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People v. Orr

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 28, 1984.

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

v.

JOHNNEY LEE ORR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Franklin County; the Hon. Bruce Irish, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE JONES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Johnney Lee Orr, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the offense of attempted murder. The only issue on appeal is whether the trial court failed to follow statutory procedures in accepting the defendant's plea. See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, pars. 113-4(d), 115-2(b).

The defendant was indicted on September 19, 1980, for the attempted murder of his ex-wife on August 11, 1980. He subsequently entered a plea of not guilty and was released on bond.

On November 21, 1980, upon motion by the defendant, the court ordered a psychiatric examination to determine the defendant's sanity at the time of the alleged offense. It was later discovered, however, that the defendant had been examined regarding his competency to stand trial, and the court ordered a second examination, which was conducted on March 28, 1981.

On January 15, 1982, a hearing was held in which the defendant withdrew his previous plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill to the offense of attempted murder. The defendant was admonished pursuant to Rule 402 (87 Ill.2d R. 402), and the State presented a summary of the evidence against the defendant.

The State then submitted psychiatric reports prepared by Dr. Clarence Boyd based upon his examinations of the defendant. In his first report, Dr. Boyd related a history of mental problems of the defendant dating back to 1972, when he received psychiatric counseling while in the Marine Corps. In 1974 the defendant was hospitalized in Anna State Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having a paranoid personality disorder and was given individual psychotherapy. The defendant told Dr. Boyd that in May 1980 he tried to kill himself by driving his car into a bridge abutment at 60 miles per hour. He stated that he did this in order to get his wife to feel sorry for him. The defendant and his wife were divorced in July 1980, and, at the time the divorce papers were signed, the defendant took an overdose of pills that resulted in his being hospitalized overnight. Dr. Boyd's report further indicated that approximately two weeks before the offense involving his ex-wife on August 11, 1980, the defendant made two trips to a family counseling service in West Frankfort. The purpose of these visits, according to the defendant, was "[s]o I could try to get away from my wife. * * * I wanted to be hypnotized so I would forget her."

The defendant told Dr. Boyd that on the evening before the attack against his ex-wife, he drank a great deal of whiskey, went home, took six or seven 750-milligram Placidyl capsules and drank more whiskey. He then carved a suicide note on the wall with a hunting knife and cut his wrist "a little." The next thing the defendant remembered was being at his ex-wife's house the following day. He "was holding a knife and Debbie [his ex-wife] had blood all over her." The defendant's ex-wife had been stabbed several times in her abdomen, back and side.

From his first examination of the defendant, Dr. Boyd concluded that the defendant had "a personality disorder of mixed type with paranoid, histrionic, antisocial, borderline and passive-aggressive features." Dr. Boyd further stated that the defendant was competent to stand trial but that "his mental competency at the time of the reported criminality is not known to this examiner." In his report of the second examination of the defendant, conducted after discovery of the initial confusion as to the purpose of the exam, Dr. Boyd considered the defendant's claim that he had consumed substantial amounts of alcohol and had taken six or seven 750-milligram Placidyl capsules on the evening before the attempted murder of his ex-wife. The report concluded:

"If one assumes that the patient ingested and retained all that he claims to have taken it would most likely resulted [sic] in the patient's going into a deep prolonged state of sleep. Paradoxical reactions consisting of restlessness or excitement can occur with Placidyl or alcohol. Mild stimulation, marked excitement and states of hysteria have been reported. It could not be stated beyond a reasonable degree of medical certainty that at the time of the alleged criminal stabbing he was able to appreciate the criminality of his conduct if the above statement are [sic] true, but that possibility exists."

After submitting these reports, the State's Attorney added that the defendant had exhibited noticeable signs of emotional strain during previous court hearings. Considering these factors, the State asserted that there was sufficient evidence that the defendant suffered from mental problems that could be classified as mental illness, but that the defendant's illness was not sufficiently severe to relieve him of responsibility for his conduct. The court then asked the defendant's attorney if he had anything to add regarding either the factual basis or the psychiatric reports. The defendant's attorney responded in the negative, adding that "[w]e agree in substance virtually with most of what the State's Attorney has said."

In further discussion, the defendant's attorney reiterated that the defendant had been despondent and depressed on the evening before the offense and had consumed a great deal of alcohol, as well as the Placidyl capsules. The defendant's attorney also stated that he had become quite familiar with the new statute providing for a plea of guilty but mentally ill and that he had recommended that the defendant make this plea because he felt it was in the defendant's best interests to do so. The court then explained to the defendant that a verdict of guilty but mentally ill would require the Department of Corrections to inquire as to the defendant's need for psychiatric treatment and provide treatment if needed. After questioning the defendant to make sure he understood the nature of the charge against him and that he was giving up his right to assert an intoxication defense, the court accepted the defendant's plea of guilty but mentally ill as requested by the defendant. The court made no mention of Dr. Boyd's reports nor did it make any findings as to the defendant's mental state on August 11, 1980.

At his sentencing hearing on February 24, 1982, the defendant was sentenced to a term of 15 years' imprisonment with the Department of Corrections. On February 25, 1982, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw his plea of guilty but mentally ill, which was denied following a hearing on the motion.

On appeal from this denial the defendant contends that the trial court erred in accepting the defendant's plea of guilty but mentally ill in that it failed to hold a proper hearing on the issue of the defendant's mental health and failed to make findings as to the defendant's mental state at the time of the offense. The defendant asserts that the court thus failed to comply with statutory procedures for accepting such a plea and that he should, therefore, be allowed to withdraw his plea of guilty but mentally ill.

Section 113-4(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, ...


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