People v. McCarter, 1-06-0058.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtJoseph Gordon
Citation897 N.E.2d 265
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jamie McCARTER, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 1-06-0058.,1-06-0058.
Decision Date06 June 2008
897 N.E.2d 265
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Jamie McCARTER, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-06-0058.
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division.
June 6, 2008.
Rehearing Denied November 25, 2008.

[897 N.E.2d 269]

Michael J. Pelletier, Deputy Defender, Brian Carroll, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, for Appellant.

Richard A. Devine, State's Attorney, Cook County, Chicago, James E. Fitzgerald, Samuel Shim, Christina M. Brewer, Assistant State's Attorneys, for Appellee.

Justice JOSEPH GORDON delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant Jamie McCarter was convicted of first degree murder after a jury trial and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. On appeal, he raises three issues. First, he contends that he was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to object to the State's introduction of certain evidence that he argues was inadmissible. Second, he contends that he was denied a fair trial when the trial court allowed the jury to view gruesome photos of the victim's autopsy. Lastly, he argues that the trial court did not give him a proper preliminary inquiry with regard to his pro se posttrial motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that follow, we remand for further determination with respect to the last issue.


On July 20, 2003, defendant was arrested for the murder of Tyree Bias. He was later charged with first degree murder in connection with Bias's death. The State's theory of the case was that defendant and his brother had kidnapped Bias early on the morning of July 8, 2003, and that defendant fatally shot Bias in the back of the head and then put Bias's feet on the gas pedal of the car he was in, causing the car to crash down into a ravine and catch on fire.

The case proceeded to a jury trial in July 2005. Officer Reilly, a police officer with the Village of Riverdale, testified for the State that around 6 a.m. on July 8, 2003, the police department was notified of a brush fire around the corner of 136th Street and Wentworth. They found a car on fire at the scene, and after the fire had been extinguished, they discovered a body in the driver's seat of the car.

The State also called Vanessa Jackson to testify. Jackson was a district manager for the Chicago Tribune in June 2003, and on the day of Bias's death, she was delivering newspapers in Riverdale at around 6 a.m. Near the corner of 137th Street and Riverdale, she said she saw a dark-colored Chevy Caprice blocking her way with three young men inside. When she stopped at an apartment to drop off papers, she saw that two of the men from the Caprice were now standing outside the vehicle. She continued along her delivery route and later saw them running toward Riverdale Park, one with his hood up, the other with his t-shirt pulled over his head, even though it was warm outside. They disappeared under a viaduct. Around 10 to 15 minutes later she saw them again, this time at a pay phone at the corner of 138th Street and Michigan.

Jackson testified that she did not get a good look at their faces. She viewed two police lineups on July 11, 2008, and she could not positively identify any of the suspects as the people she had seen, but in the second lineup she did point out one man who "kind of resembled" one of the people from that morning. Later in the trial, State witness Sergeant David Dempsey

897 N.E.2d 270

of the Riverdale police department testified during cross-examination that the man Johnson pointed out was a man named Shedrick Turner.

Lakesha Johnson also testified for the State. She said that she had been Bias's girlfriend for two years and lived with him in Ford Heights. Bias was a member of a gang called the Gangster Disciples, while defendant and his two brothers Brandon McCarter (Brandon) and Ernest McCarter (Ernest) were members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang. Bias and the McCarter brothers were feuding over territory: Bias sold drugs on 16th Street, while the McCarters sold drugs on 15th Street, and in July 2003 Bias was making more money than they were.

On July 5, 2003, Bias was in jail, and Johnson put up money to have him bonded out. She also told the McCarter brothers that Bias was getting out of jail that day. The State then asked her if defendant told her "It is going down" and "It's time for you to get that car," but she denied that he had said any such thing.

The State then sought to admit into evidence two prior statements made by Johnson: (1) a handwritten statement, signed by Johnson, that was recorded by Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Patrick Enright on July 15, 2003, at the Riverdale police department, and (2) a transcript of a videotaped statement that Johnson had made to ASA Shital Thakkar on July 17, 2003, at the Riverdale police department. The court ruled that both prior statements would be admitted. Defense counsel objected at first, but then withdrew his objection.

Johnson acknowledged making both of the above statements. She said that nobody forced her to speak to the ASAs and that Enright did not threaten her. However, she testified that she had been "under a lot of pressure" from Sergeant Dempsey: "[H]e told me that if I didn't tell him what was going on, he was going to charge me with the murder and take my children from me." As a result, she said that she had lied when making those statements.

In the video statement, Johnson had said the following: When she told defendant that Bias was bonding out, defendant said, "It's going down. It's time for you to get that car"; and furthermore, "What they mean about it, it was going down, so I can make sure it's clear, is that they was going to rob [Bias]."

Johnson also said in the video statement that on July 7, 2003, the day before Bias's death, she spoke with the McCarter brothers again; Brandon told her that "it was going down tomorrow" and made eye contact with his brothers, who nodded in agreement. She said that she understood this to mean "that they was going to rob [Bias], take his money, his drugs, and if he didn't up it like they wanted him to up it, they was going to kill him." However, on the stand she denied that any such conversations actually happened.

Johnson next testified that on the day of Bias's death, around 5 a.m., Bias left the house to deliver packs of cocaine to 16th Street, as per his usual routine. When Bias returned around half an hour later, she looked out the basement window and saw him; Bias entered the house to get something, then left shortly afterward. She denied seeing him being followed at any point by a purple Monte Carlo with the McCarter brothers inside.

The State then attempted to impeach her with the handwritten statement, in which she gave the following account of events: When Bias left the house at around 5 a.m., she saw him being followed by a purple Monte Carlo, which she knew to be Ernest's car. When Bias returned,

897 N.E.2d 271

the Monte Carlo parked in front of the house. Defendant and Brandon got out of the car, both armed with guns and dressed in black jogging pants and black hooded sweatshirts, and got in Bias's car. Defendant was pointing his gun at Bias's head. Bias then drove away with the two brothers. Johnson watched the whole scene from her basement window and said, "I know when they left that [Bias] was going to be killed."

Johnson admitted that she made this statement, and she also admitted that she repeated the same story in her later video statement.

Johnson testified that she spoke with defendant again on July 8, 2003, after the alleged murder had taken place. She denied that defendant said he shot Bias in the back of the head, then put his foot on the gas pedal so that Bias's car crashed into a tree. She also denied that defendant talked about running away under a park viaduct to a pay phone. However, she admitted giving such an account of events in both her handwritten statement and her video statement. In particular, on the video, she quoted defendant as saying, "I shot that mother____er in the back of his head" and asking Brandon, "Did you see how that b____ flinched when I shot him?"

On cross-examination, Johnson testified further regarding the circumstances under which she made her prior statements to the police. She said that the Riverdale police had told her to bring a sample of Bias's hair and his toothbrush to them, and when she arrived at the station, they arrested her and told her that she was accused of involvement in the murder. She said that she was frightened and therefore made up the story she told them. However, on redirect, she admitted that in both the handwritten statement and the video, she stated that she was not threatened or forced to speak by the police.

The State also called both ASA Enright and ASA Thakkar to the stand. ASA Enright testified that Johnson gave her statement to the police voluntarily. He said that he did not threaten her, nor did he know of any threats against her. Moreover, she was "forthcoming" with information and did not appear to be under duress. ASA Thakkar testified that when Johnson gave her video statement, she said that the police had treated her fine. Over defendant's objection, the video of Johnson's statement was played before the jury.

Also testifying for the State was Gerard Jimerson, a Four Corner Hustler who knew the McCarter brothers. He testified that he lived at 137th and State in Riverdale, and at around 6:30 a.m. on July 8, 2003, defendant and his brother Brandon came to his house. They told him that they had dropped some drugs from their car while being chased by the police, and they asked him to give them a ride back to Ford Heights. On cross-examination Jimerson further testified that they said nothing about having killed anyone.

Jimerson said that he drove them back to the house of defendant's mother in Ford Heights. All three entered and...

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77 practice notes
  • People v. Donegan, No. 1–10–2325.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 25, 2012
    ...witness, which may be admitted to impeach the witness's credibility. People v. McCarter, 385 Ill.App.3d 919, 932, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008). Section 115–10.1(c) of the Code provides, in relevant part, that a prior inconsistent statement may be offered not just for purposes of i......
  • People v. Miller, Docket No. 1–11–0879.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 28, 2013 significantly less than 50 percent.” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) People v. McCarter, 385 Ill.App.3d 919, 935, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008). Given the significance of defendant's statement to the State's case against defendant, the outcome at trial was prejudiced by the ......
  • People v. French, No. 1-14-1815
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 10, 2017
    ...of that statement.’ [Citations.]" (Internal quotation marks omitted.) People v. McCarter , 385 Ill.App.3d 919, 930, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008) (quoting People v. Cooper , 188 Ill.App.3d 971, 973, 136 Ill.Dec. 498, 544 N.E.2d 1273 (1989) ). Accordingly, " ‘[e]xcluded from this de......
  • People v. Reed, No. 1-16-0609
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 12, 2018
    ...only reverses if the trial court's actions were manifestly erroneous. People v. McCarter , 385 Ill. App. 3d 919, 941, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008). There is no indication in the record that the trial court ever ruled on the merits of defendant's ineffective counsel claim; we there......
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77 cases
  • People v. Saulsberry, 2-18-1027
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 23, 2021 long as a not-guilty verdict could have been reasonably returned. People v. McCarter , 385 Ill. App. 3d 919, 935, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008). Defendant is correct that a "reasonable probability" for purposes of the prejudice prong of an ineffective-assistance analysis does no......
  • People v. Simpson, 116512.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 23, 2015
    ...2013 IL App (1st) 111914, ¶ 18, 373 Ill.Dec. 221, 993 N.E.2d 527 (citing People v. McCarter, 385 Ill.App.3d 919, 930, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008) ). The appellate court then found that counsel was ineffective because there was no sound strategic reason for counsel's failure to ob......
  • People v. Guerrero, 2-19-0364
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 15, 2021
    ...testimony is more damaging than a complete failure to testify at all); People v. McCarter , 385 Ill. App. 3d 919, 933, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008) (finding no affirmative damage to the State's case when the witness "did not offer evidence of [the defendant's] innocence but merely......
  • People v. Robinson, 1–13–0837.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 26, 2015
    ...Tolefree, 2011 IL App (1st) 100689, ¶ 25, 355 Ill.Dec. 584, 960 N.E.2d 27 ; People v. McCarter, 385 Ill.App.3d 919, 941, 325 Ill.Dec. 17, 897 N.E.2d 265 (2008). “ ‘Manifest error’ is error that is clearly plain, evident, and indisputable.” Tolefree , 2011 IL App (1st) 100689, ¶ 25, 355 Ill.......
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