People v. Boston

2018 IL App (1st) 140369 FOURTH DIVISION December 31, 2018 No. 1-14-0369 ) Appeal from the THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Circuit Court of ) Cook County Plaintiff-Appellee, ) ) v. ) No. 06 C6 60650 ) SYLVESTER BOSTON, ) ) Honorable Defendant-Appellant. ) Charles P. Burns, ) Judge Presiding. JUSTICE REYES delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Gordon specially concurred, with opinion. Justice Lampkin dissented, with opinion. OPINION ¶1 Following a jury trial, defendant Sylvester Boston was convicted of first degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of Steven Moore, Sr. (Moore) and sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends (1) the admission of preliminary hearing testimony of a key eyewitness violated the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. VI) and the Illinois Rules of Evidence, (2) the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce defendant’s prior conviction for possession of contraband in a penal institution, (3) the State’s improper comments on defendant’s postarrest silence warrant a new trial, (4) defendant was denied his right to a properly instructed jury where 1-14-0369 the court failed to clarify Illinois law on self-defense in response to a jury note, (5) defendant’s right to a unanimous jury verdict was violated where a juror expressly dissented during the polling of the jury, and (6) defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve certain issues for appellate review. ¶2 This court initially filed an opinion affirming defendant’s conviction. Thereafter, defendant filed a petition for rehearing, arguing that we misapprehended the law when considering the jury polling issue. This court granted the petition, vacated the previous opinion, and requested supplemental briefing from the parties not only in regards to the jury polling issue but also in regard to the alleged prosecutorial misconduct. The parties filed supplemental briefs addressing both issues. Upon review and consideration of those briefs, we continue to affirm the judgment of the circuit court in its entirety. ¶3 BACKGROUND ¶4 Pretrial Matters ¶5 During a preliminary hearing on June 29, 2006, the State called Grace Sharp, Moore’s mother, who testified as follows. On June 24, 2006, she was in her residence on the 14500 block of University Avenue in Dolton with defendant and Moore. Defendant was a friend of Steven Moore, Jr. (Steven), Sharp’s grandson and Moore’s son. Sharp had known defendant since he was a teenager. Defendant had asked to stay with Sharp for a “couple of days” prior to commencing Job Corps. He stayed in an upstairs bedroom in her raised ranch, and 51-year-old Moore lived in the basement. ¶6 On the day of the incident, Sharp did not hear any “words of conflict” between Moore and defendant. According to Sharp, “[t]hey were just talking about the job corp [sic] and things like that.” In the early evening hours, she heard a “ruffling, scuffling noise” coming from the 2 1-14-0369 basement “as if kids were wrestling or playing or something.” ...

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