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People v. Smith

APRIL 3, 1975.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

MAXINE SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. GEORGE P. COUTRAKON, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE SIMKINS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant-appellant Maxine Smith was tried before a jury for the murder of one Frank Nelson. She was convicted and sentenced to a term of 20 to 60 years.

Defendant contends that the evidence fails to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that she possessed the requisite mental state necessary to sustain the conviction. Section 9-1(a)(1), (2), of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 9-1) provides in pertinent part:

"(a) A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death:

(1) He * * * intends * * * to do great bodily harm to that individual * * *; or

(2) He knows that such acts create a strong probability of death * * * to that individual * * *."

Count I of the indictment charged that defendant shot Nelson with a gun "* * * knowing that such an act created a strong probability of death" to Nelson. Count II charged that the defendant shot Nelson and that she "* * * intended thereby to do great bodily harm to said Frank Nelson."

Sections 4-4 and 4-5 of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, pars. 4-4, 4-5) define the mental states which are incorporated into the above quoted sections of the statute and provide:

"§ 4-4. Intent. A person intends, or acts intentionally or with intent, to accomplish a result or engage in conduct described by the statute defining the offense, when his conscious objective or purpose is to accomplish that result or engage in that conduct.

§ 4-5. Knowledge. A person knows, or acts knowingly or with knowledge of:

(a) The nature or attendant circumstances of his conduct, described by the statute defining the offense, when he is consciously aware that his conduct is of such nature or that such circumstances exist. Knowledge of a material fact includes awareness of the substantial probability that such fact exists.

(b) The result of his conduct, described by the statute defining the offense, when he is consciously aware that such result is practically certain to be caused by his conduct.

Conduct performed knowingly or with knowledge is performed wilfully, within the meaning of a statute using the latter term, unless the statute clearly requires another meaning."

Section 6-3(a) of the Criminal Code provides for an affirmative defense to a crime, which includes as an element of the offense charged one of the mental states above defined, in the following language:

§ 6-3. Intoxicated or Drugged Condition. A person who is in an intoxicated or drugged condition is criminally responsible for ...


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