People v. Degorski

Illinois Appellate Court
Criminal Court
Fair Trial
Case Number: 
2013 IL App (1st) 100580
Decision Date: 
Thursday, October 17, 2013
1st Dist.
Cook Co., 4th Div.
A Defendant convicted in 1993 shooting deaths at Palatine restaurant alleged he was denied a fair trial because former ASA testified that he was now a judge and believed that Defendant's confession was reliable; and because court admitted video showing police removing bodies of several victims from walk-in freezer. Former ASA's comment, "Defendant's statement to me was reliable" was brief, was not a present opinion of Defendant's guilt, and was not elicited by State to prejudice Defendant, and thus not grounds for mistrial. Video was properly admitted as relevant to rebut Defendant's claim that shoe prints were not those of the officer who removed victims' bodies. Video had considerable probative value as to both parties' theories at trial and was not cumulative; and prejudicial effect did not substantially outweigh probative values. (FITZGERALD SMITH and LAVIN, concurring.)