Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed November 18, 2010
No. 109259 People v. Zimmerman
Appellate citation: 394 Ill. App. 3d 124.
JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
In the circuit court of Peoria County, this defendant was charged by information, and later by indictment, with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, for both of which the jury convicted him. The incident in question had occurred in 2007, when he shot a firearm in the direction of two individuals.
Zimmerman, as a minor, had previously been adjudicated delinquent for unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle, an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult. Defense counsel stipulated to this. The court told the jurors that the defendant had a delinquency adjudication, without identifying its name or nature, and also told them that, if the defendant had been an adult, that offense would have been a felony. The defendant was advised that what was stipulated to did not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jury was informed by instruction that a delinquency adjudication for what would be a felony if committed by an adult was one of the possible elements of the offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon
On appeal, the defendant complained that his delinquency adjudication was not an element of the offense, but should only serve as a sentence enhancement. Therefore, he theorized, the jury should not have been informed in the manner in which it was. The appellate court reversed.
In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the appellate court’s view. The supreme court held that statute indicates that a delinquency adjudication for what would be a felony for an adult is indeed a possible element of the offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. There was no trial error. The circuit court’s conviction of the defendant was affirmed, and the appellate court was reversed.