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People v. Duckworth





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. RODNEY A. SCOTT, Judge, presiding.


Defendant appeals his convictions by jury verdicts of the offenses of deviate sexual assault and armed robbery in violation of sections 11-3 and 18-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 11-3, 18-2.) He was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for deviate sexual assault and to a concurrent term of 10 years' imprisonment for the armed robbery.

The offenses were committed on January 21, 1980, when defendant, in the basement of the Decatur Public Library, approached the victim from behind and placed a sharp, shiny, silver object to her neck. Defendant asked the victim for money and she gave him $3. Defendant then forced the victim to her knees and forced her to place his penis in her mouth. The victim and defendant then walked to the middle of the library, she screamed and defendant then ran up the stairs and out the door. She identified defendant at trial, and her testimony and identification were corroborated by three other occurrence witnesses, who were library employees.

Defendant's defense was insanity. Dr. Dale Sunderland, a psychiatrist, testified for the defendant. The State stipulated as to his expert qualifications and Sunderland stated that he examined defendant twice. Sunderland's diagnosis of defendant was "probably schizophrenia." He testified that given the legal definition of insanity, the defendant was not legally sane at the time he committed these offenses. Sunderland admitted on cross-examination that he felt that defendant had lied on a personal inventory test, demonstrating that defendant was trying to achieve certain results. In Sunderland's opinion defendant was moderately psychotic on the date of the offense.

In rebuttal, the State called Steve Rathnow to testify. Prior to his testimony, Rathnow was questioned by the State and defense counsel. He stated that he was employed as a staff psychologist at the Decatur Mental Health Center. Rathnow has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in clinical psychology, but is not a registered psychologist in Illinois. He stated that under the laws of the State he is not eligible to take the qualifying test for registration. He spoke with defendant while he was in jail.

Defense counsel argued that Rathnow was not an expert and should be prevented from testifying because he had presented himself to defendant as a psychologist. The court indicated its belief that the witness was not being qualified as an expert, and noted that a layman may express an opinion as to a person's sanity. The prosecutor stated that he did not intend to call the witness as an expert. The trial court thus denied defendant's motion to prevent Rathnow from testifying.

Rathnow then testified before the jury as to his education and employment. He testified that he met defendant in February 1980, at which time defendant complained of hearing voices and of an inability to sleep. Defendant appeared anxious, upset, and nervous. After speaking with defendant, Rathnow consulted Dr. Sunderland, who prescribed medication for defendant. Rathnow stated the purpose of the medication was to alleviate the problems of which defendant had complained to Rathnow. After the medication was administered, defendant continued to complain about hearing voices, although the content of the voices changed. Rathnow testified that the first dose of medication was totally ineffective, and after an increase in dosage the voices changed.

Dr. Robert Chapman, a psychiatrist, also testified for the State as a rebuttal witness. Chapman interviewed the defendant on two occasions and administered a personality inventory test to defendant. Chapman stated that it was his opinion that at the time of the incident in this case defendant suffered from a mental disorder "of three types, one, alcoholism, two, a depression, non-psychotic, and three, chemical substance abuse." But it was Chapman's opinion that these mental disorders did not incapacitate defendant from the standpoint of defendant's appreciation of the criminality of his behavior. He stated that defendant's acts in committing the offenses were carried out in a bold, direct manner which indicated no lack of appreciation of the criminality of his conduct. Defendant's evasive action in running out of the library also supports the proposition, according to Chapman, that defendant knew his behavior was criminal. Chapman noted that no clinical evidence indicated that defendant could not conform his behavior to the law, but that the only information showing a substantial impairment came from the defendant himself in his statements about voices telling him what to do. After a detailed discussion of these voices, Chapman was of the opinion that defendant had not heard any voices but was fabricating his symptoms, or exaggerating them to such a degree that they were almost unbelievable.

Chapman also stated that a psychotic can still reason and exercise judgment and the fact that a person is psychotic does not establish that he is unable to conform his acts to the law. Chapman also stated that schizophrenia, in and of itself, does not indicate that a person cannot conform his acts to the law.

Defendant's first contention on appeal from his conviction is that Rathnow's testimony was that of an expert witness without proper qualifications. The agreement between the court and the parties was clear — Rathnow was to testify as a non-expert person. Thus, the question presented is whether Rathnow's testimony was beyond the scope of that which he could properly state as a lay witness. Specifically, defendant complains of the following colloquy:

"Q: [Assistant State's Attorney]: When you initially spoke to the defendant and he described hearing voices, did you come aware that he was being truthful?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: Subsequent to the taking of the medicine, did you continue to believe him when he said that he was hearing voices?

MR. FINNEY [defense counsel]: Objection. My objection is that the man is not qualified as an expert, and he's certainly not qualified to give an opinion ...

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