Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed December 19, 2013

 

 

 

People v. Brown, 2013 IL 114196

 

Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 101391-U

 

      JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Chief Justice Garman and Justices Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

      Justice Thomas specially concurred, with opinion, joined by Justice Kilbride.

 

      In 2006, Tiffany Brown, then a Chicago policewoman, entered the Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union and presented for deposit a $1 million check made out to her which was purportedly drawn by Six Flags Great America on a JP Morgan Chase bank account. She endorsed it in her own name.

      The check was counterfeit and did not make it through the clearing system. The defendant was charged with several offenses and, at her Cook County bench trial, testified that her mother had given her the check and had told her that it was the result of the defendant’s sister’s settlement of a lawsuit which was being passed on, in part, to the defendant. The sister already had a forgery conviction.

      After having been given two years of probation and fifty hours of community service by the circuit court, the defendant emerged from the appellate court with convictions for attempted theft by delivering the counterfeit check and for forgery by making the check. Only the latter conviction is challenged in this appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

      In this decision, the supreme court said that the defendant could not be found guilty of “making” the check. She had argued that she did not “make” the check when all she did was endorse it in her own name. With this proposition, the supreme court agreed, noting that, because the check was counterfeit, forgery by “making” was statutorily complete when the check was created, regardless of endorsement. In addition, on the question of evidentiary sufficiency, evidence that the defendant actually made the check is wholly absent from the record.

      The conviction for forgery by making the check was reversed, but the conviction for attempted theft by delivering the check still stands, and the sentencing order was modified to reflect that it is the sole remaining conviction.