Peo. v. Heller

People v. Alan Heller, 2017 IL App (4th) 140658 (January 13, 2017)
REASONABLE DOUBT The Fourth District found that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of domestic battery. The jury reasonably believed the victim’s statements made on the night of the incident and during a police interview, despite her recantation in trial testimony.
OTHER-CRIMES EVIDENCE The Fourth District concluded that the trial court properly admitted evidence of another domestic battery under 725 ILCS 5/115-7.4, which pertains to domestic violence cases. The prior offense was substantially similar to the present case. Defendant had attacked his romantic partners in their respective homes, positioned himself on top
of them, struck at the face, and did so in reaction to the prospect of another person being involved.
The Fourth District also addressed the nature and extent of the evidence admitted about the other
crime, as well as the prosecutor’s ability to refer to the subject during opening statement and closing
arguments.
JURY INSTRUCTIONS The Fourth District found that the trial court gave an erroneous limiting instruction concerning the section 115-7.4 other-crimes evidence, which referred to issues of factual similarity and proximity in time. Those matters were considerations of the trial court when admitting the evidence. The instruction should have directed the jury to consider the evidence on the issue of propensity. However, the defense affirmatively acquiesced to the error, and the record was not sufficient to adjudicate defendant’s claim that his counsel was ineffective for agreeing to the
erroneous limiting instruction.