Is An Error Harmless If It Does Not Significantly Influence the Outcome of the Trial ?

In People v. Warlick, 302 Ill. App. 3d 595, 236 Ill. Dec. 369, 707 N.E.2d 214 (1998), the trial judge allowed the police officer to testify that he received a radio call of a burglary in progress and proceeded to investigate. The defendant was charged and convicted of burglary. The appellate court found error in the admission of the radio call because it served no relevant purpose to help the jury decide the issues of the case. The court explained, "there was no issue concerning the officers' reason or motive for going to the recycling center. It simply did not matter. It would have been enough for the officer to testify he received a radio message, then went to the recycling center." Warlick, 302 Ill. App. 3d at 600. However, the court in Warlick, based on the facts of the case, found the error harmless as it did not significantly influence the outcome of the trial.