Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed February 22, 2013
People v. Rivera, 2013 IL 112467
Appellate citation: 409 Ill. App. 3d 122.
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.
A Cook County jury convicted this defendant of three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, three counts of criminal sexual assault, five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and one count of possession of child pornography.
When he was in pretrial custody and before he was charged, defendant said he wanted to talk about what happened but that he also wanted guarantees. He wanted to get probation and did not want to go to jail. The officers doing the interrogating told him that they could not give him any guarantees. All of this was admitted at trial. The State argued at closing that these conversations were inculpatory as admissions of guilt. The events at issue involved a three-year period between 2002 and 2004, and the victims were his 11-year-old stepdaughter and her 13-year-old friend. The young victims testified at trial, and the defendant also testified, denying what they had to say. He received a 75-year term.
The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding plain error in the improper admittance of plea-related statements at trial, even though Rivera had not previously raised this objection. The State appealed, claiming that the statements were not plea-related and, thus, were admissible.
In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court said that, for statements to be inadmissible as made in plea negotiations, it must be clear that an accused actually intended to plead guilty in exchange for a concession by the State and that such an intention is objectively reasonable under the circumstances. Here, the supreme court said that Rivera’s intent to engage in plea negotiations was not shown. It was not evident that he was actually offering to plead guilty to any crimes, and he was informed several times that he would not be offered anything in exchange for his statements. The supreme court found no plain error and remanded the cause to the appellate court for consideration of the other issues raised by the defendant which that court had not reached.