People v. Robinson

Decision Date26 June 2015
Docket NumberNo. 1–13–0837.,1–13–0837.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Ryishie ROBINSON, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

35 N.E.3d 1095

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee
Ryishie ROBINSON, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 1–13–0837.

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division.

June 26, 2015.
Rehearing Denied Aug. 12, 2015.

35 N.E.3d 1100

Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and Kristen E. Mueller, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Yvette Loizon, Assistant State's Attorneys, and Brian A. Levitsky, Special Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for the People.


Justice GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 On January 14, 2010, defendant was arrested after being discovered by Eugene Witherspoon in Witherspoon's apartment attempting to remove a flat screen television set. After a bench trial, defendant was convicted of residential burglary and aggravated battery of Witherspoon. 720 ILCS 5/19–3(a), 12–4(a) (West 2008). Defendant filed a pro se posttrial motion for a new trial claiming ineffective assistance of counsel, which was denied. Defense counsel filed a posttrial motion for a new trial with numerous claims, which was also denied. After hearing arguments on aggravation and mitigation, defendant was sentenced to 30 years with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for residential burglary and 7 years for aggravated battery, to run concurrently. This direct appeal followed.

¶ 2 On appeal, defendant claims that: (1) the State presented insufficient evidence to prove defendant guilty of residential burglary and aggravated battery beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel at the hearing on his pro se posttrial motion; (3) the trial court sentenced defendant to an excessive 30–year sentence by finding that Witherspoon's speech impediment was the result of the injury suffered in the incident; (4) the trial court erred in sentencing defendant to a 7–year extended sentence for aggravated battery because it was the lesser offense of the offenses he was found guilty of; and (5) the fines and fees were incorrectly calculated. The State agrees that the fines and fees order should be modified, and the “Order Assessing Fines, Fees, and Costs” is corrected as follows: the $5 electronic citation fee is removed, the defendant is credited $5 per day for the 1,104 days defendant was incarcerated awaiting trial, and this credit is applied to the $50 in fines due from defendant. Thus, the total fees and costs due from defendant is adjusted to $365. The mittimus is corrected accordingly.

35 N.E.3d 1101

¶ 3 For the following reasons, we do not find persuasive defendant's claims: (1) that the State's evidence was insufficient to prove residential burglary and aggravated battery; and (2) that the sentence for residential burglary was excessive. However, defendant is correct that he engaged in a single course of action when a security guard blocked defendant's only escape path and defendant bit off a portion of his lip. Thus, the extended-term sentence on the lesser offense of aggravated battery was inappropriate and we correct the mittimus to reflect a five-year sentence for that offense. In addition, we remand for a Krankel hearing before a different judge, as required by our supreme court's seminal decision in People v. Jolly, 2014 IL 117142, ¶ 46, 389 Ill.Dec. 101, 25 N.E.3d 1127.


¶ 5 We provide a detailed description of testimony below, but in sum, the State's evidence at trial established that, on January 14, 2010, Eugene Witherspoon, a security guard and resident of an apartment building located on East 46th Street in Chicago, was outside talking to a number of employees from a security company about installing security cameras in the building. His wife, Mary Johnson, was asleep in their second-floor apartment. While outside discussing the installation of security cameras, Witherspoon heard a noise from inside the building and ran to the third floor, where he believed the noise originated. He then descended to the second floor, where he observed a woman exiting his apartment with his laptop. Rather than follow this woman, Witherspoon entered his apartment to check on his wife and observed defendant in his apartment wrapping an unplugged television cord around Witherspoon's television set. While defendant and Witherspoon testified to differing versions of the events that followed, it is undisputed that a physical altercation between defendant and Witherspoon ensued and that during this altercation, defendant bit off Witherspoon's lower lip.

¶ 6 I. Evidence at Trial

¶ 7 The State's evidence at trial consisted of the testimony of four witnesses: (1) Eugene Witherspoon, the victim; (2) Mary Johnson, Eugene Witherspoon's wife, who was asleep in the apartment at the time of the incident; (3) police officer John Thill, the arresting officer; and (4) police officer Thomas Ellerbeck, one of the evidence technicians who processed the crime scene. The parties also stipulated to the testimony of Michael Cox, the Illinois State Police crime lab fingerprint examiner who reviewed fingerprints from the crime scene.

¶ 8 The parties stipulated that Michael Cox, a senior fingerprint examiner for the Illinois State Police crime lab, would testify that in Cox's opinion one of the two latent prints recovered at the crime scene belonged to defendant within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. It was further stipulated that no other prints suitable for comparison were recovered from the other items submitted into evidence.

¶ 9 Eugene Witherspoon, age 39,1 testified that, on January 14, 2010, he was working as a security guard in an apartment building on East 46th Street in Chicago, Illinois. He also lived in a duplex unit in the building with his wife, Mary Johnson. Witherspoon's duplex unit was on the second and third floors of the apartment building. On January 14, 2010, his wife was suffering from a migraine headache, had taken some medicine for her migraine, and was asleep in one of the upstairs bedrooms of the couple's apartment

35 N.E.3d 1102

At 2 p.m., Witherspoon received a telephone call from several employees of a security company who were present at the building to determine locations for new security cameras. Witherspoon locked his apartment door and went outside the building to meet with the security camera personnel. Witherspoon testified that the front door of the building was locked because the door locked automatically.

¶ 10 Witherspoon was outside for 30 minutes when he heard a noise from inside his section of the building which, due to remodeling, was occupied at the time by only Witherspoon and his wife. Witherspoon ran to the third floor, where he believed the noise originated. Not finding anything on the third floor, Witherspoon walked down the stairs to the second floor, where he observed a young woman, whom Witherspoon did not recognize, leaving Witherspoon's apartment. The unidentified woman was carrying a bag with a laptop protruding from it that Witherspoon recognized as his own personal laptop. The woman ran down the stairs when she observed Witherspoon. Observing that his apartment door was ajar, Witherspoon chose to enter his apartment instead of chasing the woman in the hallway.

¶ 11 Upon entering his apartment, Witherspoon encountered defendant, who was standing above Witherspoon's flat screen television set and was wrapping the unplugged television cord around the television set. The television had been moved from its usual stand and onto the floor. When defendant observed Witherspoon he ran at Witherspoon, who was blocking the doorway, and a fight ensued. Defendant and Witherspoon fought in Witherspoon's apartment for between 5 and 10 minutes before the fight moved to the apartment's hallway and then down the apartment's stairs. During the encounter, Witherspoon tried to dial 911 on his cell phone and tried to shout to his wife for help, but Witherspoon was unable to dial the phone and Witherspoon's wife did not respond to his shouts. After the fight moved into the hallway, defendant bit Witherspoon's lower lip off. This caused Witherspoon tremendous pain and made him dizzy and nauseous. After defendant bit Witherspoon's lip, Witherspoon drew his handgun, which he was licensed to carry, and hit defendant with the gun once on the top of the head, at which point the pistol fired and shattered the glass doorway to the building. Following the gunshot, several individuals entered the building, Witherspoon informed them that his apartment had been burglarized by defendant, and these unidentified individuals detained defendant until the police arrived. Witherspoon was transported to two separate hospitals, where his lip was reattached. Witherspoon suffered immense pain from the surgeries, and his lip would occasionally turn white and the skin on his lip would peel.

¶ 12 Witherspoon also testified that a hat, jacket, glove, cell phone, cigarette butt, pocket knife, and flathead screwdriver discovered in the hallway of the building were not his. Witherspoon further testified that the scratch marks found on his door had not previously been there. The State showed Witherspoon People's exhibit No. 14, a photograph of Witherspoon's apartment, and Witherspoon marked...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • People v. Jackson, 1–13–3741.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 10, 2016
    ...325 Ill.App.3d at 6, 258 Ill.Dec. 479, 756 N.E.2d 461 ); see also People v. Robinson, 2015 IL App (1st) 130837, ¶ 83, 394 Ill.Dec. 126, 35 N.E.3d 1095.¶ 94 In Cabrales, 325 Ill.App.3d at 5–6, 258 Ill.Dec. 479, 756 N.E.2d 461, as in this case, the trial court skipped the preliminary phase of......
  • People v. Jackson
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 11, 2018
    ...transform the State's argument into de minimis participation. See People v. Robinson , 2015 IL App (1st) 130837, ¶ 80, 394 Ill.Dec. 126, 35 N.E.3d 1095 (rejecting the State's argument that its participation was de minimis where the prosecutor presented arguments at the end of the preliminar......
  • People v. Robinson
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 14, 2017
    ...from an objective or neutral inquiry into an adversarial inquiry." People v. Robinson , 2015 IL App (1st) 130837, ¶ 81, 394 Ill.Dec. 126, 35 N.E.3d 1095. Since we determined that the preliminary Krankel hearing was not properly conducted, we did not consider at that time "the merits of the ......
  • People v. Abrams
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 22, 2015
    ...and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. People v. Robinson, 2015 IL App (1st) 130837, ¶ 88, 394 Ill.Dec. 126, 35 N.E.3d 1095. Moreover, we take the record as a whole and do not focus on a “ ‘few words or statements made by the trial court.’ ” Id. ¶ 94 (quoting Peo......
  • 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