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People v. Bradford

Supreme Court of Illinois

March 24, 2016, Opinion Filed

(Docket No. 118674)


 [*P1]  [**1113]  [****631]   Following a bench trial, the circuit court of McLean County convicted the defendant, Jesse Bradford, of burglary and sentenced him to three years in prison. On appeal, defendant contended the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he remained within a store without authority and with the intent to commit a theft therein, within the meaning of the burglary statute. See 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2012). The appellate court rejected this contention and affirmed defendant's conviction. 2014 IL App (4th) 130288, 386 Ill. Dec. 834, 21 N.E.3d 753.

 [*P2]  Defendant filed a petition for leave to appeal, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules 315 and 612 (Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2013); R. 612 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013)), which we granted. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgments of the appellate and circuit courts.


 [*P4]  Defendant was charged by indictment with one count of burglary by "knowingly and without authority remain[ing]  [**1114]   [****632]  within the building of Walmart, with the intent to commit therein a felony or a theft," in violation of section 19-1(a) of the Criminal Code of 2012 (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2012)).

 [*P5]  At defendant's bench trial, the State presented [***2]  the testimony of Stephen Norton, an asset protection associate at a Walmart store in Bloomington, Illinois. On July 19, 2012, Norton observed defendant enter the Walmart during the store's regular business hours. Norton recognized defendant and continued to observe all of his movements and activities inside the store. At all times, defendant stayed in areas of the store which were open to the public.

 [*P6]  Defendant first picked up two DVDs from a store display near the cash registers. He then brought the DVDs to the customer service desk and conducted a "no-receipt" return in exchange for a Walmart gift card. Next, defendant went to the men's apparel department, where he picked up a hat, removed the price tag, and put it on. Defendant then went to the shoe department and picked up a pair of shoes. He placed the shoes in a Walmart bag which he produced from his pocket. Defendant proceeded to the cash registers, where he joined a male individual who had accompanied him to the store. Defendant paid for his friend's merchandise using the same gift card he had received in exchange for the DVDs. He did not attempt to pay for the hat or the shoes. When defendant and his friend left the store, [***3]  Norton and his partner approached them and identified themselves. Defendant refused to speak and kept walking, while the friend ran in another direction. Norton called the Bloomington police department and followed defendant on foot until the police arrived.

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2016 IL 118674 *; 50 N.E.3d 1112 **; 2016 Ill. LEXIS 278 ***; 401 Ill. Dec. 630 ****


Prior History: People v. Bradford, 2014 IL App (4th) 130288, 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 812, 386 Ill. Dec. 834, 21 N.E.3d 753 (2014)

Disposition: Judgments reversed.


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Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, Substantial Evidence, Sufficiency of Evidence, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Juries & Jurors, Province of Court & Jury, Credibility of Witnesses, Weight & Sufficiency, Weight of Evidence, Burglary & Criminal Trespass, Burglary, Elements, Criminal Offenses, Classification of Offenses, Felonies, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, De Novo Review, Conclusions of Law, Acts & Mental States, Mens Rea, Specific Intent, Theft & Related Offenses, Larceny & Theft, Burglary, Classification of Offenses, Sentencing, Ranges, Larceny & Theft