People v. Roman

2022 IL App (1st) 201173 No. 1-20-1173 Opinion filed July 25, 2022 First Division ___________________________________________________________________________ IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIRST DISTRICT ___________________________________________________________________________ ) THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the Circuit Court ) of Cook County. Plaintiff-Appellee, ) ) No. 08 CR 3180(02) v. ) ) The Honorable MARTIN ROMAN, ) James B. Linn, ) Judge, presiding. Defendant-Appellant. ) PRESIDING JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pucinski and Walker concurred in the judgment and opinion. OPINION ¶1 A jury found Martin Roman guilty of first degree murder for his participation in the beating death of Francisco Reyes. The trial court sentenced him to 32 years in prison. On direct appeal, this court reversed his conviction and remanded for retrial because the trial court erroneously allowed the State to introduce prejudicial gang evidence. See People v. Roman, 2013 IL App (1st) 110882. On remand, Roman pled guilty, and the trial court sentenced him to 24 years in prison. Roman did not appeal. No. 1-20-1173 ¶2 Roman filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief, contending his remand counsel was ineffective for misstating the sentence he could face following a retrial. In addition, Roman claimed his remand counsel threatened to quit if Roman chose to go to trial instead of accepting a plea. The trial court dismissed his petition at the first stage. We find that the petition makes an arguable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, we reverse the first-stage dismissal of Roman’s postconviction petition and remand for second-stage proceedings consistent with the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-1 et seq. (West 2020)). ¶3 Background ¶4 The decision in Roman’s direct appeal sets out the details of the offense and the case history. See Roman, 2013 IL App (1st) 110882. We reiterate the facts necessary to understand the claims in Roman’s postconviction appeal. ¶5 In the early morning of December 24, 2007, a group of men beat and killed Francisco Reyes in the parking lot of a tortilla factory. The State charged Martin Roman and five other neighborhood men—Daniel Roman, Carlos Lopez, Ismael Morales, Omar Morales, and Adolfo Zuniga—with first degree murder and robbery. (All references to “Roman” refer to Martin Roman; we identify Daniel Roman by his first and last name.) ¶6 Roman and Zuniga were tried together after their codefendants’ convictions. At trial, the State primarily relied on the testimony of three eyewitnesses—Sylvia Ortiz, Fernando Garcia, and Juliana Flores. They all saw the murder from the apartment building across the street. Ortiz and Garcia lived with their son on the second floor. They watched the crime from separate windows facing the parking lot. Flores was with her boyfriend, who lived downstairs from Ortiz and Garcia. She also watched the beating from a window. -2- No. 1-20-1173 ¶7 Ortiz and Garcia heard a voice outside that they recognized as Daniel Roman’s. Ortiz overheard Daniel Roman speaking on a cellphone and asking the person to come over and …

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