Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. John J.
Crowley, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied February 16, 1984.
On August 19, 1981, following a bench trial, defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 115-3) for the murder of Ruth Thieben and the attempted murder of Myrtle Miller (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(2), 8-4) on June 17, 1976.
Immediately following the acquittal, the trial court, upon hearing evidence on the issue of commitment (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4), found the murder and attempted murder to be separate and distinct offenses committed at a different time and place for which consecutive sentence would be appropriate. The court further found the defendant subject to the involuntary admission of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (hereinafter Department) for a period of commitment "not to exceed 22 years 6 months from the [defendant's] arrest date of June 17th, 1976."
At issue on appeal is whether the trial court's commitment order of a period "not to exceed a maximum of 22 years and 6 months" was a proper application of section 5-2-4(a) of the Unified Code of Corrections. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b).
A defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity is subject to involuntary commitment pursuant to section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b).
That portion of section 5-2-4(b) in effect at the time of defendant's acquittal (People v. Valdez (1980), 79 Ill.2d 74, 402 N.E.2d 187) provided in pertinent part:
"* * * that the initial order for admission of a defendant acquitted of a felony by reason of insanity shall be for an indefinite period of time; provided, however, that such period of commitment shall not exceed the maximum length of time that the defendant would have been required to serve, less credit for good behavior, before becoming eligible for parole had he been convicted of and received the maximum sentence for the most serious crime for which he has been acquitted by reason of insanity." (Emphasis added.)
Defendant contends that the trial court erred in its determination of his maximum period of commitment (22 years 6 months). Defendant further contends that this period of commitment actually represents the trial court's effort to impose two consecutive 11-year 3-month periods of maximum commitment for both murder and attempted murder, since the court had previously found these offenses to be separate and distinct acts.
Defendant asserts that the finding of separate and distinct offenses was the trial court's initial error in the present case. He argues that his actions constituted a single psychotic episode, not subject to consecutive sentences or consecutive commitments, when he, while under the influence of alcohol and mental illness, strangled his apartment-mate Ruth Thieben, and tried minutes later to choke Myrtle Miller.
The State conversely contends that these offenses, although related in time, involved separate elements and separate victims, and therefore the imposition of consecutive sentences would have been proper had the defendant been found guilty of the offenses of murder and attempted murder. (People v. Davis (1974), 20 Ill. App.3d 948, 956, 314 N.E.2d 723.) The State further contends that since these separate offenses would be subject to consecutive sentences, they should also be subject to separate periods of commitment. Thus, the maximum period of commitment, as imposed by the trial court, is proper.
• 1 Although we agree that the defendant's actions constituted two separate and distinct offenses, we disagree that section 5-2-4(b) authorizes the imposition of consecutive periods of commitment for these offenses.
It is a primary rule of statutory construction that the intention of the legislature should be ascertained and given effect. In so doing, courts> look first to the terms of the statute. People v. Robinson (1982), 89 Ill.2d 469, 475, 433 N.E.2d 674; ...