|Search & Seizure
Hiland v. Trent, 868 N.E. 2d 396, Third District
Appellate Court (5/16/07).
People v. Williams, 858 N.E. 2nd 606. Illinois Appellate Court, Ist District.
United States v. Cherry, 436 F. 3d 769 ( C.A. 7, Ill., 2006)
People v. Miller, 824 N.E. 2d 1080 ,
Illinois 1st District Appellate Court (2-7-05).
HUDSON v. MICHIGAN. United States Supreme Court, June 2006. 126 S. Ct. 2159
People v. Dieppa, 357 Ill.
App. 3d 847
ILLINOIS v. CABALLES. U.S.
Supreme Court (1/25/05)
writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Illinois. 03-923
DEVENPECK et al. v. ALFORD No.
People v. Parra, 352 Ill. App.
3d 584, 817 N.E. 2d 141 ( 2d Dist., 10/12/04)
People v. Travis Smith, 346
Ill. App. 3d 146, 803 N.E. 2d 1074
People v. Starbuck, 358 Ill
App. 3d 234 (3rd Dist. 2005)
People v. Mendoza, 846 N.E. 2d 169 (2d Dist App. Ct.,
People v. Frederick Hampton, 358 Ill App. 3d 1029 (2d Dist 2005)
and People v. Shinara Mathews, 357 Ill App. 3d 1062 (3rd Dist. 2005)
People v. Watkins, 361 Ill. App. 3d 498 (3rd Dist
|Recently. I reported People v. Collins, 214 Ill.
2d 206, 824 N.E. 2d 262, [see Archives] where The State Supreme Court upheld a
“reckless discharge of firearm” conviction of a defendant who fired a gun into
the air in a residential area to celebrate the New Year.
|This decision by the 3rd District Appellate Court is
interesting in that, while coming to the same conclusion as the Supreme Court
did in Collins, the majority here notes that its determination of
what constitutes “recklessness” in this offense is a “first impression” matter
because the Illinois Supreme Court in Collins addressed on appeal
only the second of a two-pronged test of (1) recklessly discharging a firearm;
and (2) endangering the bodily safety of an individual, [essential to a finding
of reckless discharge of a firearm under 720 ILCS 5/24-1. 5(a).]
|The dissent, on the other hand, not only criticizes the
majority’s rationale, but also points out something that both this majority and
the Illinois Supreme Court seem not to have considered—that is, the
legislators’ intentions when 720 ILCS 5/24-1.5(a) was passed. See the comments
by Justice McDade, below.
|Facts: Defendant was seen driving away from a
residential area where gunshots had been fired. When confronted by the police,
he consented to a search of his residence where three firearms were found,
including one of the same caliber as shell casings found by the police at the
scene where the shots had been fired. Defendant admitted to not having a FOID
card and was arrested. At the station, defendant gave a written statement
wherein he alleged that the firearms found in his residence belonged to his
brother, and that he had fired one into the air four times in his back yard,
because he “just wanted to see how it worked. . . .I was not shooting at anyone
and I was not trying to hurt anyone. I just fired the gun into the air.”
|Court findings: The trial Court found the
defendant guilty of reckless discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm
without a FOID card. Defendant appealed.
|The Appellate Court, in reviewing the challenge to sufficiency
of the evidence to convict under the felony charge of “reckless discharge of a
firearm” reviewed the matter in light of the State Supreme Court’s decision in
People v. Collins, 214 Ill. 2d 206 ( 2005). The Supreme Court in
Collins found that the offense is two-pronged: First, the defendant
must have recklessly discharged a firearm, and second, he must
have endangered the bodily safety of another. [720 ILCS 5/24-1.5(a)].
“A person is reckless or acts recklessly, when he consciously disregards a
substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or that a result
will follow, described by the Statute defining the offense; and such disregard
constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable
person would exercise in that situation.” 720 ILCS 5/4-6.
|Following are highlights of the Court’s decision with some
omissions in the quoted text:
|“The reckless state of mind may be inferred from all the facts
and circumstances in the record. People v Barnham, 337 Ill. App.
1121 . . . (2003).
|“. . . The State need not prove that the defendant shot a gun
knowing that he may injure a particular person to show the defendant’s reckless
state of mind. People v. Thomas, 8 Ill. App. 3d 690 . . .(1972).
According to this Court’s research, analysis of the reckless state of mind, as
applied to the offense of reckless discharge of a firearm, is a matter of first
impression. Consequently, we look to cases analyzing the reckless state of
mind, as applied to other offenses, for analogous examples of reckless conduct.
[The Court here cited cases dealing with (a) pointing a gun at someone; (b)
driving while speeding and weaving between lanes, and (c) drawing a loaded gun
in a crowded tavern—all of which were held to be “a reckless act.” Also, the
Court took note of the defendant’s admission statement that he told the police
“I can’t believe I was that stupid” was tantamount to a confession of
“In this case, the stipulated evidence showed that the defendant consciously
disregarded the substantial and unjustifiable risk that the bullets he fired
into the air would endanger the bodily safety of others in a residential area.
Additionally, his disregard for the safety of others constituted a gross
deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in
a residential area.”
[The Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment convicting the defendant of
reckless discharge of a firearm.]
Dissent: In his dissent, Justice McDade states that the prosecution
failed to prove the mental state required under the two-pronged test, stating
in pertinent part:
“It appears from the opinion that the majority believes that his [defendant’s]
stipulation that he told the police “I can’t believe that I was that stupid,”
somehow equates to a confession of ‘recklessness’ I think his admission shows
that, in fact, there was nothing ‘conscious’ in his apparent disregard of a
“. . . The Legislature could have crafted a statute making any discharge
of a firearm in the air in a residential area a crime, but it chose not to do
so. Perhaps the legislators were concerned about the wholesale arrests that
would be occasioned by the overly exuberant celebrators of holidays such as the
New Year [ see Collins] the Fourth of July, and Memorial Day.
Arguably, firing a gun into the air in a residential area at any time is
inherently stupid. The legislators, however, whatever their rationale, chose to
include a more rigorous mental state—one necessitating ‘conscious disregard of
a substantial and unjustifiable risk.’ I do not think an admission of stupidity
satisfies that requirement and therefore respectfully dissent from the contrary
opinion of the majority.”
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