Cases Pending Highlights Criminal Cases In Illinois Supreme Court's November Term

November 05, 2019 7:25 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

The Illinois Supreme Court’s November Term begins Tuesday, November 12, 2019, with oral arguments scheduled for November 13, 14, 19, and 20. A total of 14 cases will be heard – 8 criminal and 6 civil. The following criminal cases are scheduled for argument this Term:

November 13

People v. Shadwick King, No. 123926

People v. Marshall Ashley, No. 123989

People v. Jonathan Lindsey, No. 124289

People v. Phouvone Sophanavong, No. 124337

November 14

People v. Ryan Roddis, No. 124352

People v. Leslie Moore, No. 124538

November 19

People v. Lanard Gayden, No. 123505

People v. Tavarius Radford, No. 123975

Below is a summary for one of these cases, People v. Lanard Gayden. Summaries for this case and others pending in the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.

People v. Lanard Gayden

Police responded to an apartment building in response to reports of a "man with a shotgun."  An officer arrived and saw, from no more than five feet away, defendant standing in the threshold of the doorway to his apartment, holding a shotgun.  Defendant threw the shotgun down (inside the apartment) and slammed the door.  The officer knocked then forced his way into the apartment and arrested defendant.  Defendant was charged and convicted of unlawful use of a weapon for possessing a shotgun with a barrel less than eighteen inches; he received a two-year prison sentence with a one-year mandatory supervised release term.

On direct appeal, defendant's arguments included that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress evidence (the shotgun) because no record evidence established probable cause or exigent circumstances permitting the officer to enter defendant's apartment without a warrant.  The shotgun in question was 17.5 inches long, and defendant asserted that the officer could not determine, from a quick glance from five feet away, that the shotgun was slightly too short.  The appellate court affirmed, concluding that the record lacked information needed to evaluate defendant's ineffective assistance claim so that it had to be raised in a postconviction petition.  Noting that defendant had mentioned in a petition for rehearing that he had recently discharged his sentence, the appellate court noted that defendant had failed to mention that fact in his initial pleadings so that the argument would not be considered.

Before the Illinois Supreme Court, defendant first argues that the appellate court erred in holding that the record was insufficient to evaluate his ineffective assistance of counsel claim and that police lacked probable cause or exigent circumstances to enter his apartment without a warrant.  Alternatively, defendant argues that because he is entitled to a merits decision on his ineffective assistance claim, the supreme court should either: (1) order the appellate court to retain jurisdiction and remand the matter to the circuit court for an evidentiary hearing, or (2) allow defendant to raise his claim in a postconviction petition (despite the fact that he is not imprisoned as required by the Post-Conviction Hearing Act).

In response, the People argue that defendant cannot meet his burden to show ineffective assistance based on the trial record given unanswered questions in the record and the presumption that counsel performed competently, especially given that defendant has not pointed to any potential source of new evidence outside the record.  Moreover, there may have been probable cause to arrest defendant for other crimes, such as aggravated assault of his girlfriend (who submitted a complaint), and the hot pursuit exception or exigent circumstances might also have justified the entry.  With regard to the alternative argument, the People assert that defendant is not entitled to additional opportunities to raise his meritless ineffective assistance claim.  In particular, the People argue that the court may not use its supervisory power to circumvent the terms of the Act.  Further, the People contend that there are no grounds for remanding the matter for an evidentiary hearing, and, in any event, defendant forfeited any right to such a hearing.

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