Ill. App. 3d 106, 110 (2008). “Such questioning of the potential jurors is no longer dependent
upon a request by defense counsel.” Gilbert, 379 Ill. App. 3d at 110.
Defendant was tried in 2006, before the effective date of the 2007 amendment. He
contends that this court should apply this amendment retroactively.
The first step of the retroactivity analysis is “to determine whether the legislature has
clearly indicated the temporal reach of the amended statute.” People v. Atkins, 217 Ill. 2d 66, 71
(2005). The amendment to Rule 431(b) that imposed the sua sponte duty on the trial court to
question each potential juror as to the Zehr principles was adopted on March 21, 2007, and had
an effective date of May 1, 2007. In Gilbert, we held that by “delaying its implementation, the
supreme court expressed the intent that the amended rule would apply prospectively only.”
Gilbert, 379 Ill. App. 3d at 111. Therefore, the trial court’s “sua sponte duty to question each
potential juror regarding his understanding and acceptance of the Zehr principles applies only to
voir dire conducted on or after the amended rule’s effective date of May 1, 2007; it does not
apply retroactively to voir dire conducted prior to May 1, 2007.” Gilbert, 379 Ill. App. 3d at 111.
In People v. Yarbor, 383 Ill. App. 3d 676 (2008), we agreed with Gilbert and noted that if the
current Rule 431(b) were applied retroactively, “then all pending direct appeals from a jury trial
would be subject to reversal and a new trial. We presume that the supreme court did not intend
such an application.” Yarbor, 383 Ill. App. 3d at 684.
At the time of defendant’s trial, the trial court was required to ask each potential juror
about the four Zehr principles “[i]f requested by the defendant.” 177 Ill. 2d R. 431(b); Williams,
368 Ill. App. 3d at 623. Defendant’s attorneys did not make a request for Zehr questioning.
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