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People v. Banks





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


Following a trial by jury in the circuit court of Will County, the defendant, Archie Banks, was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 12-4(a), (b) (6)). He was subsequently sentenced to the Department of Corrections on one count for a term of three years. On appeal from his conviction, the defendant raises two issues for our consideration: First, did the trial court err in finding that there existed no bona fide doubt of the defendant's fitness to stand trial; and second, assuming that the trial court did not so err, did it nonetheless commit reversible error in refusing to grant defendant's pretrial request for a psychiatric examination. We do not believe either of these issues has merit, and accordingly affirm the defendant's conviction.

The incident giving rise to the information charging defendant with two counts of aggravated battery occurred on July 4, 1979. On that date the defendant, an inmate at Stateville Penitentiary serving concurrent five- to 15-year sentences for burglary, aggravated battery and attempt (rape), struck correctional officer Earl Jones several times about his face with his fists. As a result of the attack, Jones suffered internal damage to his right eye, two broken teeth, loosened teeth, and a broken partial denture. The two count information against Banks was filed in the circuit court of Will County in March of 1980.

On March 24, 1980, defendant's court appointed attorney, Raymond Bolden, filed a motion for a continuance and other relief, seeking to obtain, inter alia, the full and complete psychological records of defendant compiled by the Department of Corrections since defendant's incarceration in 1978. The motion was granted. At the hearing on the defense motion, the court asked attorney Bolden if he wished at that time to make a request for a psychiatric examination of the defendant. Attorney Bolden responded that he declined to make such a request before he had an opportunity to examine the Department's records.

Early in April Mr. Bolden was supplied with eight psychological and psychiatric reports compiled by the Department on defendant, Banks. The first was an undated Program Considerations Report by Viola Leifheit, a counselor at the Joliet Correctional Center. In her report, Ms. Leifheit made a number of references to Banks' "bizarre" behavior during her interview with him, and described him as "[p]rimitive, hostile, impulsive, and possibly with a tenuous hold on reality." She also noted that according to his medical report the defendant had sustained a head injury when he was seven years old. She suggested that the defendant be given a psychiatric examination if his bizarre behavior should continue.

The next report was a psychological summary of defendant made by psychologist Dennis Becraft on October 5, 1978. Becraft noted that although defendant was able to read only at a third grade level, he was of estimated average intelligence. He found the defendant to be "primitive, poorly socialized, hostile, impulsive, and likely to make a very poor institutional adjustment." Becraft also noted that defendant admitted drug abuse.

The next report, dated September 6, 1979, was the first of four psychological reports made by psychologist Muhammed Irfan. The defendant was referred to Irfan because of reports that he had set fire to his shoes and had flushed all of his linen down the toilet. Because of these incidents he had been placed in controlled segregation. Initially, Irfan found the defendant to be oriented and relevant, although occasionally rambling. He complained of headaches and blackouts. When asked by Irfan why he was placed in segregation, Banks said it was because he was accused of striking an officer. He could not, however, give any explanation for his actions, claiming long-term drug abuse. Irfan recommended continued observation of the defendant, and referred him to a psychiatrist to determine the need for a neurological examination.

The psychiatrist to whom the defendant was referred was Dr. Meyer Kruglik, who, in a report dated September 17, 1979, revealed the defendant's long history of drug and alcohol abuse. When Dr. Kruglik asked the defendant why he had been placed in segregation, he responded that the correctional officers improperly pressured him and wrote untrue reports. The defendant then told Kruglik "they don't want me here so they should give me a passport." He also stated that the Army wanted him and he should be turned over to them (the defendant was AWOL at the time he committed the offenses for which he was imprisoned). He finally indicated a desire to be transferred to another penal institution.

On the basis of the foregoing, Dr. Kruglik made the following observations about Banks:

"Although capable of recognizing that certain rules of law and conduct flow naturally from the precepts of a civilized society, he tends to the opinion that his own needs and his interpretation of these needs take precedence. When confronted with the concept of individual responsibility, he shifts responsibility from himself to others or to circumstance. His thinking and judgment is immature, constricted and rigid; when this is coupled to his unwillingness to accept his own responsibility for his behavior, one could be led to wonder whether his reality testing has passed the borderline."

With regard to a neurological examination, Dr. Kruglik felt that the defendant's blackouts and headaches could be explained by his history of drug abuse and situational tensions. He did, however, recommend that Banks be given an electroencephalogram (EEG) to determine if an abnormal brain wave pattern was present. The doctor's final impression of Banks was "antisocial personality with schizoid features and a history of polydrug abuse."

Muhammed Irfan's second psychological report was dated October 10, 1979. After Dr. Kruglik examined Banks, he was discharged from controlled segregation. Shortly thereafter, however, he started another fire in his cell. This incident caused him to be referred again to Mr. Irfan for psychological consultation.

In his report, Irfan stated that he found Banks to be uncooperative during his interview. Much of the time he refused to speak. He refused to divulge any information about the fire incident, limiting his comments to "they said I set fire." He did, however, continue to demand that he be transferred to a regular cell. Irfan reported that Banks asked if he had received his EEG results, and upon being informed that they were negative, said "Just as I thought — talking to you we have not accomplished anything — so why should I talk with you." Mr. Irfan found Banks' orientation to be satisfactory, and noted that when he allowed Banks to converse spontaneously the defendant expressed no delusional thoughts. His impression of the defendant was identical with that of Dr. Kruglik, i.e., the defendant was an antisocial personality with schizoid characteristics and a history of polydrug abuse. Mr. Irfan further noted that "Mr. Banks appears totally unmotivated to change anything about him and it is reasonable to suspect that he has somewhat of a tenuous hold on the reality of his situation. He expects us to ignore his destructive and disruptive behavior completely." He recommended continued observation of the defendant.

One week later (October 17, 1979) Banks had a follow-up visit with Mr. Irfan. On this occasion, Irfan found Banks to be fully oriented, with no evidence that his intellectual capacity was impaired. His responses to questions were well organized and detailed; a deviation, Irfan noted, from Banks' last interview performance. Irfan found that "[o]verall, Mr. Banks presented [himself] as an individual who could be held fully accountable for his behavior." He also found that Banks was unwilling to admit that he dealt with disagreeable situations in an "abrupt and impulsive" style, and that he continued to believe that he was the victim, rather than the cause, of his own problems. Irfan concluded that "I get the impression that we are dealing with a man who takes a very limited perspective relative to ...

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