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People v. Romaine





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. CHARLES P. CONNOR, Judge, presiding.


Defendant Anthony Romaine appeals from a conviction of armed robbery and, also on three counts of armed violence. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment of not less than six nor more than 15 years for armed robbery and to not less than one nor more than three years for each of the armed violence convictions. The sentences for robbery and armed violence were made concurrent terms of imprisonment but directed to be served consecutively to a sentence which defendant Anthony Romaine was already serving.

At the trial, the State's evidence established that on October 19, 1977, at approximately 3:45 p.m., the defendant entered the office of Robert Johnson, then the supervisor of the Joliet Community Correctional Center. While in Johnson's office, the defendant made a number of threatening statements while holding a baseball bat. Johnson testified that, although he detected the odor of alcohol on the defendant's breath, the defendant did not appear to be intoxicated. After several threats and threatening acts by the defendant, Johnson, believing he was going to be struck, grabbed the bat with one hand and pushed the defendant with his other hand. However, before he could open the office door, the defendant, wielding the bat, struck Johnson across the left shoulder. Nevertheless, Johnson made his escape.

Johnson's secretary, Karen Smith, testified that she had seen an unidentified resident of the correctional center enter Johnson's office and close the door. The next thing she remembered was hearing Johnson saying "No, no, don't do that." Then Johnson yelled out her name and ran out of the office, being chased by the defendant carrying a baseball bat. After they left, Smith closed the office door, mistakenly unlocking it in the process, and called the police. After reporting the incident, she received a call from Johnson. During this conversation, the defendant entered the office, accompanied by Gregory Allen, and ordered her to hang up the telephone. The defendant, still carrying the bat, demanded Smith's money and car keys. She complied. He also ordered her to accompany him, but as he was leading her outside, a counselor distracted the defendant, enabling Smith to escape.

Darrell McDaniel, a counselor at the correctional center, testified that upon hearing a loud scream and seeing someone run past his office, he entered the hallway where he observed the defendant with a baseball bat. He asked the defendant what was wrong, to which question the defendant replied, "Get out of my way," and struck McDaniel on the face and shoulder with the bat. After being struck, McDaniel exited the building and while outside observed the defendant come outside, look around momentarily as though he were looking for someone else, and then re-enter the building.

A short time later, the defendant again exited the building, this time accompanied by Smith. At this point, McDaniel attempted to persuade the defendant to leave Smith alone by saying, "You're getting yourself into more trouble, why don't you just leave her alone." To this defendant replied, "You're going to try to play hero," and walked toward McDaniel. Smith took this opportunity to run back inside the building, and McDaniel, in turn, backed away. The defendant headed for the parking lot.

Another State's witness, Gregory Allen, employed as a cook at the work release center on the date of the incident, testified that at approximately 4 p.m. the defendant came into the kitchen carrying a baseball bat and asked if Allen had a car. After Allen answered affirmatively, the defendant requested the keys. When informed that the keys were in Allen's coat in Johnson's office, the defendant stated, "Let's go get them." Starting down the stairs, the defendant struck Allen on the right arm and told him to move faster before the defendant "tore Allen's head off." Upon reaching Johnson's office, the defendant, addressing Smith, stated, "Didn't I tell you to stay off the telephone" and asked if Allen's coat was in the office. After Smith indicated that the coat was not in the office, the defendant demanded Smith's keys and money and left the building with her.

In the parking lot, the defendant was confronted by Robert Townsel, a parole officer. Townsel displayed his badge and ordered the defendant back into the work release center. The defendant asked if Townsel had anything other than the badge and, when the officer indicated he did not, stated, "Well, you can't stop me with a badge." The defendant then entered a Means Towel Service van which pulled into the parking lot. The driver of the van jumped out when the defendant gestured with his bat. Townsel, however, used his own vehicle to block the van's exit, and an Illinois State Trooper arrived a short time later.

Trooper Thatis Kemp testified that, when he arrived at the Joliet Correctional Center, he approached a crowd of people in the parking lot who were pointing at a blue delivery van and were indicating that the defendant was in the van and still had a baseball bat. Approaching the van, Kemp drew his pistol and ordered whoever was in the van to come out in such a manner as to allow the Trooper to see the person's hands. At this point, the defendant left the van. A subsequent search of the van turned up the baseball bat.

Later, as the defendant was sitting in the back of the squad car, he made statements to the effect that he should have killed Johnson as he intended, that he had a butcher knife, and that next time he saw Johnson he would kill him and that he would blow Johnson's head off. Defendant also said that his reasons for his actions were that he could not stand the pressures, that he wanted to go back inside. On cross-examination, Kemp acknowledged that he noticed a strong odor of alcohol around the defendant's person and indicated that he found no knife on defendant or in the van, but he further testified that during the time the defendant was in the squad car, the defendant was talking incessantly and that many of the things he said made no sense. Kemp also acknowledged that during the approximately 45 minutes that Kemp had an opportunity to observe defendant, defendant did not appear rational.

Johnson also indicated that he did not know what caused the defendant to act as he did and that he did not understand the defendant's behavior. Similarly, McDaniel testified that there appeared to be no reason for the defendant's actions which did not appear to McDaniel to be rational, which he explained to mean not normal.

In his defense, the defendant called Dr. Albert Henry Stipes and Gwendolyn Holloway, the defendant's sister, in an attempt to raise the affirmative defense of insanity. Dr. Stipes, a psychiatrist, testified that he had performed a psychiatric examination of the defendant and that, as a result of both that examination and other information, he was able to reach a diagnostic impression regarding the defendant. That diagnosis was in two parts: the first part being that defendant has an explosive personality, and the second part of the diagnosis was that it would require further study to rule out the possibility that the defendant was suffering from episodic discontrol syndrome.

Conceding there was no solid evidence to support his second diagnosis, this diagnosis was based on a 45-minute interview, from which Dr. Stipes obtained a history of the defendant and his present problem. Dr. Stipes also based his diagnosis on records of an examination of the defendant in 1969 by the Psychiatric Institute of the Cook County Circuit Court. Dr. Stipes indicated that he felt that an electroencephalogram (EEG) taken as part of that 1969 examination was partially relevant to his diagnosis, since it showed slowed brain activity (low brain electrical voltage) which usually indicates some type of brain damage. Also relevant to Dr. Stipes diagnosis was a report by Dr. Soporin, the doctor who examined the defendant in 1969, which indicated that defendant had evidence of brain damage in a convulsive disorder, i.e., epilepsy.

From the defendant's personal history, Dr. Stipes found particularly important defendant's history of sudden outbursts of violence for no apparent reason, which were usually preceded by severe headaches for a period of several hours prior to the episode. After an episode, defendant would sleep for a long period of time. ...

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