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People v. Camp

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 16, 1984.

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

v.

STEVEN B. CAMP, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edward Fiala, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant was found guilty in a jury trial of two counts of reckless homicide. The trial court thereafter sentenced him to concurrent two-year terms in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The defendant appeals his conviction.

The evidence adduced at trial showed that the defendant, Steven Camp, was involved in an automobile collision that occurred on November 1, 1981, at approximately 4:20 a.m. Prior to defendant's jury trial, the defendant filed a written motion to dismiss the indictment, alleging that it was conclusionary and insufficient to state a charge. The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Palatine Road and Route 62 and involved vehicles driven by Steven Camp and Victor Rubini. The collision caused the death of Rubini and Karen Musaus, one of the passengers in Camp's vehicle. The evidence showed that at about 9:30 p.m. in October 31, 1981, Camp, Tim Bost, Patricia LaRocco, Musaus, and another companion, Beth Phillips, had all met early in the evening and went to Camp's apartment prior to their attending a Halloween party at another residence. While at Camp's apartment, the members of the group split two quarts of beer between them, each drinking about one glass of beer. The group then left Camp's apartment at about 10 p.m. and drove in Camp's car to the Halloween party at a house in Palatine. At the party, Camp and the others danced, talked and drank beer. According to LaRocco, the only member of the group to testify other than Camp, she drank at least eight glasses of beer, while Camp drank at least five. Camp testified to drinking four or five cups of beer. LaRocco also testified that seven guests, including herself and Camp, shared a marijuana cigarette. Camp testified to only taking one or two puffs of marijuana from a pipe and not feeling any effects from it.

The group prepared to leave the party between 3 and 4 a.m. Camp went with Musaus to retrieve the car while the other three waited outside the house. After Camp brought the car around front, the other three entered the car. LaRocco testified that Camp was drunk, though she could not remember what happened after the car began to move. Camp testified that he was not intoxicated when he left the party. He did admit to an assistant State's Attorney that he was feeling tired and "buzzed" when he went to his car. The defendant further admitted that he was speeding and, because he was tired and had been drinking, that he should not have driven that night.

As Camp drove along Palatine Road, nearing the intersection of Route 62, Carl Traub, a Barrington Hills police officer, testified that he estimated Camp's speed as being in excess of 65 miles per hour (in a 50 miles per hour zone). Traub was at the intersection at the time of the collision using radar to clock eastbound traffic on Route 62. Camp did not remember seeing a stop sign at the intersection, did not remember how fast he was going, did not remember seeing any warning signs of the approaching intersection, and did not attempt to brake as he entered the intersection. Palatine Road has a stop sign at Route 62. Also, Route 62 is a posted 55 miles per hour zone with no traffic control devices in the immediate vicinity of its intersection with Palatine Road. As Camp attempted to make a right-hand turn onto Route 62, he skidded across three lanes of traffic before colliding head-on with Victor Rubini's Cadillac, which had been heading eastbound on Route 62. The collision resulted in the death of Rubini and Karen Musaus, the front-seat passenger in Camp's car.

The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts of reckless homicide and he was sentenced to concurrent two-year prison terms.

The defendant first contends that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to dismiss the indictments. The defendant asserts that the indictments were fatally defective because they failed to particularize the specific acts upon which the two charges of reckless homicide were based. The first indictment provided:

"[O]n November 1st, 1981, at and within the County, Steven B. Camp committed the offense of reckless homicide in that he, without lawful justification, while driving a motor vehicle, to wit: an automobile, recklessly performed acts in such a manner as were likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual and such acts caused the death of Karen Musaus in violation of Chapter 38, Section 9-3(a) of the Illinois Revised Statutes 1979 as amended."

The second indictment was identical in all respects save for the name of the victim, which was Victor Rubini.

• 1, 2 Under Illinois law, the elements of the offense of reckless homicide are (a) that the defendant caused death while driving a motor vehicle recklessly, and (b) that he drove the motor vehicle in such a manner that he was likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-3(a); People v. Boyle (1979), 78 Ill. App.3d 791, 797, 396 N.E.2d 1347.) If the indictment is otherwise sufficient, then, in reckless homicide cases, it is not necessary to allege the precise acts of recklessness or the particular acts upon which the prosecution will rely. People v. Boyle (1979), 78 Ill. App.3d 791, 797, 396 N.E.2d 1347; People v. Clark (1977), 55 Ill. App.3d 496, 499, 371 N.E.2d 33; People v. Jones (1971), 2 Ill. App.3d 575, 577, 277 N.E.2d 144; People v. Mowen (1969), 109 Ill. App.2d 62, 68-69, 248 N.E.2d 685.

• 3 The defendant's citation to People v. Hayes (1979), 75 Ill. App.3d 822, 394 N.E.2d 80, and People v. Griffin (1967), 36 Ill.2d 430, 223 N.E.2d 158, is unpersuasive in that Hayes was a reckless conduct case and Griffin was a reckless driving case. The Illinois courts> have repeatedly distinguished simple recklessness cases from reckless homicide cases in terms of the necessity for particularized indictments. (People v. Boyle (1979), 78 Ill. App.3d 791, 396 N.E.2d 1347; People v. Clark (1977), 55 Ill. App.3d 496, 371 N.E.2d 33; People v. Jones (1971), 2 Ill. App.3d 575, 277 N.E.2d 144; People v. Mowen (1969), 109 Ill. App.2d 62, 248 N.E.2d 685. Cf. People v. Farris (1980), 82 Ill. App.3d 147, 402 N.E.2d 629.) The central concern of particularized indictments is the safeguarding of the defendant's right against double jeopardy. In reckless homicide cases, naming the victim of the homicide in the indictment eliminates any vagueness in the charge, thereby securing the defendant's rights. People v. Clark (1977), 55 Ill. App.3d 496, 371 N.E.2d 33; People v. Jones (1971), 2 Ill. App.3d 575, 277 N.E.2d 144; People v. Mowen (1969), 109 Ill. App.2d 62, 248 N.E.2d 685.

• 4 In this reckless homicide case, the defendant could unquestionably have caused the death of Victor Rubini and Karen Musaus only once, and both were named in the indictments. It was not necessary therefore to allege specific acts of recklessness. Furthermore, the language of these indictments is almost identical to the language of the reckless homicide indictment upheld in People v. Clark (1977), 55 Ill. App.3d 496, 498-99, 371 N.E.2d 33. It therefore cannot be said that the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to dismiss the indictments.

• 5 The defendant next contends that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to introduce and comment upon alleged hearsay testimony. During its case-in-chief, the prosecution elicited testimony from a passenger in the defendant's car (LaRocco) that another passenger (Bost) had asked the defendant questions ...


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