People v. Wilson

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation170 N.E.3d 83,2020 IL App (1st) 162430,446 Ill.Dec. 257
Docket NumberNo. 1-16-2430,1-16-2430
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Bobby WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date26 March 2020

2020 IL App (1st) 162430
170 N.E.3d 83
446 Ill.Dec.

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Bobby WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 1-16-2430

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division.

Filed March 26, 2020

James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, Lauren A. Bauser and Adrienne E. Sloan, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Clare Wesolik Connolly and Hareena Meghani-Wakely, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

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

¶ 1 Following a jury trial, defendant, Bobby Wilson, was found guilty of first degree murder based on a theory of accountability for actions that occurred when he was 16 years old. The trial court subsequently sentenced him to 37 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements made to the police where he lacked the ability to understand his Miranda rights ( Miranda v. Arizona , 384 U.S. 436 (1966) ), (2) the State failed to present sufficient evidence to prove his guilt based on a theory of accountability, (3) the trial court denied him a fair trial when it refused to provide the jury with an instruction on the concept of mere presence after the jury submitted a question during deliberations that allegedly demonstrated its confusion about the law of accountability, (4) he must receive a new sentencing hearing where the trial court failed to consider all of the statutory mitigating factors for juvenile offenders, and (5) his sentence was unconstitutional.

170 N.E.3d 88

¶ 2 Because we find that defendant lacked the ability to understand his Miranda rights and therefore could not knowingly and intelligently waive those rights, the trial court should have suppressed his statements to the police. We further find the error was reversible and there was insufficient evidence to convict him such that retrial would offend double jeopardy principles. Accordingly, we reverse defendant's conviction outright.


¶ 4 A grand jury indicted defendant with multiple counts related to the October 24, 2012, shooting death of Kenton Morgan. The State ultimately proceeded to trial on four counts of first degree murder. In count I, the State alleged that defendant intended or knowingly shot and killed Morgan while armed with a firearm. In count II, the State alleged that defendant shot and killed Morgan while armed with a firearm, knowing that such an act created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. In counts III and IV, the State alleged that defendant shot and killed Morgan while armed with a firearm during the commission of an armed robbery and vehicular invasion, respectively.

¶ 5 A. Motion to Suppress

¶ 6 Before trial, defendant filed a motion suppress his statements to the police based on his alleged inability to understand his Miranda rights. At a hearing on defendant's motion, the State presented the testimony of Chicago police detective Donald Hill. He testified that, in December 2012, he was investigating the death of Morgan and learned that defendant was in custody at the police station. Because defendant was only 16 years old, the police notified his mother, and she came to the station. According to Detective Hill, neither he nor his partner, Detective John Otto, had any conversation with defendant prior to his mother arriving. Once defendant's mother arrived at the station, the detectives told her that defendant was in custody for an investigation related to a homicide. Defendant's mother did not have any questions. Afterward, defendant's mother and the detectives entered the interview room where defendant was located. According to Detective Hill, defendant was sleeping and not handcuffed when they walked in. The detectives then began their interview with defendant, which was video recorded. The recording was entered into evidence at the suppression hearing.

¶ 7 Detective Hill testified that, initially, he informed defendant that he was being interviewed as a suspect in a homicide investigation that occurred in the vicinity of West 80th Street and South Halsted Street in Chicago. Then Detective Otto began advising defendant of his Miranda rights, beginning with his right to remain silent, which defendant stated he understood. Detective Otto next informed defendant that he had the right to an attorney, which defendant stated he understood. Detective Otto did not, however, explicitly inform defendant that he could have an attorney present with him during the current questioning. Detective Otto then asked defendant if he knew that anything he said could and would be used against him in court, which defendant stated he understood. Detective Otto further told defendant that if he could not afford an attorney, one would be provided to him free of charge, but defendant stated he did not understand. Detective Otto explained that this right meant "if you can't afford an attorney, the State will pay for an attorney for you," and defendant responded "uh, all right." Lastly, Detective Otto asked defendant if he understood that he could be charged and prosecuted as an adult in this case, but defendant indicated he did not understand. Detective Otto explained that, even though defendant was a

170 N.E.3d 89

juvenile, if he were charged with murder, he would be charged as an adult. Defendant acknowledged he understood. While Detective Otto informed defendant of his Miranda rights, defendant's mother remained silent in the interview room.

¶ 8 The detectives then asked defendant about the shooting death of Morgan. Detective Hill testified that, during the 30-minute interview, defendant appeared to understand all of their questions and he did not have trouble answering them. Initially, defendant denied any knowledge of Morgan's death, but upon further questioning, he discussed what he knew. Later, defendant gave the detectives the name of an individual he observed on the night of October 24, 2012. The detectives and defendant's mother subsequently left the room, so the detectives could try to obtain a photograph of that individual. Approximately 30 minutes later, the detectives and defendant's mother returned to the room. Detective Hill showed defendant a photograph, and he identified the individual. The detectives attempted to ask defendant another question, but his mother interjected and said she had contacted an attorney. After defendant confirmed that he wanted the attorney, the detectives stopped their questioning. During the interview with defendant, Detective Hill was not aware of any learning defects or cognitive issues that defendant might have had. Defendant's mother was present during the entirety of the interview.

¶ 9 Following Detective Hill's testimony, the trial court found that the State had met its burden to show defendant understood his Miranda rights and asserted the burden had shifted to defendant to show otherwise.

¶ 10 Defendant then presented the testimony of Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh, a forensic clinical psychologist, who before starting her own practice had worked for 10 years as the clinical director of the Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic. Based on her credentials, the trial court qualified her as an expert witness. Dr. Kavanaugh testified that, based on a request from defendant's attorney, she conducted an evaluation of defendant for his ability to understand his Miranda rights and whether he was able to provide a knowing and intelligent waiver of those rights. In evaluating defendant, Dr. Kavanaugh interviewed him three times for a total of five and a half hours, interviewed his mother for a total of three hours, and watched the video recorded interview of his with the detectives. Dr. Kavanaugh also reviewed various records of defendant's, including his arrest report, his school records, prior psychological reports, and multiple individualized education programs (IEPs). She explained that IEPs were required by the federal government for students in need of special education services. Dr. Kavanaugh interviewed the paraprofessional who helped manage defendant's current IEP, and he told her that defendant "tends to say he understand[s] things when he doesn't because he wants to appear as cognitively advanced as you would expect a person his age to be." According to Dr. Kavanaugh, if defendant indicated he understood something, that would not necessarily mean he understood it.

¶ 11 Dr. Kavanaugh remarked that defendant had a learning disability and discussed defendant's prior cognitive tests. In third grade, his full-scale IQ was 81, which was classified as "below average"; in sixth grade, his full-scale IQ was 62, which was classified as "[e]xtremely low"; in ninth grade, his full-scale IQ was 70, which was classified as "borderline." According to Dr. Kavanaugh, although the test defendant took in third grade was less reliable than the ones he took in sixth and ninth grade, the tests showed that he "consistently perform[ed]

170 N.E.3d 90

significantly below average." Dr. Kavanaugh also discussed defendant's prior academic achievement tests, which demonstrated a lack of academic advancement between third and ninth grade. In third grade, his reading comprehension was at a...

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  • People v. Okittous B. (In re O.B.)
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 6, 2022
    ...disability]' as 'requiring an IQ of less than 70' and even 'less than 75.'" People v. Wilson, 2020 IL App (1st) 162430, ¶ 48, 170 N.E.3d 83 (quoting In re S.W.N., 2016 IL App (3d) 160080, ¶ 73, 58 N.E.3d 877, citing People v. Jones, 2014 IL App (1st) 120927, ¶ 59, 8 N.E.3d 470, and People v......

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