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People v. Crosser

OPINION FILED AUGUST 9, 1983.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ROBERT T. CROSSER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. David F. Smith, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE HOPF DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial the defendant, Robert Crosser, was convicted of the offense of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(1)). He was sentenced to a 30-month term of probation with the first 60 days to be served in the Winnebago County work-release program. The court also fined him $250 plus costs.

The defendant appeals and presents four assignments of error: (1) that the trial court improperly refused to give the jury the instructions on intoxication which the defendant tendered; (2) that the trial court erred when it prevented defense counsel from cross-examining the complaining witness regarding his pending civil lawsuit against the accused for damages arising from the defendant's criminal conduct in this cause; (3) that the court below committed error when it refused a defense instruction concerning the jury's consideration of evidence of the defendant's reputation for truth and veracity; and (4) that the court improperly sentenced the defendant to serve 60 days in the work-release program as a condition of probation.

The events leading up to the charge in question began on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1980. At that time, defendant was married to Georgia Crosser for the second time; their first marriage had ended in divorce. Two or three months prior to November 1980, the defendant and his wife were experiencing marital problems which led to Georgia's filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. She secured a court order barring defendant from entering the marital home in Rockford. However, Georgia did not always enforce the court injunction and allowed defendant to return to the house for the three days immediately prior to Thanksgiving Day. He left the home at 10 o'clock on Thanksgiving morning to visit his father-in-law.

The defendant visited his father-in-law and had a few beers there. At noon Crosser went downtown with a friend and visited a few bars. He drank beer all day until approximately 9 p.m. During that period he consumed approximately 15 to 18 beers. At 9 o'clock he summoned a cab to take him to his wife's home.

Meanwhile, on Thanksgiving Day, Billy Keen, accompanied by two friends, went to the home of Georgia Crosser. Two girls were also present at Georgia's residence, and they all ate, danced and drank during the afternoon. Keen did not inquire of anyone whether Georgia was married, but was under the impression that she was divorced.

At approximately 10 p.m. Keen and Georgia were lying on the couch "making out" when the defendant, after hollering and beating on the back door without response, entered the house after knocking the glass out of the rear door. When Crosser saw his wife and Keen on the couch, he threw a bottle at Keen which hit him in the head. The two men struggled until Crosser fell against the television set, split his head open, and lost consciousness for one-half to three-quarters of an hour. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he refused medical attention.

After the defendant was taken to the hospital, Keen and Georgia Crosser retired to the bedroom around midnight where, after engaging in sexual intercourse, they went to sleep. At approximately 2:30 the following morning, a friend of the defendant picked Crosser up at the emergency room and transported him to Georgia's residence. Defendant entered the kitchen and from that vantage point observed Keen and Georgia lying on the bed. Crosser picked up a hatchet which was located on the kitchen table and proceeded to the bedroom. He hollered "What the hell is going on here," but neither his wife nor Keen moved; the defendant then hit Keen in the head with the hatchet. Crosser left the house and went to the home of Crosser's father-in-law at 3:30 a.m.

At approximately 5 or 6 a.m. the ringing of the telephone awakened Billy Keen, who was still asleep in bed. He was not aware that he had been injured, for he was still drunk. When he looked into the kitchen, he observed two police officers who informed him that he needed hospitalization because his head was split open. Subsequently, when he looked in the mirror, he saw a gash in his forehead, which was bleeding. He underwent surgery, was hospitalized for five days, and was still taking medication at the time of trial.

The following Monday the defendant gave the police a statement which was consistent with the substance of his testimony at trial as well as that which the victim proferred. In that statement he admitted that he had struck Keen in the head with the hatchet, but stated that he was "half drunk and mad" at the time he entered the house on Friday morning. That statement was read to the jury.

The defendant presented two character witnesses in his behalf who stated that the defendant had a good reputation for truth and veracity and that his reputation for being a peaceful and law-abiding person was also good.

Thereafter, the jury found the defendant guilty of aggravated battery. Judgment was entered on the verdict and defendant was sentenced to 30 months probation conditioned upon his serving the first 60 days in the county jail work-release program; in addition, the court imposed a fine of $250 plus court costs.

Defendant first contends that the trial court improperly refused to give the jury two tendered instructions on intoxication. One was an issues instruction on the defense of voluntary intoxication, which is contained in Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (IPI), Criminal, No. 25.02 (1968). The other was an instruction on voluntary intoxication as set forth in IPI Criminal No. 24.02 (1968). Defendant maintains that he presented sufficient evidence of his inebriated condition to raise the defense of voluntary intoxication and to require that the court give these instructions at his request. We disagree.

• 1, 2 Aggravated battery is a specific intent crime because it contains, as an element of the offense, the requirement that the criminal conduct must be performed knowingly or intentionally. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 12-4(a); People v. Harkey (1979), 69 Ill. App.3d 94, 96, 386 N.E.2d 1151; People v. Jones (1978), 67 Ill. App.3d 477, 478, 384 N.E.2d 523.) Voluntary intoxication is a defense to a specific intent offense, such as the present one, if the condition of intoxication negates or makes impossible the existence of the mental state which is an element of the crime. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 6-3(a); see People v. Rosas (1981), 102 Ill. App.3d 113, 429 N.E.2d 898; People v. Fuller (1980), 91 Ill. App.3d 922, 927, 415 N.E.2d 502; People v. Jones.) In other words, the degree of intoxication which will absolve the defendant of responsibility for his criminal conduct must be so extreme that it suspended entirely the power of reason (People v. Moon (1982), 107 Ill. App.3d 568, 572, 437 N.E.2d 823; People v. Nichols (1981), 96 Ill. App.3d 354, 359, 420 N.E.2d 1166), or ...


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