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People v. Carter

OPINION FILED JULY 25, 1985.

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

v.

REGINALD CARTER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Ronald Crane, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 28, 1985.

Following a bench trial, defendant, Reginald Carter, was found guilty of attempted murder but mentally ill. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a); Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 115-3(c)). Defendant was sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

On appeal, defendant contends that the conviction and sentence must be set aside because: (1) the State failed to prove defendant had or could formulate the specific intent necessary to establish the crime of attempted murder; (2) the State failed to rebut the issue of self defense which was raised at trial; (3) the judgment of guilty but mentally ill and the eight-year sentence rest on the trial court's misapprehension of the law; and, (4) the guilty-but-mentally-ill statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 115-3(c)) is facially unconstitutional.

We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Testimony adduced at trial alluded to the facts that on November 17, 1981, defendant's brother, Dennis Carter, received a phone call from their sister asking him to come to their mother's home. It appeared that defendant had threatened their mother with a knife. Dennis, accompanied by his friend, Clifton Lynch, immediately drove to his mother's home. Finding that his mother was not at home, Dennis along with Clifton drove around a few blocks searching for her. While searching for his mother, Dennis saw defendant in the parking lot of a nearby liquor store. It was apparent that defendant had been drinking.

Dennis pulled over to where defendant was standing and asked defendant why he had threatened their mother with a knife. Defendant responded that it was "none of [Dennis'] fucking business," and proceeded simultaneously to kick the car door and through the open car window stab Dennis in the shoulder with a switch blade knife. Dennis leaned away from defendant and closed the car window. As Dennis attempted to drive away, defendant jumped onto the hood of his car. Dennis stopped the car, and the motor then stalled. At that point, defendant leaped from the hood of the car, seized a metal milk crate, and shattered the windshield of Dennis' car. Defendant then began to flee from the scene.

At that point, Dennis got out of the car, picked up the milk crate, and followed defendant, who was still carrying the knife. Defendant ran around the side of a parked van. Dennis then dropped the milk crate and attempted to grab defendant. Clifton then came around the other side of the van and also attempted to grab defendant. During the struggle, defendant again stabbed Dennis. As a result, Dennis suffered various lacerations, including a punctured lung. After the second stabbing incident, defendant dropped the knife and fled.

On the following day, defendant was arrested. Subsequently, defendant was charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed violence. Defense counsel raised the insanity defense and also asserted that the evidence would show that defendant was provoked to stab his brother.

At trial, Dr. Albert Stipes, an expert in psychiatry, testified for the defense. Stipes stated that he had examined defendant on a number of occasions. Initially, he examined defendant only to determine his fitness to stand trial. On four subsequent occasions he examined defendant to determine defendant's sanity at the time of the stabbings. Based on these examinations and in conjunction with defendant's psychiatric history, Stipes diagnosed defendant as suffering from psychogenia, a schizophrenic disorder characterized by severe depression or states of excitability. It was Stipes' opinion that defendant was legally insane at the time defendant stabbed his brother, Dennis.

In rebuttal, the State offered the testimony of Dr. Gilbert Bogen, also an expert in psychiatry. Bogen reviewed the defendant's extensive psychiatric history, the police report of the stabbings, and by personal psychiatric interview and evaluation determined that defendant suffered from a schizo-affective or "mood" disorder. Bogen concluded that defendant, at the time of the stabbing incidents, could appreciate the criminality of his conduct and that defendant could conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. It was his opinion that defendant was legally sane at the time he stabbed his brother.

The record indicates that both Drs. Stipes and Bogen were aware that defendant had a history of violence after consuming alcohol and that they both knew that defendant had been drinking on the day of the stabbings. Both doctors also acknowledged that medication had been prescribed to regulate defendant's disorder, but that they were unaware as to whether or not defendant took any medication that day.

At the conclusion of the bench trial, the trial court found defendant guilty but mentally ill and convicted him of attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed violence. Judgment was entered only on the conviction for attempted murder, for which defendant was sentenced to an eight-year term. At the sentencing hearing, the trial judge noted that defendant was then in present need of mental care.

Defendant appeals from the judgment and the sentence.

I

• 1 Defendant first contends that the State failed to prove that he had or could formulate the specific intent necessary to establish the crime of attempted murder. The State, on the other hand, argues that the evidence adduced at trial proves that defendant did indeed possess the requisite specific intent necessary to support his conviction of attempted murder.

"A person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific offense, he does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a).) The intent to kill or do great bodily harm to another satisfies the mental state requirement for the offense of murder. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1).) The Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 4-4) defines "intent" as follows:

"A person intends, or acts intentionally or with intent, to accomplish a result or engage in conduct described by the statute defining the offense, when his conscious objective or purpose is to accomplish that result or engage in that conduct."

Proving whether a party has acted with "intent to take a life" has been held to be a question for the trier of fact which may be inferred from the character of the assault, the use of deadly weapons or other surrounding circumstances. People v. Bell (1983), 113 Ill. App.3d 588, 447 N.E.2d 909.

• 2 In the instant case, it is uncontroverted that defendant repeatedly attacked his brother with a deadly weapon inflicting a life threatening injury. The first stabbing took place while defendant's brother Dennis was still in his car. When Dennis attempted to drive away, defendant caused him to stop by jumping onto the hood of his car. Defendant then proceeded to smash the windshield with a metal milk crate while all the time Dennis remained inside. When Dennis finally attempted to restrain defendant, he was again assaulted with the knife. As a result, Dennis suffered a punctured lung and other lacerations about his head and hand.

At trial, Dr. Bogen testified that, in his expert opinion, defendant was legally sane at the time of the stabbings. The record further indicates that defendant fled from the scene and that he was found hiding from police in a closet in his home at the time of his arrest. In addition, defendant's expert Dr. Stipes, testified that at the time of ...


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