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People v. Taylor





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. HAROLD L. JENSEN, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, William Otis Taylor, was charged by information with escape from the Champaign County jail on August 5, 1977. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 31-6.) Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty and, thereafter, sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 to 6 years. This sentence was to run consecutively to defendant's other sentences for four previous convictions.

At the trial, defendant did not dispute the State's evidence that he was one of two individuals who escaped from the Champaign County jail during the early morning of August 5, 1977.

Kenneth L. Roderick, a civilian jailer, testified for the State that he had discovered defendant and Eugene Taliaferro missing from their cell in the infirmary of the jail at about 4 a.m. Roderick had periodically checked the defendant and Taliaferro during the course of the night and had not noticed anything unusual through his 3 a.m. check.

John W. Ennis, an Illinois State police officer, apprehended the defendant and another man as they were walking on the shoulder of Interstate Highway 57 at about 6:30 a.m. on August 5. The defendant identified himself to Ennis as William James. The two men then fled from Ennis and he followed and apprehended them. Ennis testified that in his opinion the defendant was not under the influence of drugs at the time of his arrest. On cross-examination, however, Ennis admitted that most of his experience with intoxicated persons had involved individuals under the influence of alcohol rather than drugs.

Defendant, testifying in his own behalf, stated that he occasionally saved Dalmane and Valium tablets prescribed and given to him at the jail. These two drugs were among those which had been prescribed for the defendant while in jail. According to the defendant, on August 4, 1977, he took four Valium tablets and one Dalmane tablet, in addition to four Elavil tablets given to him by Taliaferro. He and Taliaferro also "snorted" an unknown drug out of a capsule. Defendant denied that he intended to escape or that he had discussed an escape earlier that night with Taliaferro. He recalled only being in his cell that night and later being in the cell in which he was placed following his apprehension.

On cross-examination, defendant admitted that David Graham had entered his and Taliaferro's cell on the night in question. Graham left when the defendant told him he and Taliaferro were having a private conversation. Graham, however, during direct examination admitted that he had not overheard the two men's conversation. Graham also testified that he observed the defendant and Taliaferro sniffing Valium. He stated that he was certain the defendant was under the influence of drugs because defendant, contrary to his normal character, was alert and hyperactive.

Two witnesses testified to the effect upon an individual from a dosage of drugs similar to that purportedly taken by defendant on the night in question. Daniel Pugh, a physician, specializing in psychiatry, testified that the most likely effect upon an individual from such a dosage would be sleepiness or drowsiness. He further stated, however, that a person "might conceivably become frightened or inappropriate in their behavior and they might not remember what happened after they recovered from the intoxication." Pugh described this reaction as "acute brain syndrome," a temporary illness which could cause, in addition to intoxication, memory impairment and disorientation, fearfulness, hallucinations, and unpredictable emotions. Such an individual also might be rendered incapable of making plans or forming specific thoughts and executing them.

Questioned as to the facts of the present case, Pugh testified that although defendant's actions could be consistent with acute brain syndrome the more probable reaction would be drowsiness. He further testified that given the circumstances involving the defendant there was only a 5- to 10-percent chance that defendant's actions were caused by acute brain syndrome.

Detlef Bieger, a professor of pharmacology, testified that an individual ingesting the combination of drugs allegedly taken by the defendant could develop organic brain syndrome, which would be characterized by the individual becoming completely confused and disoriented. He testified that one so afflicted could suffer from amnesia and would not have the capacity to be cognizant of what he was doing.

Defendant initially contends that the trial court improperly instructed the jury concerning his defense that his voluntary intoxication rendered him incapable of forming the requisite intent to commit the crime. The court refused defendant's Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction, Criminal, No. 24.02 (1968) (hereinafter cited as IPI Criminal) and instead gave the State's non-IPI Criminal instruction. This instruction provided:

"[A] voluntarily induced drugged condition is not an excuse for commission of a crime. If you believe from the evidence that the defendant became drugged and while in a drugged condition escaped * * * as charged in the information, his drugged condition would be no excuse for his unlawful act, unless you further believe * * * that his drugged condition was such that at the time such act was committed the defendant was wholly incapable of forming an intent to escape and had not formed such intent prior to his becoming drugged."

Supreme Court Rule 451 (a) mandates the use of IPI Criminal instructions, unless the court determines that they do not state the law. (58 Ill.2d R. 451(a).) In this case, the State concedes that the proffered IPI instruction clearly stated the law. The trial court did not find otherwise.

The State, however, first seeks to justify the use of this instruction by relying on the case of People v. Dolatowski (1968), 94 Ill. App.2d 434, 237 N.E.2d 553. The instruction in Dolatowski was identical to the one in the instant case except that it contained the qualification that the defendant's voluntary intoxication should be established "beyond a reasonable doubt." We note, however, that inasmuch as the court reversed the defendant's conviction in Dolatowski, its implicit approval of the instruction as otherwise given was merely dicta. Further, the intoxication statute upon which the Dolatowski instruction was based did not read as does the present section. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 6-3.) Finally, the Dolatowski decision preceded ...

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