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People v. Wilson





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur J. Cieslik, Judge, presiding.


Following a jury trial defendant Robert Earl Wilson was convicted of rape and deviate sexual assault and was sentenced to concurrent extended-term sentences of 45 years. On appeal defendant contends: (1) the trial court denied him his right to present a defense by denying his attorney continuances necessary for trial preparation and by improperly quashing subpoenas for critical defense witnesses; (2) improper argument by the prosecutor and certain rulings by the trial court during final argument deprived defendant of a fair trial; (3) the trial court erred by improperly instructing the jury on the presumption of innocence in its initial comments to them, by repeatedly telling the jury it wanted a verdict by the court's vacation day, and by making comments tending to favor the prosecution; (4) defendant was improperly found fit for trial based on stipulated testimony; (5) the prosecutor improperly utilized the fact that defendant initially remained silent after his arrest; (6) the trial court erred in refusing to accept defendant's guilty plea because defendant said he was not guilty; (7) defendant's extended-term sentences were imposed for improper reasons.

We reverse and remand for a new trial.

At trial Kay A. testified that at about 1 a.m. on March 23, 1979, she was walking home from work when the defendant approached and grabbed her by the throat. She sprayed him with Mace but he pulled her to the ground and began choking her and poking her in the eyes. She again sprayed him with Mace and was able to flee, screaming, for about 100 yards before he caught her and threw her to the ground. The defendant again choked her and put his finger in her eyes. He told her to shut up and dragged her into an alley and up some stairs to an apartment landing. He repeatedly demanded that she disrobe but she refused. As he began to forcibly disrobe her a car came down the alley so he forced her down to a basement vestibule. There he forced her to disrobe further, subjected her to an act of cunnilingus, told her she was going to perform fellatio on him, and then forced her to have sexual intercourse with him. While this latter act was taking place a policeman arrived and ordered defendant to "freeze." Defendant was arrested at gunpoint and Kay was taken first to the police station and then to the hospital.

Officer Ronald Keith testified that he arrested defendant at the scene. When Keith arrived defendant was on top of a woman and their clothes were in disarray. When the officer announced his office and told the defendant to stop the defendant got up and put his hands in the air. Keith observed scratches on the woman's neck and saw that one eye was bruised. Her blouse had been ripped open and she was nude from the waist down. The nurse who examined Kay at the hospital emergency room testified that Kay had bruises on her face and back.

The defendant presented the testimony of Dr. Basil Sklan, a psychiatrist at the Chester Mental Health Center's Maximum Security Hospital. As we will set out in detail later in this opinion the defense was precluded by the court from presenting the testimony of other psychiatrists and a psychologist who had examined the defendant, although the written report of the psychologist was introduced into evidence by stipulation.

Dr. Sklan first interviewed the defendant on June 1, 1979. The defendant described hallucinations he had experienced a week before. He told Sklan that his sister, who had died in infancy years earlier, often spoke to him and told him to do things. He also said that he could not control some of the things he did. During the interview defendant exhibited a bland affect, appearing to express no feelings. At that time it was Sklan's opinion that defendant suffered from paranoic psychosis. According to Sklan the defendant was at the Chester facility from May 31, 1979, to July 1980. During that period he was given Haldol, a drug used to suppress psychosis, three times a day. Sklan also testified that the defendant had told him he was currently still receiving that medication twice a day at the time of trial.

Sklan was aware that Dr. Jewett Goldsmith, a psychiatrist at the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, had also examined the defendant and had concluded that defendant was a chronic paranoid schizophrenic. Sklan also was aware that defendant had previously been at Chester in 1976 and at that time had been diagnosed as schizophrenic. According to Sklan it was a reasonable conclusion that defendant had been schizophrenic and a paranoid psychotic since at least 1976 and remained so at the time of trial. It was also his opinion, based on a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that defendant was insane on the day of the occurrence and was at that time unable to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

On cross-examination Sklan admitted that he did not know any of the details of the occurrence. He based his opinion on his interview with the defendant and on the reports of the other specialists who had seen the defendant. Sklan conceded that in none of the other reports he had seen was defendant declared to be legally insane on the date of the occurrence but he also stated that some of the other doctors were not specifically asked to determine sanity as of that time. Sklan testified that a Dr. Vallabhaneni was defendant's primary psychiatrist at Chester. Sklan also testified that one of the reports that he relied on was that of Dr. Janice S. Friedman, a psychologist. In her report of October 27, 1980, she concluded that defendant was schizophrenic. Sklan also relied on the observations of Drs. Reifman, Kaplan, Goldsmith, and Vallabhaneni, who all agreed with his conclusion about defendant's schizophrenic condition. However Sklan conceded that Dr. Bogen and Dr. Reifman had both expressed doubts about defendant's credibility.

Linda Miller, an assistant State's Attorney, testified for the defendant that she spoke to defendant at the police station after his arrest. He told her that his younger sister, who had been dead for 10 years, had told him to "take" the victim sexually and because his sister had told him to do this he had complied, even though he knew it was wrong. On cross-examination Miller testified over defense objection that it was her opinion that defendant was not insane because he was able to appreciate the criminality of his conduct. On redirect examination she stated that she did not know whether the defendant could conform his conduct to the law, although she "had no reason to expect otherwise."

Defendant's mother testified that she had experienced problems with the defendant since he was three years old. Defendant would tell her that his sister, who had died in infancy, would talk to him and tell him to do things. On one occasion he broke all the windows in the house, telling her later that he did not know why he did it. He had many difficulties in school and only attended high school for three days. In her opinion the defendant was at times unable to control himself and unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Defendant's grandmother also testified that he had spoken of hearing his dead sister talking to him. She too believed that he could not always control himself or distinguish right from wrong. At times he would act like his mind had "gone off."

The report of Dr. Janice Friedman was read into the record by stipulation. She examined the defendant October 27, 1980, conducting an interview and giving the the Rorschach test and the thematic appreciation test. It appeared to her that defendant was trying to reveal nothing in the tests she administered. From her interview she concluded that he was at the command of voices, primarily that of his sister. That voice bid him to perform various antisocial acts. She concluded that defendant was schizophrenic and should be hospitalized and medicated.

In rebuttal the State called two psychiatrists. Dr. Robert Reifman, a board-certified psychiatrist and director of the Psychiatric Institute of the circuit court of Cook County, testified that he first examined the defendant June 22, 1976, in order to determine his fitness for an unrelated trial. At that time the defendant told him he was hearing the voice of his dead sister. He also learned that the defendant had threatened to kill himself if he was sent to a mental hospital. Reifman's diagnosis at that time was that defendant was a schizo-affective type. Reifman explained that defendant had the schizophrenic symptoms of hallucinations and the inability to fully appreciate reality and was also very depressed. Reifman determined at that time that as the result of this mental disease the defendant was unable to cooperate with his ...

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