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People v. Jenkins

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1977.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

BILLY JENKINS, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Philip Fleischman, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DOOLEY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Billy Jenkins, was found guilty of attempted murder after a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County. He was sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of four to six years. That conviction was affirmed by the appellate court. (43 Ill. App.3d 831.) We granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal under our Rule 315 (58 Ill.2d R. 315). Defendant's conviction on two counts of aggravated battery was reversed by the appellate court and is not at issue here.

The question we decide is whether it was prejudicial error to give two issue instructions to the jury, each in direct conflict with the other, notwithstanding that one of these instructions was proper and that there was a failure to object to the improper instruction.

The central factual issue at the trial was whether the defendant was justified in using what force he did.

The following instructions were given, one at the request of the People and one at the request of defendant:

"A person commits the crime of murder who kills an individual if in performing the act which caused the death he intended to kill or to create great bodily harm to that individual or he knows that such act will cause death to that individual or he knows that such act creates a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual.

A person commits the crime of attempt who with intent to commit the crime of murder does any act which constitutes a substantial step towards the commission of the crime of murder.

The crime attempted need not have been committed, to sustain the charge of attempt the State must prove the following propositions: first that the defendant performed an act which constituted a substantial step towards the commission of the crime of murder and second that the defendant did so with intent to commit the crime of murder.

If you ladies and gentlemen find from your consideration of all of the evidence that each of these propositions has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then you should find the defendant guilty. And if, on the other hand, if you find from your consideration of all of the evidence that any of these propositions have not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty." (People's instruction.)

"A person is justified in the use of force when and to the extent that he reasonably believed that such conduct is necessary to defend himself against the imminent use of unlawful force.

However, a person is justified in the use of force — which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believed that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

To prove the charge of attempted murder, the State must prove the following: proposition first, that the defendant performed an act which constitutes a substantial step towards actually committing the crime of murder and second, that the defendant did so with intent to commit the crime of murder. And third, that the defendant was not justified in using the force which he used.

Again, if you find, from your consideration of all of the evidence that each of these propositions has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then ...


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