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People v. Baugh





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Edgar County; the Hon. James K. Robinson, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied August 12, 1986.

Defendant was charged in the circuit court of Edgar County with the offense of aggravated battery in violation of section 12-4(b)(10) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(1)). Specifically, the indictment charged that the defendant caused bodily harm to Louise Carli, a person over the age of 60, by striking, bruising, or burning her on numerous occasions between the months of July 1982 and March 1983, all without legal justification. After a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. This appeal followed.

The issues raised on appeal are: (1) the sufficiency of the indictment; (2) the admission of allegedly irrelevant and prejudicial evidence consisting of (a) photographs taken of Louise Carli several years before her death and (b) testimony of misconduct toward Louise Carli by others out of the presence of the defendant; and (3) whether such evidence was harmless.

Certain facts developed at trial were not disputed. Defendant had been employed as a housekeeper for Louise Carli and her husband in November 1981. Both of them suffered from mental impairment due to aging. This arrangement continued until the death of Mr. Carli. At that time it was agreed between defendant and the Carli children that Louise Carli would move to defendant's home and be cared for there. Defendant was to be paid $75 per week; in addition, the Carli home would be sold and any proceeds remaining after the death of Mrs. Carli, less any amounts for her medical and funeral expenses, would be paid over to the defendant as further compensation.

Mrs. Carli died in March 1983 and her body was removed to a local funeral home. In the course of preparation of her body, personnel of the funeral home noticed bruises and marks on it. They were sufficiently extensive to cause the funeral directors to bring the matter to the attention of the coroner, who viewed the body and after consultation with the police and the coroner's pathologist, ordered an autopsy despite objections of the family. The pathologist's report indicated that Mrs. Carli died of a form of pneumonia and not as a direct result of bruising or other trauma. He stated that he found numerous contusions on the body in various states of healing. Photographs of the body, showing the bruises and contusions, were introduced into evidence. Other evidence will be discussed in connection with the issues set forth below.

In pertinent part, the indictment charged the defendant as follows:

"That Betty Lee Baugh between the months of July, 1982 and March, 1983, * * * committed the offense of aggravated battery, in that the said defendant on numerous occasions knowingly, and without legal justification, caused bodily harm to Louise B. Carli, a person over the age of sixty (60), in that the defendant struck, bruised or burned Louise B. Carli about the body. In violation of chapter 38, section 12-4(b)(10) * * *."

In the course of discovery in the trial court, the defendant asked for a bill of particulars demanding the exact time, date, and location of the offense charged. The trial court allowed the motion and the State furnished the defendant with all the police reports and the grand jury testimony in its possession. The defendant afterwards filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the bill of particulars was insufficient. The trial court denied the motion, but ordered the State to provide on-going discovery "appropriately, fully, and honestly at all times up to and including the trial in this case." There is no indication in the record that the State failed in this responsibility.

On appeal, the defendant argues that the indictment was couched in language so broad that any type of contact which could have caused a bruise or burn, or any striking, which occurred during an eight-month period would be in question at trial. She maintains that this prevented her from preparing a defense. Her objections appear to be twofold: (1) the indictment did not provide delineation of what conduct would be the focus at trial, and (2) the indictment did not specify sufficiently when the alleged offense occurred.

Section 111-3(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 requires an indictment to allege an offense by:

"(1) Stating the name of the offense;

(2) Citing the statutory provision alleged to have been violated;

(3) Setting forth the nature and elements of the offense charged;

(4) Stating the date and county of the offense as definitely as can be done; and

(5) Stating the name of the accused * * *." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. ...

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