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Lack of Asportation Moves Appeals Court on Kidnap Charge

The state’s failure to show evidence that a convicted robber intended to confine a clerk and her child when he knocked over a Chicago currency exchange in 2013 will see the man re-sentenced. This after an appeals court overturned a kidnapping conviction against Joel West rendered by a judge in Cook County Circuit Court. For good measure, the panel from the 1st District also found favor with West’s contention that the Judge Dennis Porter acted arbitrarily in justifying the application of an armed violence charge that added time to the 47-year stint due to the size of the knife West used the attempt.

Cops caught West not far from the booth after Gloria Cruz had prevented him from getting at the cashbox. He bundled the woman and her school-age son into a locked room after bursting through the roof, leading to the kidnapping charge. However, the appeals court cited out-of-state precedent in ruling that their confinement lasted only for the duration of the encounter, agreeing with West that the state has failed to prove the asportation element necessary to make the kidnapping charge stick. The panels split on the armed violence charge, with the majority ruling Porter’s declaration on the length of the blade invalid because no measure was entered into the record.