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People v. Smothers

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 1, 1973.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

JEWELL RICHARD SMOTHERS, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. RODNEY SCOTT, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In a jury trial in the circuit court of Macon County, defendant, Jewell Richard Smothers, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a term of not less than 100 nor more than 150 years in the penitentiary. The appellate court affirmed (2 Ill. App.3d 513), and we granted leave to appeal. The evidence is set forth in detail in the opinion of the appellate court and will be reviewed here only to the extent necessary to the discussion of the issues. The homicide out of which the case arose was committed in a visitor's lounge in Decatur Memorial Hospital. At the time of the occurrence defendant was a patient in the hospital and the deceased, Leonard Ray Arnett, was there for the purpose of visiting his father-in-law, also confined as a patient.

Defendant contends first that the trial court committed reversible error in refusing to give his tendered instructions on the issue of insanity (I.P.I. — Criminal, Nos. 24.01 and 25.01) and in refusing to submit to the jury two tendered forms of verdict (I.P.I. — Criminal, Nos. 26.03 and 26.04). He argues that there was sufficient evidence of insanity to submit the issue to the jury. It is the position of the People that although the record contains evidence of irrational and bizarre behavior on the part of the defendant at the time of the commission of the offense, the evidence of irrational behavior, standing alone, did not raise the affirmative defense of insanity, and that in the absence of expert opinion testimony "offering affirmative evidence of legal insanity as defined by statute" the circuit court correctly refused to submit the issue to the jury.

The Criminal Code of 1961, in pertinent part, provides:

"6-2. Insanity.

(a) A person is not criminally responsible for conduct if at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or mental defect, he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law.

(b) The terms `mental disease or mental defect' do not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise anti-social conduct." Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 38, par. 6-2.

"6-4. Affirmative Defense. A defense based upon any of the provisions of Article 6 is an affirmative defense." Ch. 38, par. 6-4.

"3-2. Affirmative Defense.

(a) `Affirmative defense' means that unless the State's evidence raises the issue involving the alleged defense, the defendant, to raise the issue, must present some evidence thereon.

(b) If the issue involved in an affirmative defense is raised then the State must sustain the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as to that issue together with all the other elements of the offense." Ill. Rev. Stat., 1972 Supp., ch. 38, par. 3-2.

Although not directly involved in this case, we note that the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1972 Supp., ch. 38, par. 1001-1-1 et seq.) provides in section 5-1-11 (par. 1005-1-11) that "`Insanity' means the lack of a substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of one's conduct or to conform one's conduct to the requirements of the law as a result of mental disorder or mental defect."

This court has held that all men are presumed to be sane and that, in order to present the issue of the accused's insanity, the evidence must raise a reasonable doubt of his sanity at the time of the commission of the offense. (People v. Robinson, 22 Ill.2d 162; People v. Patlak, 363 Ill. 40.) Our earlier cases have permitted lay testimony, including the expression of opinions, concerning a defendant's insanity. (People v. Patlak, 363 Ill. 40; People v. Krauser, 315 Ill. 485; Jamison v. People, 145 Ill. 357.) In People v. Childs, 51 Ill.2d 247, we held that expert testimony was not required to raise the issue of sanity, and upon examination of the authorities cited by the parties, and those collected at 17 A.L.R.3d 146, we adhere to that position.

The People, citing People v. Patlak, 363 Ill. 40, and People v. Matter, 371 Ill. 333, argue that although these cases held that opinion testimony by a non-expert witness who had observed sufficient facts upon which such an opinion could be based was sufficient to raise the question of the accused's sanity, that here the issue was not sufficiently raised for the reason that no witness who described defendant's conduct and activities expressed an opinion that he was insane. It is clear from a reading of the cases in which the introduction of the opinion testimony of non-expert witnesses was approved that the admissibility of the opinion testimony depended upon the facts observed and testified to, and that such testimony was admitted only to the extent that it was based upon those facts which the witness had observed, and to which he had testified. We do not agree ...


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