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People v. Stack

OPINION FILED MAY 12, 1986.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

RICHARD STACK, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. James M. Bailey, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE SIMON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Is a defendant entitled to a new trial because the State responded to his insanity defense by introducing evidence, over objection, that the defendant exercised his right against self-incrimination after being given the Miranda warnings?

Sometime during the afternoon of May 11, 1980, Richard Stack killed his wife and infant son. Defendant admitted the killings but claimed he was insane at the time. A jury in the circuit court of Cook County rejected that defense and found Stack guilty on both counts of murder; he was sentenced to concurrent life terms for each offense. On appeal, defendant's convictions were reversed (128 Ill. App.3d 611), and we granted the State's petition for leave to appeal in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 315 (94 Ill.2d R. 315).

The State contends that the appellate court erred in finding that prosecutors denied the defendant a fair trial by commenting on his exercise of the right to remain silent. After the defendant was arrested, he was taken to a hospital by the arresting officers for treatment of injuries sustained during the homicides. Defendant introduced evidence at trial that he made bizarre, disconnected statements to doctors and hospital personnel. In response, the State elicited the following testimony regarding defendant's conversation with an assistant State's Attorney.

"Q. [Assistant State's Attorney] Now, you said that Mr. Stack couldn't perceive reality on that day. Does it indicate in this document, doctor, that Mr. Bredeman, the state's attorney, went to the hospital and informed Stack of his right, pursuant to Mirando [sic], to each one he asked him if he understood and he replied he did. When he finished informing him of his rights, Richard Stack asked what would happen if he chose to remain silent. `I told him I wouldn't ask him any questions,' And [sic] said that is what he wanted.

MR. KULL [defense attorney]: Objection.

MR. KULL: Well, Judge, can I have a sidebar?

THE COURT: No, overruled.

MR. KULL: I make a motion for a mistrial.

THE COURT: Denied. Come on, let's go."

And later:

"Q. [Assistant State's Attorney] What did Mr. Stack say to Mr. Bredeman, tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury?

A. [Detective Foley] Mr. Stack asked Mr. Bredeman what would happen if he chose not to say anything to Mr. Bredeman, to which Mr. Bredeman said I won't ask you any questions. Mr. Stack then said that's ...


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