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People v. Ward





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Saul Epton, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County defendant, Fred J. Ward, was convicted of murder and sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of 14 to 22 years. The appellate court affirmed (People v. Ward (1974), 19 Ill. App.3d 833), and we granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal. Defendant contends that a medical report concluding that he was sane at the time of the offense was improperly admitted into evidence, thereby depriving him of his right to confront the doctor who compiled the report, and that his sanity at the time of the offense was not established beyond a reasonable doubt.

While defendant testified on his own behalf at trial that he did not commit the crime and was not even present, no contention is now raised concerning the sufficiency of the evidence that indicates his involvement. Therefore only a brief recitation of facts relating to the crime is necessary.

On March 18, 1970, at about 3 p.m., Otis Diggins and Cornelius Wright left Forrestville High School and were walking on 44th Street between Vincennes Avenue and King Drive in Chicago. They saw defendant engaged in an altercation with another youth. When the fight ended, defendant approached them carrying a 1-by-4 club which he had picked up. Defendant asked Diggins if the latter was a member of the "P Stone," and when Diggins said he was not, defendant tried to hit him, but Diggins pushed defendant's arm. Wright, however, was struck on the hand by the club. Defendant then proceeded to hit another youth. He subsequently crossed the street and assaulted others. Finally, he approached the 14-year-old victim, Thomas Brown, who was standing with a girl. Defendant struck the victim, knocking him to the ground, and he hit the victim several more times. By stipulation it was established that the victim died from a traumatic cerebral laceration.

In response to the State's motion for pretrial discovery pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 413 (50 Ill.2d R. 413), defendant alleged alternative theories that he did not commit the offense; and that, if he did commit the offense, he was insane at the time.

To support his defense of insanity defendant's mother testified. She related the childhood history of defendant stating that he was subject to seizures when he was very young which caused him to foam at the mouth. These seizures occurred twice a month and lasted 2 or 3 minutes. She said that the last convulsion he experienced of which she was aware occurred in 1963.

In 1953 when defendant was 4 years old his grandfather died and defendant's mother said that defendant would leave home in an attempt to find him. His mother described him as a "loner" who did not communicate with his family. He also was "ditching" school, and he never had a job. She further detailed his involvement with juvenile authorities which apparently resulted in his being placed in custody for several months in 1963 and later for 3 1/2 years in a facility at Chester, Illinois, until his release in 1967. During this latter period she claimed that she was informed defendant received "treatment for his nerves" which included "electric shock" and that defendant had suffered a nervous breakdown. Her testimony also established that defendant had completed eighth grade.

Dr. S. Jeffrey Garfield, a qualified clinical psychologist, was called by defendant. He had interviewed defendant for 1 hour in June, 1970, at the county jail, in order to form an opinion as to defendant's emotional condition and intellectual capacity. He described defendant as a mistrustful person, experiencing anxiety, who did not understand the reason for his being in custody. Dr. Garfield administered the verbal portion of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and he concluded that defendant had an I.Q. of 69, which would place him in the lower 1% of the population.

Dr. Garfield was of the opinion that defendant was a chronic paranoid schizophrenic. He defined a schizophrenic as an "individual who is completely unable to relate to reality and to people around him. He lives in a fictional world dealing with fictional issues." He was further of the opinion that defendant could not manage his affairs with ordinary prudence. This witness also equated the term "feeblemindedness" to one who would be considered mentally defective. His prognosis for treatment of defendant was unfavorable due to defendant's inability to enter into a therapeutic relationship because of his mental insufficiency.

Based on factors previously described, Dr. Garfield said that defendant lacked a basis to evaluate between right and wrong. In response to a hypothetical question concerning the commission of the crime, he described the actions of the killer as those of a psychotic.

On cross-examination Dr. Garfield testified that he was able to diagnose any psychological problem within 1 hour. He explained that he did not administer the Rorschach or Thematic Apperception tests because their validity had not been established. He said that the verbal test he administered to defendant was standardized and that the socio-economic background or racial heritage of the individual taking the examination would not vary the result because, as he stated, error cannot occur in a standardized intelligence test. The record then reflects that Dr. Garfield apparently expressed a conflicting opinion when he said people of different backgrounds "score differently on different kinds of tests" including the Wechsler examination.

Dr. Garfield conceded that he had not examined certain medical records pertaining to defendant, and he classified defendant's I.Q. as within that category of an educable mentally handicapped (E.M.H.) individual. He further said that a test score could vary depending on the subjective determination of the party administering the test and the atmosphere under which it was administered but that the variation would be insignificant. Finally, he reiterated his diagnosis that defendant was schizophrenic as well as mentally deficient.

In rebuttal the State called Dr. Edward J. Kelleher, a psychiatrist and the director of the Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County. This witness was a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and the defense stipulated to his expertise.

On September 22, 1971, Dr. Kelleher had conducted a study of defendant's condition for 3 to 4 hours in order to determine his competency to stand trial. He was aware of defendant's prior epileptic seizures from information he obtained from a report given to a social worker by defendant's mother. He therefore supervised the administration of an electroencephalogram for defendant which failed to disclose any organic brain damage. A superficial neurological examination was also conducted, and it did not indicate any serious nervous disorder. On cross-examination he said that a pneumoencephalogram, requiring an injection of air into the central nervous system, was not given because this test had to be ...

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