People v. Norris

Citation428 Ill.Dec. 899,2018 IL App (3d) 170436,123 N.E.3d 628
Decision Date31 December 2018
Docket NumberAppeal No. 3-17-0436
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John V. NORRIS, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

2018 IL App (3d) 170436
123 N.E.3d 628
428 Ill.Dec.

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
John V. NORRIS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal No. 3-17-0436

Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District.

Opinion filed December 31, 2018

John V. Norris, of Joliet, appellant pro se.

James W. Glasgow, State’s Attorney, of Joliet (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Jasmine D. Morton, of State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, of counsel), for the People.

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

428 Ill.Dec. 902
123 N.E.3d 631

¶ 1 Defendant, John V. Norris, appeals following the denial of his petition to rescind his statutory summary suspension. He raises five arguments on appeal, which we address in turn.


¶ 3 The State charged defendant with driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) ( 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2016) ) via complaint dated January 3, 2017. Based on defendant's refusal to complete postarrest testing, his driver's license was subject to a 12-month statutory summary suspension. Defendant, who represented himself throughout the entirety of the proceedings below, subsequently filed a petition to rescind the suspension on the grounds that (1) the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that defendant was under the influence of alcohol, and (2) he had not been warned that refusal to submit to testing would result in the suspension of his driver's license.

¶ 4 Following a number of agreed continuances, defendant's petition to rescind was stricken for want of prosecution on March 15, 2017, when he failed to appear in court. On April 4, 2017, defendant filed a motion to reinstate his petition, averring that he had been sick on the previous court date and that officials at Will County Adult Detention Facility had failed to inform the court of that fact. On April 13, 2017, the court reinstated defendant's petition, commenting: "We'll show the motion is reinstated, and the new 30 days starts to run from today." The court scheduled the hearing for May 1.

¶ 5 Defendant subsequently filed a "Motion to Suppress Statements ( Miranda Warning)." In the motion, defendant asserted that statements he made in the course of his traffic stop should be suppressed on the grounds that the arresting officer never read a Miranda warning. In the motion, defendant did not identify with any specificity the statements he sought to have suppressed.

¶ 6 On April 26, the State filed a motion to continue the hearing on defendant's petition because the arresting officer would be unavailable on May 1. The court granted the State's motion over defendant's objection and rescheduled the hearing on the petition to rescind for May 15.

¶ 7 A combined hearing on defendant's petition to rescind and his motion to suppress commenced on May 15, 2017. Defendant's first witness was the arresting officer, Robert Mau, of the Joliet Police Department. After a series of preliminary questions, an attempt was made to play the video recording of the traffic stop from Mau's squad car. The record reflects, however, that apparent technical issues prevented the video from being played at that time. Defendant agreed to suspend his questioning of Mau and instead question Officer Kristoff Petro of the Joliet Police Department while the technical problems were being fixed, in an effort to accommodate Petro's schedule.

428 Ill.Dec. 903
123 N.E.3d 632

¶ 8 Petro testified that she was investigating a hit-and-run accident on the night in question. In the course of her investigation, she brought the victims of the traffic accident to the area where Mau was performing the traffic stop of defendant, in order to determine if the victim could identify defendant. Petro testified that she could not recall whether defendant was emitting the odor of an alcoholic beverage or stumbling because she was focused on the traffic investigation rather than on defendant's physical state at the time. The video from Mau's squad car was then played in court.

¶ 9 The video shows defendant's vehicle as it drives past Mau's squad car. Mau begins pursuit, catching up to defendant's vehicle at a red traffic signal, where defendant's vehicle is stopped. Defendant proceeds through the intersection before the signal changes to green. Mau activates his overhead lights, at which point defendant turns onto the next available side street.

¶ 10 After Mau asks defendant to step out of his vehicle, defendant admits that he drank one beer earlier that evening, later clarifying that he drank it approximately an hour earlier. Mau asks defendant to recite the alphabet, beginning with the letter C and ending with the letter P. On his first attempt, defendant recites the alphabet through the letter S before stopping. On his second attempt, he performs the test correctly. Next, Mau asks defendant to count backwards from 83 to 67, which defendant does without mistake. Mau then asks defendant to count from one to four and back, while touching each of his fingers to his thumb. Defendant performs the counting correctly and appears to complete the finger-touching portion successfully.

¶ 11 Mau then performs the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. Defendant grows impatient with the test and accuses Mau of performing it incorrectly. After a lengthy discussion, Mau completes the HGN test. Defendant then declines to perform the walk-and-turn test, citing ongoing knee problems. Similarly, he states that he cannot perform the one-leg stand test, because of chronic ear infections. Mau places defendant under arrest.

¶ 12 After the video was played, defendant resumed his questioning of Petro. Petro testified that the victims of the car accident she was investigating positively identified defendant and his vehicle. Defendant then expressed to the court his desire to lay a foundation for the booking room video. He explained that the video would show Petro in close proximity to him at multiple times, which would be relevant to her testimony concerning whether defendant was emitting the odor of an alcoholic beverage. The court found that defendant could question Petro regarding observations in the booking room but ruled that the playing of the video was not necessary at that time. When the issue of the booking room video was raised again while Petro was testifying, the court again denied defendant's request, adding: "I am not going to stop you from playing the video later because those issues may be important to warnings, I presume."

¶ 13 On cross-examination, Petro testified that she informed Mau that defendant had been positively identified in the hit-and-run accident. She did not participate in Mau's DUI investigation and did not focus on any odor defendant was emitting nor did she check defendant's eyes.

¶ 14 Mau returned to the witness stand following Petro's testimony. Defendant asked Mau if he read to defendant the warning to motorist at 8:11 p.m. that night while in the booking room of the Joliet Police Department. Mau replied that he read the warning verbatim. Defendant's direct examination grew contentious as it

428 Ill.Dec. 904
123 N.E.3d 633

proceeded. Shortly after Mau testified that he read the warning verbatim, the following exchange took place:

"[DEFENDANT]: Officer Mau, at some point [did] you walk over with a piece of paper in your hand?

[MAU]: Yes.

[DEFENDANT]: And you—is it okay to demonstrate, Judge? I am not going to do anything crazy.

THE COURT: Well, you have a document—

[DEFENDANT]: Yes. No, I am just going to act out.


[MAU]: Step back.

THE COURT: Yeah, you are too close to the witness, so I am going to ask you to step back. Now, if you need to approach a witness with a document—

[MAU]: I'm going to get closer to you when we get you in Federal Court.[1 ]

THE COURT: All right. All Right.

[PROSECUTOR]: Judge, again—

THE COURT: I am going to allow that. Sit down, Officer. Thank you. You cannot say things like that, Mr. Norris. You can't threaten the witness. I am asking you to be civil. We have had this discussion and do I need to stop questioning at this point or can you do it respectfully?

[DEFENDANT]: That would be a very good idea because right now I'm ready to do something really stupid.

THE COURT: Well, and I don't think that's a good idea. Okay.

[DEFENDANT]: I'm not really impressed with you.

THE COURT: Okay, no more comments or further interrupting the proceedings at this point.

* * *

THE COURT: Well, I am allowing [defendant] to be cuffed because he suggested he needed it for protection of all people. And because [defendant] says he cannot at this time ask any more questions, I am going to stop the questions from [defendant], but I am going to allow the State, however, the State to cross examine."

¶ 15 On cross-examination, Mau testified that he clocked defendant driving 55 miles per hour in a 30 miles-per-hour zone. He pulled defendant over after defendant proceeded through a red traffic signal. He observed that defendant had glassy eyes and was emitting the odor of an alcoholic beverage from his breath. Defendant told Mau...

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