People v. Ramsey
|86 N.E.3d 1068,2017 IL App (1st) 160977
|22 August 2017
|PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Cedrick RAMSEY, Defendant–Appellant.
|United States Appellate Court of Illinois
Christopher S. Carroll, of Aurora, for appellant.
Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Joseph Alexander, and David J. Welch, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.
¶ 1 After a bench trial, defendant Cedrick Ramsey was convicted of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and sentenced to natural life in prison. He raises three issues on appeal: (i) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence recovered during a warrantless search of his residence after police arrived in response to a 911 call, when the items were in plain view, were not taken by police during the initial search, and were later recovered by an evidence technician; (ii) whether the admission of other crimes evidence was an abuse of discretion; and (iii) whether his trial counsel was ineffective. Finding no error or other basis for reversal, we affirm.
¶ 2 Before trial, Ramsey filed a motion to suppress items recovered from and photographs taken inside his home. A transcript of the hearing on the motion is not included in the record on appeal. Ramsey argued that because there were no exigent circumstances, police were required to obtain a warrant to search his home after he was arrested. The State contended that officers responding to the 911 call had probable cause to enter the home in order to locate any victims or other offenders, particularly in light of Ramsey's admission that he had been fighting with his "girlfriend." Once inside the home, police saw in plain view a broken window, blood on the windowsill, and the items eventually recovered. Ramsey's motion to suppress was denied. Ramsey's motion to reconsider that ruling was likewise denied.
¶ 3 The State also moved in limine to admit other crimes evidence relating to Ramsey's sexual assault of two other young women. The other assaults were committed within a month of each other in 2000, and the current alleged assault occurred within two years of Ramsey's release from prison after he was convicted of those assaults. There were certain similarities in the method of attack, including Ramsey's conduct in luring women to his house for consensual sex and then attacking them once they arrived. The trial court determined that the other crimes evidence was admissible.
¶ 4 On May 31, 2008, Ramsey and the victim, F.S., a 17-year-old prostitute, initially spoke on a "chat line." Ramsey identified himself as "Dillon." F.S. agreed to meet Ramsey for sex in exchange for money that same day. They negotiated a price of $160 for half an hour.
¶ 5 Later that day, Ramsey, who was on electronic monitoring for another offense, went to pick up F.S. at 67th Street and Halsted Street. When Ramsey and F.S. arrived at Ramsey's home at 3 East 140th Court in Riverdale, Ramsey directed F.S. to the second floor. As they got to the top of the stairs, Ramsey placed his hand on F.S.'s shoulder, held a knife to her neck, and told her not to scream or he would kill her. Ramsey told F.S. to "get on the couch" in the bedroom and take off her clothes. After F.S. disrobed and while Ramsey still held the knife, he demanded that F.S. perform oral sex on him. Ramsey then tried but was unable to penetrate F.S.'s vagina. Ramsey had F.S. move to a bed in the room and lay face down. Ramsey penetrated F.S.'s vagina with his penis but was unable to maintain an erection. Each time Ramsey lost his erection, he demanded that F.S. perform oral sex.
¶ 6 At one point, Ramsey told F.S. he was going to get some Vaseline. Before he left the room, Ramsey tied F.S.'s arms and legs behind her back with an exercise cord. When Ramsey returned, he rubbed some sort of lubricant on F.S.'s anus and then penetrated her vagina. Ramsey was interrupted by his phone ringing. He took F.S. to an exercise bench in the room and tied her to the bench with her hands behind her back and put a sock in her mouth so she could not scream. Ramsey dressed and left the room to return the phone call.
¶ 7 While Ramsey was out of the room, F.S. was able to free her hands. She then punched out a window in the room. When she could not escape through the window, she leaned out the window and called out for help. Ramsey then returned and pulled F.S. back into the room by her hair. As they struggled, Ramsey bit F.S.'s shoulder and punched her face and head several times.
¶ 8 Alphonzo Wells, Ramsey's next door neighbor, was outside washing his truck around noon that day. Wells heard the screams, saw a hand pull F.S. back into the house and called 911. Ramsey told F.S. to get dressed and to go wash the blood off her face because the police would be arriving soon.
¶ 9 Police spoke to Wells when they arrived a few minutes later and Wells repeated what he had heard and seen. Ramsey met the police at his front door. According to responding officers, Ramsey was nervous and sweaty, and they noticed blood droplets on his T-shirt. Another officer noticed glass on the sidewalk under the broken window. Ramsey told the officers he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend.
¶ 10 As Ramsey stood by the front door, other officers entered the home. F.S., crying, disheveled, and with scratches on her arms, ran down the stairs and towards the officers. Ramsey was placed under arrest, and F.S. was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
¶ 11 Officers walked through both floors of the residence to determine whether other perpetrators or victims were present. They checked closets, under the beds, and anywhere else a person could be hiding. There is no evidence that the officers opened drawers or otherwise searched in locations where a human being could not hide. In the second floor bedroom, they noticed a knife and exercise equipment. The officers did not take any items at that time. About an hour later, an evidence technician entered the home and recovered the knife, an exercise cord, an audiovisual cord wrapped around a piece of exercise equipment, and a container of petroleum jelly. The technician also recovered a latex condom from the floor of the bedroom by the bed. The technician remained in the house for about 20 minutes, collecting the items in the bedroom and taking photographs.
¶ 12 At the hospital, F.S. recounted to nurse Nancy Healy the details of her assault. Healy observed abrasions and cuts on F.S.'s face and around her eyes, she had multiple scratches on the back of her upper right arm, and there were several lacerations on her upper and lower legs as well as a long laceration on her left hip. Healy also noticed a bite mark on the back of F.S.'s right shoulder. F.S. had abrasions on her genitalia
consistent with forced penetration.
¶ 13 Healy collected swabs from F.S. as part of her examination. DNA testing of the swabs revealed a mixture of male and female DNA on F.S.'s underwear. DNA extracted from semen recovered from the underwear showed a mixture of at least three people, one of whom was F.S.; another was a male profile, but it could not be determined whether the third profile was male and the result of the testing was inconclusive. DNA testing on a swab from F.S.'s breast revealed F.S.'s DNA and a male profile. A male DNA profile was also recovered from a swab of the bite mark on F.S.'s right shoulder. Both male DNA profiles recovered from the breast and shoulder swabs matched Ramsey's DNA profile.
¶ 14 Over Ramsey's objection, the court permitted testimony from another victim, S.S. Like F.S., S.S., then 16 years old, met Ramsey, who identified himself as "Shawn," on a chat line. S.S. made arrangements to meet "Shawn" on February 2, 2000. A person identifying himself as Shawn's brother picked her up and drove her to 3 East 140th Court in Riverdale. Once there, the man told S.S. he had a car for sale he wanted to show her and took her into a garage. As they walked, the man placed a "pointy" object by her side, which she assumed was a knife. The man told S.S. to take off her clothes and forced her into the back seat of a car where he assaulted her. He continued to assault her as she leaned against the door of the car, forcing his penis partially into her vagina. The man then told S.S to get dressed. He put duct tape over her mouth and used it to tie her hands. He then put her in the trunk of the car. S.S. was eventually able to escape and ran screaming to a neighbor's house where police were called. An investigation resulted in Ramsey's arrest and conviction. Ramsey was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison on October 1, 2001.
¶ 15 Ramsey elected to testify. He recounted how he met F.S., or "Diamond," as she called herself, on the chat line and arranged to meet her for sex. Ramsey and F.S. agreed that Ramsey would pay her $160 for a half hour, including oral and vaginal sex, as well as bondage and other "fetishes." On the ride back to his residence, Ramsey received a call from the Illinois Department of Corrections because Ramsey was only permitted to leave his home for work or school and neither was scheduled that day. Ramsey had intended to stop at an ATM after he picked up F.S. but was unable to because he received the call from IDOC. According to Ramsey, when they returned to his home, F.S. became impatient when Ramsey was put on hold for 10 or 15 minutes after he returned the call from IDOC.
¶ 16 Ramsey and F.S. eventually had consensual sex but were interrupted when Ramsey received a phone call from a friend. When he returned after taking the call, he had lost his erection and asked F.S. to perform oral sex again. She told him to "hurry up" because they had agreed on only one-half hour, and Ramsey told her to "forget it." F.S. then began demanding her money, and the two fought after Ramsey told her he had no money...
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