmann, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

Justice KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion:

Defendant Ronel Alexis Lewis was convicted of criminal drug conspiracy (720 ILCS 570/405.1 (West 2002)) and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2002)). The circuit court of McLean County sentenced him to seven years' imprisonment on each offense, to be served concurrently. The appellate court vacated defendant's conviction of criminal drug conspiracy, but otherwise affirmed the judgment of the trial court. 361 Ill.App.3d 1006, 298 Ill.Dec. 103, 838 N.E.2d 996.

We allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill.2d R. 315(a). On appeal to this court, defendant contends that the trial court erred in admitting a police detective's testimony that another witness made an out-of-court identification of defendant. Defendant argues that this testimony was not admissible under the hearsay exception contained in section 115-12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/115-12 (West 2002)). We hold that the trial court did not err in admitting the disputed testimony under section 115-12. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

I. BACKGROUND

At defendant's bench trial, Lori Clem testified that she received several telephone calls from her former neighbor, Charlie, who wanted Clem to obtain crack cocaine for him. Clem initially refused, but agreed to purchase the cocaine after her boyfriend asked her to take a profit from the transaction. Clem's boyfriend wanted money to buy heroin.

Clem testified that she planned to buy the cocaine from her neighbors who lived across the alley. She identified the neighbors as Marcella Miramontes, Marcella's boyfriend Cory, and defendant. According to Clem, Miramontes had stated on an earlier occasion that either she or defendant could supply Clem with drugs. Miramontes gave Clem her cell phone number and defendant's cell phone number. Clem testified that she had often seen defendant working on his car in the alley over the course of three or four weeks prior to this transaction. She had waved to defendant, but did not speak to him beyond saying "hello." Clem knew defendant only by his nickname, "Rail."

Clem called defendant on his cell phone after agreeing to purchase the crack cocaine for Charlie. Defendant told Clem to call him back when the buyer arrived. After Charlie arrived, Clem called defendant again. Defendant told Clem to meet him at the back of her house. Clem received $100 from Charlie and walked toward the back of her house to meet defendant.

Clem testified that she met defendant on her back porch. She gave defendant $80 in exchange for a cellophane package containing crack cocaine. Defendant then walked back across the alley to his house while Clem walked to the car and delivered the cocaine to Charlie. At that point, Clem recognized the driver of the car and asked if he was a police officer. The driver denied being a police officer and they drove away. Clem testified that this was the first time she had purchased drugs from defendant, but she had bought drugs from Cory on one previous occasion. She identified defendant in court as the man she knew as "Rail."

Detective John Heinlen testified that he had been working with a confidential informant named Charlie. They had been attempting to purchase crack cocaine from Clem in an effort to identify her supplier. Charlie called Clem to arrange the purchase. Heinlen and Charlie then drove to Clem's house in an undercover police car. When they arrived, Clem approached the car. While Heinlen, Charlie and Clem were speaking, Heinlen observed a man in the alley behind Clem's house approximately 30 yards from the car. Heinlen testified that the man walked to within 10 to 15 yards of the car. Heinlen testified that he had a clear view of the man, and he identified defendant as the individual he saw approach the car.

Clem received $100 from Charlie and walked with defendant behind her house. Detective Heinlen testified that he did not observe any exchange of drugs and money between Clem and defendant. When they emerged from behind the house, Clem walked toward the car and defendant walked back toward the alley. Clem approached the car and asked if Heinlen was a police officer. After Heinlen denied being a police officer, Clem handed him the package containing cocaine. The next day, Clem was arrested and transported to the police station where she spoke with Detective Heinlen.

Heinlen testified that Clem identified the person who sold her the cocaine as "Rail." Heinlen connected that nickname to defendant and obtained a photograph of defendant. Heinlen immediately recognized the person in the photograph as defendant. Heinlen testified that he showed the photograph to Clem. When the prosecutor inquired as to Clem's reaction to the photograph, defendant objected on the ground that the question called for hearsay. The trial court overruled the objection, stating that it was admissible "[u]nder 115-12." Heinlen then testified that Clem identified the man in the photograph as Rail. Clem stated he was the person who had sold her cocaine the previous day.

Defendant presented testimony of several of his family members. They testified that defendant was visiting them in Milwaukee at the time of this transaction. Defendant's family members testified that defendant arrived in Milwaukee the day before the transaction occurred and he stayed for approximately 10 days.

At the State's request, the trial court took judicial notice of a McLean County case involving several traffic tickets issued to "Ronel A. Lewis." The traffic tickets were issued in Bloomington, Illinois, during the time period when defendant's family members claimed defendant was in Milwaukee. The State also recalled Detective Heinlen for rebuttal testimony. Heinlen testified that he saw defendant near the location of the drug transaction the day after it occurred.

The trial court found defendant guilty of both offenses. Defendant filed a posttrial motion asserting, in pertinent part, that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the State presented hearsay testimony at trial. The trial court denied defendant's motion and sentenced him to concurrent terms of seven years' imprisonment.

On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred in admitting Detective Heinlen's testimony concerning Clem's out-of-court identification of defendant. 361 Ill.App.3d at 1007, 298 Ill.Dec. 103, 838 N.E.2d 996. The appellate court held that Heinlen's testimony was properly admitted under section 115-12 of the Code. 361 Ill.App.3d at 1012-19, 298 Ill.Dec. 103, 838 N.E.2d 996. The appellate court also held that defendant could not be convicted of both the inchoate offense of criminal drug conspiracy and the underlying principal offense of delivery of a controlled substance. 361 Ill.App.3d at 1019, 298 Ill.Dec. 103, 838 N.E.2d 996. The appellate court, therefore, affirmed defendant's conviction of delivery of a controlled substance, but vacated his conviction of criminal drug conspiracy. 361 Ill.App.3d at 1020, 298 Ill.Dec. 103, 838 N.E.2d 996.

II. ANALYSIS

On appeal to this court, defendant renews his argument that the trial court erred in admitting Detective Heinlen's identification testimony under section 115-12 of the Code (725 ILCS 5/115-12 (West 2002)). The State initially responds that defendant has forfeited this argument because his trial objection and posttrial motion were not sufficiently specific to preserve the alleged error.

To preserve an issue for review, a defendant must both object at trial and raise the issue in a written posttrial motion. People v. Enoch, 122 Ill.2d 176, 186, 119 Ill.Dec. 265, 522 N.E.2d 1124 (1988). The posttrial motion must specify the grounds for a new trial. Enoch, 122 Ill.2d at 187, 119 Ill.Dec. 265, 522 N.E.2d 1124. In discussing the purpose of the forfeiture rule, this court has stated:

"`Failure to raise issues in the trial court denies that court the opportunity to grant a new trial, if warranted. This casts a needless burden of preparing and processing appeals upon appellate counsel for the defense, the prosecution, and upon the court of review. Without a post-trial motion limiting the consideration to errors considered significant, the appeal is open-ended. Appellate counsel may comb the record for every semblance of error and raise issues on appeal whether or not trial counsel considered them of any importance.'" Enoch, 122 Ill.2d at 186, 119 Ill.Dec. 265, 522 N.E.2d 1124, quoting People v. Caballero, 102 Ill.2d 23, 31-32, 79 Ill.Dec. 625, 464 N.E.2d 223 (1984).

In this case, defendant raised a hearsay objection to the admission of Heinlen's identification testimony. The trial court found the testimony was admissible under the hearsay exception contained in section 115-12. The trial court, therefore, evidently understood that defendant was challenging the admissibility of the testimony under section 115-12. The court considered and ruled upon that issue. Thus, we conclude that the trial objection was sufficient to preserve the issue of the admissibility of the testimony under section 115-12.

In his posttrial motion, defendant asserted that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the State presented hearsay testimony. This motion is sufficient to identify the admission of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
81 cases
  • State v. Cameron M.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • November 20, 2012
    ...defendant] chose not to cross-examine the witness does not mean that he was denied the opportunity to do so.''); People v. Lewis, 223 Ill. 2d 393, 405, 860 N.E.2d 299 (2006) (defendant had opportunity to cross-examine witness about out-of-court identification, despite fact that he ''may hav......
  • State v. Cameron M.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • November 20, 2012
    ...chose not to cross-examine the witness does not mean that he was denied the opportunity to do so.”); [55 A.3d 284]People v. Lewis, 223 Ill.2d 393, 405, 307 Ill.Dec. 645, 860 N.E.2d 299 (2006) (defendant had opportunity to cross-examine witness about out-of-court identification, despite fact......
  • People v. Faber
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 26, 2012
    ...is one of identification of a person made after perceiving him.” 725 ILCS 5/115–12 (West 2008). ¶ 31 In People v. Lewis, 223 Ill.2d 393, 307 Ill.Dec. 645, 860 N.E.2d 299 (2006) our supreme court noted that appellate courts in the past disagreed over the interpretation of this statute. Some ......
  • People v. Wright
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 30, 2012
    ...identification of the pretrial motion at issue was sufficient to preserve the issue for appellate review. People v. Lewis, 223 Ill.2d 393, 401, 307 Ill.Dec. 645, 860 N.E.2d 299 (2006) (the claimed violation of a hearsay statute was preserved for review, even though defendant's posttrial mot......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT