May 15, 2008
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the Circuit Court
) of Cook County, Illinois.
v. ) No. 04 CR 21087
WILLIE McLAURIN, ))
Honorable James M. Schreier,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the opinion of the court:
After a jury trial, the defendant, Willie McLaurin, was convicted of aggravated unlawful use
of a weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A)(West 2004)) and unlawful use of a weapon by a
felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2004)), and he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. On
appeal, he contends (1) that his constitutional and statutory right to be present at his trial was
violated when, without his consent or knowledge, he was excluded from discussions of the jury’s
five notes that were sent to the trial judge during the jury’s deliberations; and (2) that he was denied
his due process right to a fair trial by an impartial jury when the trial court permitted the sheriff to
have an ex parte discussion with the deadlocked jury.
McLaurin was charged in an information with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (720
ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) (West 2004)) and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS
5/24-1.1(a) (West 2004)). His prior felony conviction was predicated upon a federal bank robbery