Second District Holds Prior Inconsistent Statement Inadmissible, but Harmless. Also Holds That Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Gang Member Is Constitutional.

In this case, the defendant was convicted of first degree murder through a theory of accountability, based (partially) on handing the gun to the shooter right before the killing. Gang evidence establishing the defendant was a Latin King was admitted for the purposes of motive.

The appellate court concluded that, although there was a prior statement improperly admitted at the trial without objection from defense counsel, because there were other reasons the defendant was accountable other than the handoff of the gun (which was the subject of the statement), the defendant could not establish either plain error or the ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

The appellate court also concluded that the statute permitting prosecution of possession of a gun by a gang member is constitutional.

The case is People v. Deontae Murray, 2017 IL App (2d) 150599.

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