Can a Person Be Guilty of Vehicular Hijacking If the Victim Is Not In the Immediate Vicinity of the Car ?
In People v. Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d 839, 723 N.E.2d 784, 243 Ill. Dec. 481 (1999), as the victim left a mall entrance, preparing to make a bank deposit, she was jumped by the defendant. Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d at 842.
She dropped the deposit bag and ran for help.
The defendant caught up with her, stuck "something" in her back, and demanded her car keys.
The victim gave her keys to the defendant and then ran into the mall.
A short time later she returned to the parking lot and her car was gone. Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d at 842.
The defendant was convicted of vehicular hijacking, and argued on appeal that the State failed to prove him guilty of that offense, specifically, that the victim was in the "immediate presence" of the vehicle when it was taken. Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d at 846.
Noting that the case was one of first impression since no Illinois case had interpreted the term "immediate presence," the Cooksey court first looked to the legislative debates, finding they made it clear that the driver or passenger must be in the "immediate vicinity of the car" at the time it is taken to constitute "immediate presence." Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d at 848.
The Cooksey court concluded that the State failed to prove the defendant guilty of vehicular hijacking because the undisputed evidence showed that at no time did the victim approach her car, she was 25 feet away from it when the defendant first jumped her, and, when she ran, she fled away from the car, not towards it. Cooksey, 309 Ill. App. 3d at 848.