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People v. Snowden





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County; the Hon. Richard E. Richman, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Arron Snowden, was charged in six different cases, consolidated by this court for review, with offenses stemming from a series of home invasions and sexual assaults, which occurred in Jackson County between July 1980 and April 1983. Following bench trials on January 31 to February 2, 1984, and June 28, 1984, the defendant was found guilty but mentally ill of five counts of home invasion, seven counts of rape, two counts of burglary, five counts of deviate sexual assault, two counts of battery and one count of attempted rape. The defendant has appealed from his convictions in these cases, contending that the trial court erroneously applied the amended statute effective January 1, 1984, in finding him guilty but mentally ill (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1983, ch. 38, par. 6-2) so as to violate the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws (U.S. Const., art. I, sec. 10) and additionally challenging the sufficiency of the evidence of the defendant's sanity at the time of the offenses. We affirm.

The offenses for which the defendant was convicted occurred on six separate occasions, described here in chronological order. In case No. 83-CF-80, the victim was a 27-year-old married woman living with her husband on U.S. Route 51 south of Carbondale. On July 11, 1980, at approximately 2:30 a.m., the victim was home alone, sleeping in her bedroom, when the defendant entered her bedroom, apparently through an unlocked door, and awakened her by putting a sheet over her head. The defendant stated "[Y]ou bitch," and the victim smelled alcohol about the person of the intruder. The victim screamed, and the defendant struck her about the face, bound her hands and feet with cord and raped her. During the rape the victim still had the bedsheet over her head. The defendant then left the premises.

In 83-CF-81 the victim was 20 years of age, unmarried, and resided in a trailer on East Park Street in Carbondale with two female roommates. On May 21, 1982, at approximately 3:30 a.m., she was asleep alone in her bedroom when she was awakened by the defendant, who covered her mouth and threatened to blow her head off if she screamed. The victim felt a gun at the side of her head and heard it being cocked. She was then blindfolded. The defendant removed the victim's clothing and forced her to perform fellatio. The victim's wrists were then tied to the corner of the bed frame. The defendant removed a tampon from the victim's vagina and raped her. The victim remained blindfolded until the defendant placed a blanket over her head instead and untied her. The defendant then left, stating, "I didn't do it to hurt you, I did it because I hate." The defendant later told the police that he had seen the victim enter her trailer earlier in the day and had gone back to the trailer in the early morning hours "with the intent of raping her."

In 83-CF-82 the victim was a 21-year-old single female living in a trailer on East Park Street in Carbondale, next door to the trailer involved in the events of 83-CF-81. On June 10, 1982, 20 days after the incident of 83-CF-81, at approximately 2:15 a.m., the victim was awakened by the defendant jumping on top of her while she lay in bed. He covered her mouth and choked her. When the victim asked what he wanted the defendant stated, "I don't want anything from you white bitch [sic]." He then struck the victim several times and bound her wrists and ankles. The defendant turned the light on and shined it in the victim's face. He ultimately left the trailer without further interaction with the victim. The defendant later told the police that "he went to the trailer with the intent of raping someone and broke in through a window."

In 83-CF-83 the victim was a 31-year-old single woman who lived in a trailer in Draper Rentals on Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale. On September 22, 1982, between approximately 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., she was asleep, alone, in her trailer. She was awakened by noises in her living room, and the defendant then entered her bedroom. The victim began to scream, and he told her to shut up. He fondled the victim at gunpoint before blindfolding her. The defendant ordered the victim to remove her clothing and then forced her to perform fellatio on him. The defendant gagged her mouth and bound her with rope. He then raped her. He also located her purse, discovered her name, and threatened to come after her if she told the police about him.

In 83-CF-84, the victim was 20 years of age, unmarried, and resided in Carbondale. On October 13, 1982, while the victim was walking near the campus clock tower, she noticed that a black man appeared to be following her. She eventually began to run, and, as she did so, the defendant yelled, "Stop or I'll shoot you." She stopped, and he grabbed her and covered her mouth. He dragged her a short distance away behind a tree, and they began to struggle. The victim screamed and was hit on the head with a gun. The struggle continued until the defendant ran away as two persons were seen walking in the area. The defendant later told the police that he had pulled the victim into some bushes with the intent to rape her.

In 83-CF-78 the victims were two single women who lived in an apartment duplex on Giant City Road in Carbondale with a young man. On April 28, 1983, at approximately 11 p.m., one of the young women was asleep on the couch in the living room and the other was asleep in the bedroom, while the young man was at work. The first young woman was awakened by a living-room shade going up, and she noticed a man coming in through the window with a jacket over his head to conceal his identity. She asked who it was, and the defendant said, "Shut up bitch or I will kill you." The defendant then put a towel over her face and went into the bedroom. With the jacket still over his face to conceal his identity, the defendant put a knife to the face of the second young woman and ordered her into the living room onto the floor beside the couch. The defendant then blindfolded the second young woman, gagged her and raped her. The defendant next blindfolded and gagged the first young woman. He performed cunnilingus on her and then raped her. The defendant raped both women again. He then tied the second woman up, forced the first woman to perform fellatio on him and then forced her into the bedroom. He began to rape her again, but he heard a car approach the house and stopped. As the young man who lived there opened the door, the defendant attempted to keep it shut. When the young man succeeded in getting in, the defendant said he was leaving and ran out the door, carrying his clothes with him.

The defendant was questioned on May 6, 1983, about the events of 83-CF-78 and made a statement confessing to the crimes committed. Following his arrest the defendant confessed to the offenses of the other cases. A bench trial was held in 83-CF-78, in which evidence was presented by actual testimony, and, in the other cases, evidence was presented in a later trial by stipulation.

The defendant raised the affirmative defense of insanity, and, prior to trial in 83-CF-78, held January 31, 1984, defense counsel orally moved to have the recently enacted amendment to the insanity statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 6-2(e)) declared unconstitutional. This provision, which became effective January 1, 1984, placed upon the defendant the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Counsel argued that the statute shifting the burden of proof violated constitutional due process and equal protection clauses as well as sections 3-1 and 3-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 3-1, 3-2). Counsel additionally stated:

"[W]e believe the old burden is adequate that the defendant [sic] present some evidence to overcome the defense of insanity. * * * [T]he new burden is that the defense prove insanity by the preponderance of the evidence. We believe that this violates due process of law by placing too much burden on the defendant."

The court denied this oral motion and requested that it be resubmitted in written form. A written motion was filed after trial in 83-CF-78 but prior to trial in the other five cases, which stated in pertinent part:

"3. That effective January 1, 1984, Defendant's [sic] asserting the affirmative defense of insanity must prove the proposition by a preponderance of the ...

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